Viola Davis Slays Her 2018 Women’s March Speech: ‘Nothing and No One Can Be Great Without a Cost’
Viola Davis speaks onstage at 2018 Women’s March Los
Angeles at Pershing Square on Jan. 20, 2018, in Los Angeles.
(Amanda Edwards/Getty Images for The Women’s March Los Angeles)
She came. She roared. She conquered.
Actor Viola Davis, who has been thrilling audiences with her
passionate, deeply felt words since at least 2017 (or that year
she made us all cry at the Oscars) gave no less at the Women’s
March 2018 in Los Angeles this Saturday.
Decked out in a leather jacket, big, beautiful hair, and the
fierceness of a life lived (and don’t @ me for talking
about how she looked—at 52, she looks too damn good!) Davis
gave thousands of pink pussy hat wearers something to talk—and
Davis opened by saying, “In the words of my fellow American
Malcolm X, I’m gonna make it plain.”
Ok Viola. We are listening. Because opening with Malcolm means
it’s about to go down.
She followed up by calling the United States the greatest
nation on earth, but reminding us. “In 1877, America put laws
in place called the Jim Crow laws,” and those laws “restricted
the rights of quadroons, octoroons, blacks, Hispanics, Malays
… they restricted medical, relationships, education, in all,
“they restricted life.”
Davis also quoted Martin Luther King who and then she got
animated, telling the crowd that the price of freedom is
certainly not free.
“We only move forward when it doesn’t cost us anything,” she
said. “But I’m here today saying that no one and nothing can be
great unless it costs you something.”
She noted that women of color, if they are raped or sexually
assaulted before the age of 18 are 66 percent more likely to be
raped or sexually assaulted again. “Seventy percent of girls
who are sexually trafficked are girls of color,” said Davis.
“They are coming out of the foster care system, they are coming
out of poverty. It is a billion dollar business,” she
She, like Oprah, called the name of activist and organizer
Fannie Lou Hamer, of Recy Taylor, who was gang raped by six
white men, of Rosa Parks, of activist Tarana Burke – saying
their work, their sacrifice cost them something.
“Nothing and no one can be great without a cost,” she said.
Davis closed by getting personal and saying that her testimony
was that of one of those young girls of color who grew up in
poverty and who was sexually violated.
“I am always introduced as an award-winning actor. But my
testimony is one of poverty. My testimony is one of being
sexually assaulted and very much seeing a childhood that was
robbed from me. And I know that every single day, when I
think of that, I know that the trauma of those events are
still with me today. And that’s what drives me to the voting
booth. That’s what allows me to listen to the women who are
still in silence. That’s what allows me to even be a citizen
on this planet.
And then, hammering the point home, she again said ain’t nobody
free til we all free.
“As we live on earth, we’ve got to bring everyone with us,”
Brava Ms. Davis. Brava.