Actress Viola Davis has taken to Twitter to respond to the seemingly ignorant and discourteous New York Times article, reviewing ABC’s new drama, How To Get Away With Murder. In the article, writer Alessandra Stanley managed to not only slam the show’s creator, Shonda Rhimes, but also compared Davis to lighter-skinned actresses, like Halle Berry and Kerry Washington.
“The actress doesn’t look at all like the typical star of a network drama,” the article read. “Ignoring the narrow beauty standards some African-American women are held to, Rhimes chose a performer who is older, darker-skinned and less classically beautiful than [Kerry Washington], or for that matter Halle Berry, who played an astronaut on the summer mini-series Extant.”
“You may shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes, you may kill me with your hatefulness,” Davis tweeted, quoting Maya Angelou’s Still I Rise. “But still, like air, I’ll rise!!!”
In the article, Stanley also wrote that “When Shonda Rhimes writes her autobiography, it should be called How to Get Away With Being an Angry Black Woman.” Rhimes responded via Twitter, writing:
“Final thing: (then I am gonna do some yoga): how come I am not “an angry black woman” the many times Meredith (or Addison!) rants?
“Wait. I’m” angry” AND a ROMANCE WRITER?!! I’m going to need to put down the internet and go dance this one out. Because ish is getting real.”
Davis, who has always spoken out about working in Hollywood as a Black actress, explained on Oprah’s Next Chapter in 2013 that “not only in the sheer number of roles that are offered and that are out there, but in the quality of roles …When you only have two or three categories for black actresses, therein lies [the problem] because you want to work. So, it’s a natural instinct if you throw a piece of cheese in a room full or rats that they’re going to claw at each other. It’s natural.”