Actress Viola Davis claimed “The Help” was created in the “filter and the cesspool of systemic racism.”
Davis claimed she “betrayed [herself], and [her] people” by taking the role of Abileen Clark in the hit movie, according to an interview published Tuesday by Vanity Fair. Davis was nominated for Best Actress for the role in 2011.
“Not a lot of narratives are also invested in our humanity,” Davis told the outlet. “They’re invested in the idea of what it means to be Black, but…it’s catering to the white audience. The white audience at the most can sit and get an academic lesson into how we are. Then they leave the movie theater and they talk about what it meant. They’re not moved by who we were.”
“There’s no one who’s not entertained by ‘The Help,'” she added. “But there’s a part of me that feels like I betrayed myself, and my people, because I was in a movie that wasn’t ready to [tell the whole truth].
“The Help” was “created in the filter and the cesspool of systemic racism,” Davis claimed. (RELATED: Viola Davis Set To Play Michelle Obama In New Showtime Series ‘First Ladies’)
Davis has previously said she regretted taking the role.
“Almost a better question is, have I ever done roles that I’ve regretted? I have, and ‘The Help’ is on that list,” she told The New York Times in 2018. “But not in terms of the experience and the people involved because they were all great. The friendships that I formed are ones that I’m going to have for the rest of my life. I had a great experience with these other actresses, who are extraordinary human beings. And I could not ask for a better collaborator than Tate Taylor.”
“I just felt that at the end of the day that it wasn’t the voices of the maids that were heard,” she added. “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.”