Viola Davis' powerful speech on racial wage gap resurfaces, fans say 'pay Black Meryl Streep what she's worth'
In the viral clip, Davis tells Tina Brown: 'I have a career that's probably comparable to Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, Sigourney Weaver. Yet I am nowhere near them'
Viola Davis is trending on Twitter after a video of the actress discussing ethnicity wage gap went viral online. The clip is reportedly an excerpt from Davis' interview with Tina Brown at a Women of the World event in 2018, where she spoke on the gender pay gap, as well as the pay gap between black women and white women. "I got the Oscar, I got the Emmy, I got the two Tonys, I've done Broadway, I've done off-Broadway, I've done TV, I've done film, I've done all of it," Davis says in the viral clip. "I have a career that's probably comparable to Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, Sigourney Weaver. They all came out of Yale, they came out of Julliard, they came out of NYU. They had the same path as me, and yet I am nowhere near them, not as far as money, not as far as job opportunities, nowhere close to it."
"But I have to get on that phone and people say: 'You're a Black Meryl Streep...There is no one like you.' Okay, then if there's no one like me, you think I'm that, then you pay me what I'm worth. You give me what I'm worth," she added.
According to a report by the National Women's Law Center, black women would have to work one calendar year and up to August 22 of the next year to make as much as their white male counterparts did in one calendar year. Considering, black women earn $946,120 less than white men over a 40-year career. That said, the apparent wage gap between genders remains a debatable subject due to a number of factors e.g. average career choices.
Davis is known for her roles in movies including 'Fences', 'The Help', 'Widows' and 'Doubt', TV shows like 'Law and Order: Special Victims Unit' and 'How To Get Away With Murder'. The actress drew praise from prominent figures for her speech on pay gap issues as part of her interview with Brown after the clip resurfaced on Tuesday. Comments asking the industry to pay 'Black Meryl Streep' what she's worth led to the resurfaced video trending once again.
"This!!!!!! All-day THIS!!!!" Gabrielle Union wrote as she tweeted the video. "So powerful," Bakari Sellers added. "THIS is just a hint of why I'm so proud and pleased to be working with Viola Davis on Wild Seed and in general. She moves with CLARITY," tweeted writer Nnedi Okorafor.
"I would love to just sit in the midst of Viola Davis for a day! I'll never forget meeting her at Disneyland and it just being nothing but pure light!" YouTuber Kalen Allen wrote as she shared the video.
The ‘City of Angeles’ star also drew praise after her appearance during the BET Awards 2020 that took place on Sunday, June 28, when she reminded viewers that they’re worth it. The award show telecast one of her commercials for L'Oreal, where Davis says, “You’re worth it. Three words we have all heard at least a thousand times. You’re worth it. It is a beautiful reminder to us all that we have worth. You have reason and rarity. There is value in each and every one of us, including you, that is precious even on the days when you might not feel it. You never depreciate in value. Those words are there to remind you.”
Talking about standing defiant against critics and encouraging the audience to work towards building confidence, she further stated, “Forget the naysayers and silence critics, even if the harshest words are the ones that you say to yourself. Do not doubt yourself and this time, speak it louder. Really loud. I am worth it. And the next time you hesitate to go after something you want, the next time you blush and brush off a compliment, the next time you doubt your place in the world, in the workplace, in your home or your own skin, say these words to yourself.”