Viola Davis posted pics of her and ‘The Help’ co-star Octavia Spencer protesting in the wake of George Floyd’s death as views and criticism rises for their 2011 film about black maids serving white families.
Viola Davis, 54, took to social media to share some pics of her experience protesting with Octavia Spencer, 48, Yvette Nicole Brown, 48, and more at a protest to stop racial injustice in the wake of George Floyd‘s tragic death. The actress included a lengthy caption with her photos that described the passion she feels for standing up for black Americans as her and Octavia’s 2011 film The Help, in which they play black women serving white families, surges in views and gains criticism.
“My rage and pain, like many Black Americans is rooted in the depth of my soul,” Viola wrote in the caption for the pics, which shows her and the rest of the ladies holding up signs with powerful messages like, “LISTEN, LEARN, LOVE” and “KNOW JUSTICE, KNOW PEACE BLM.” “Too many years of being asked to numb it, has caused it to implode. But standing with these beautiful souls in protest and the reception of love and being seen was like a vaccine.”
“We will no longer be silent when we are being erased,” the caption continued. “We will no longer work overtime to make you comfortable in the midst of microagressions and hate. We will no longer justify or excuse you for murdering us, suppressing us.”
Viola went on to talk about how she and other black Americans will give and receive love when they “are shown it” and will “sit at the table beside you” but will no longer “beg for a seat” in her caption.
Viola’s powerful message comes at the same time the exposure of George Floyd’s death and the many protests that have been taking to the streets caused her and Octavia’s film The Help to reach the number one streaming spot on Netflix. Despite the popularity of the film, which is based on Kathryn Stockett’s 2009 novel of the same name, there’s been much controversy surrounding its premise, and Viola, herself, who played a maid along with Octavia, even admitted to regretting playing the role even though it helped her snag an Oscar nomination.
“I just felt that at the end of the day that it wasn’t the voices of the maids that were heard,” she told The New York Times in 2018. “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.”
Twitter users took to the social media site to tweet about how people should stop streaming The Help and some even tweeted Netflix directly after they shared a message in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. “Be a soldier and delete The Help from Netflix,” podcast host Ira Madison III wrote while writer Ashly Perez tweeted, “DO NOT WATCH THE F*CKIN HELP RIGHT NOW. WATCH 13TH, SELMA, WHEN THEY SEE US. LITERALLY ANYTHING BUT THE HELP.”
“So The Help is now Netflix most watched movie. One question: WHO is out here watching ‘The Help’ to understand racism and discrimination? That movie isn’t going to teach you anything about the injustice faced by black people. Go watch 13th or When they see us,” another user tweeted.