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Here's why Viola Davis' assessment of her scene with Liam Neeson is making headlines

‘I’d never seen it before.’

THE NEED FOR diversity and inclusion in Hollywood has become one of the more discussed topics within the entertainment industry in recent years.

CA: 2018 British Academy Britannia Awards Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

And yet it seems that much of it may be little more than lip service if you are to consider Viola Davis’ recent assessment of her scene with Liam Neeson in Widows.

The actress, who is the only black woman to have achieved what is known as The Triple Crown in Acting by receiving an Oscar, an Emmy and a Tony, highlighted the significance of the scene she shared with the Irish actor in Steve McQueen’s remake of an 1980s ITV series.

“The film begins with me in bed with Liam Neeson, and we’re kissing, and it’s a sexualised kiss,” she explained in a clip which was initially published by the BBC.

Here I am. I’m dark, I’m 53, I’m in my natural hair… and I’m with Liam Neeson. I’m with what America would consider to be a ‘hunk’.

She continues:

He’s not my slave owner. I’m not a prostitute. It’s not trying to make any social or political statements. We’re simply a couple in love.


And it’s this dynamic which genuinely surprised the veteran actress.

What struck me in the narrative is that I’d never seen it before. And you’re not going to see it this year, you’re not going to see it next year, you’re not going to see it the year after that.

Viola points out that if the scene isn’t seeking to make a political statement, then why is it not more commonplace in cinema?

“If it’s not making anything, then why isn’t it done?” she asked.

If we are indeed committed to inclusion and diversity, and we actually do see people of colour as the same as us, as our counterparts, then why can’t you consider a character that maybe is not ethnically specific, why can’t you consider someone like me for it?

Reinforcing the significance of the scene, she asks again: “If it’s not a big deal? Why hasn’t it been done?”

“Sometimes I feel like the biggest political statements are the simplest,” she reasoned.

In one short assessment of one particular scene, Viola highlight the strides which have yet to be made in an industry which claims to be intent on making those strides.

The clip has been liked more than 100,000 times since its upload.

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About the author:

Niamh McClelland

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