Viola Davis is about to have one of the biggest seasons of her career. The two-time Oscar nominee and two-time Tony winner is starring in ABC's How to Get Away with Murder, joining a powerful block of programming that includes the only other series on TV featuring a black female lead – Kerry Washington in Scandal.
That fact is unfortunately still worth noting in 2014, but Davis is well-aware of its importance. Though the constant string of bit parts for black women is well-worn ground among online debaters, for Davis to make such frank remarks about it in today's just-released New York Times Magazine profile is unusual – and impressive.
"I have been given a lot of roles that are downtrodden, mammy-ish," the actress best known for her role in The Help says in the new piece, notably forgoing much chat about being a woman of a certain age, instead focusing on being a black actress of any age. "You’re going to get your three or four scenes, you’re not going to be able to show what you can do. You’re going to get your little bitty paycheck, and then you’re going to be hungry for your next role, which is going to be absolutely the same. That’s the truth."