Danielle Dash’s burning Question for Viola Davis & The poignance of Viola’s Words

Danielle Scott-Haughton aka Danielle Dash is a woman whose moniker describes her persona well. Bold and dashing in her words, in her direction and in her presence. She is the creator, writer, director and producer of the online web series – ‘Dear Jesus’, founder of WONDERLONDON FILMS production company and was a panellist at our ‘Who Am I? An exploration of the Arts Community’ event in October 2016.

This week in the life of Danielle Dash, she attended Viola Davis’ Q&A at The BFI, in light of her role in Fences – for which she was awarded the Golden Globe for ‘Best Supporting Actress’.

Danielle stood to ask Viola a poignant question, “In the debate about the visibility of dark skinned black women, and colourism in Hollywood. You’ve been pointed to as an example of patience and resilience. How did you find the strength to remain graceful, watching your counterparts succeed, knowing you were as good, if not, better but did not have access yet?”

“After The Help, I was DONE with the Aprons”

Viola’s answer “It took time for me to get to that part of feeling that resilience… I always say that you step up when you’re forced to when you have no other choice and after The Help, I was just done with the Aprons. I was done with what I felt was a gag order on my humanity and my sexuality, and my womanhood. I was just done, that’s when my husband and I started the production company. There was something about my husband and I going into these rooms and fighting for these narratives, that forced me to be that Woman. It forced me because I had to find my voice.”

I saw this as a response more personal, but just as significant as the one she gave at the Golden Globes, on how Post-Trump America must continue to progress in ensuring equality for all, especially minorities, as well as “a shot at the American dream.”

“We have fallen short a lot because there is no way that we can have someone in office that is not an extension of our own belief system, so then what does that say about us? And I think that if you answer that question, I think that that says it all, and I know that that’s ambiguous but…”

Here Viola answers in a way that leaves the reader to read in between the lines. To my understanding she alludes to the fact that injustice in America is still very rife, Donald Trump was elected to represent the country, and so his position in power is less about him, and more about those who not only allowed him to, but actually wanted him to occupy that space. That is where the real issue is. That is America today, and that must first be acknowledged, before a conversation about real change can begin.

Congratulations Viola Davis, and thank you for being exemplary.

Words by Charisse Chikwiri.