Viola Davis says Hollywood is a “huge desert” for black women over 50.

While attending the Cannes Film Festival on Friday, Viola Davis expressed her frustration with the roles available to black women in Hollywood.

“When it comes to black women who are over 50, this is the case [the lack of interesting roles] is problematic. Then it’s a huge desert,” said the EGOT winner, who most recently portrayed Michael Jordan’s mother Deloris Johnson on Air People. “Women no longer beg for a seat at the table, they create their own.”

“Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Kerry Washington, Issa Rae … Halle Berry, Keke Palmer, we can always go on — even Marsai Martin, who’s what, 18?” she added. “They empower themselves by understanding that they are the change they want to see.”

Davis certainly helped pave the way for younger generations of black women in Hollywood — and has become the most Oscar-nominated black woman of all time. Yet Davis has seen firsthand the lack of interesting roles for black women over 50.

“I play a lot of mothers,” she told People. “Everyone wants me to play their mother. I have people who hug me in the street and call me mum.”

Davis, the most Oscar-nominated black woman in history, said she disagreed "Hurry" more.
Davis, the most Oscar-nominated black woman in history, said she’s no longer “frantic.”


However, Davis jumped at the chance to play Jordan’s mother and said Ben Affleck – who wrote and starred on “Air” alongside pal Matt Damon – wisely cast the role of Deloris Jordan as the undeniable key to their son’s success .

“I think the lure came from the fact that it wasn’t your normal mothering role,” Davis told People. “He turned the matter on its head so she was the one negotiating it [multi-million dollar Nike] Deal we know today. And that fascinated me. I like surprises.”

Michael Jordan signed a five-year, $2.5 million contract in 1984 became a billionaire in 2014.

Davis added that black women constantly feel like they’re “eagerly seeking” to validate their worth. However, Davis, who won her first Tony Award in 2001, an Emmy in 2015, a Grammy in 2023 and an Oscar in 2017, no longer feels that way.

“I don’t have a rush anymore,” she told People. “And it has nothing to do with my age and how long I’ve been in the business. It’s a realization. It is a self-actualization whose value is non-negotiable. I was born worthy. That’s not on the table. What is on the table?”

“Maybe you have to see it the way I see it.”

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