Should Viola Davis Regret 'The Help' Role?
As a Black woman in tune with Pop Culture and most importantly Black Twitter, I hear and see the frustration of Black people have of seeing our playing stereotypical roles and often type-casted: we don't want any more slave movies!
From slave movies to films depicting Black people to roles of servants, we've seen the often one-sided narrative that has left us conflicted (we're happy to see our faces on the screen, but at what cost).
In a new Q&A with the New York Times, award-winning actress Viola Davis revealed she has regrets about taking on the role as Aibileen Clark in the 2011 film The Help. “Have I ever done roles that I’ve regretted? I have, and The Help is on that list,” she said.
The Help, based on Kathryn Stockett’s 2009 novel of the same name, starred Davis and Emma Stone and chronicles the stories of black maids (Davis and Octavia Spencer) working in the South during segregation.
Although the film shot Davis into mainstream stardom and earned her an Oscar (and Spencer an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress), Davis feels the film didn’t do justice to the voices of black women at the center of the story.
“I just felt that at the end of the day that it wasn’t the voices of the maids that were heard,” she said. “I know Aibileen. I know Minny. They’re my grandma. They’re my mom. And I know that if you do a movie where the whole premise is, I want to know what it feels like to work for white people and to bring up children in 1963, I want to hear how you really feel about it. I never heard that in the course of the movie.”
Despite her issues with the role, Davis doesn’t regret the relationships she forged with the other cast members and director Tate Taylor. “The friendships that I formed are ones that I’m going to have for the rest of my life,” she said. “I had a great experience with these other actresses, who are extraordinary human beings.”
Should Davis regret her role?