Viola Davis just keeps on winning.
In 2001, the South Carolina native won Tony awards for her work in two plays, “Fences” and “King Hedley.” She made history in 2015 when she became the first black woman to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her portrayal of defense attorney Annalise Keating on “How to Get Away with Murder.”
Davis made history again during Sunday’s Academy Awards when she won Best Supporting Actress for the film adaptation of “Fences,” making her the first black woman to snag a Tony, an Oscar and an Emmy for acting. (Whoopi Goldberg has all three awards, but her Tony is for producing, not acting.)
During her gripping acceptance speech, Davis highlighted the power of bringing stories to life, exclaiming,“I became an artist—and thank God I did—because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life.”
Backstage, Davis told reporters that her win underscored the beauty and legacy of being a black woman. “I love that I can go back and look at stories of women that have gone before me…seemingly should have not survived and they did,” she said. “I love my skin. I love my voice. I love my history. Sometimes I don’t love being the spokesperson all the time. So be it. That’s the way that go, right? But at 51, I’m sort of loving me!”
In addition to acting, Davis and her husband Julius Tennon created their “artist driven” production company JuVee Productions, to bring diverse stories to more audiences. “We started JuVee because we wanted to see narratives that reflected our multi-ethnic and multifaceted culture,” she said.