Viola Davis

Several years ago when I was still boiling an egg and making it last a week, I was apartment-mates with THE Viola Davis.¬† It wasn't a romantic relation, so no need to call the Tabloids, but if you do, just get the name right.¬† There were actually four of us in the apartment in Harlem and Viola was already a rising star.¬† She had just won a Tony for her performance in August Wilson's Seven Guitars and the industry was quickly falling to her knees.¬† Viola is one of those rare actresses:¬† she actually has unwavering integrity.¬† From Solaris to Far From Heaven to The Fantasia Barrino Story to Doubt, Viola always brings pure honesty and commitment to her characters.¬† She brings art‚ÄĒshe doesn't judge them, or mock them, she sincerely embodies them with every emotion and experience within her amazing natural and Julliard-trained gift.¬† If you're one of the few who didn't support her by seeing Doubt in the theaters, well, it's not too late.¬† Doubt is still playing at a theater near you [and I don't mean in your cousin's basement on bootleg either].¬† In Doubt, her Golden Globe-nominated role, Viola plays the mother of a Catholic school boy who may or may not be sexually involved with a white priest [Phillip Seymour Hoffman].¬† She has one ten-minute scene with Meryl Streep that transcends anything you've witnessed in film, in my somewhat biased opinion.¬† Viola deserves that Golden Globe and I'm hoping she gets it.¬† Here's to Viola Davis and to many more layered and spellbinding performances.¬† She elevates the often-marginalized black artist experience into complete human terrority.

Keith Josef Adkins is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and social commentator.