The Oscar winner award in a green Alexander McQueen suit
Under a starry Cannes night, during the renowned film festival Kering honored American Golden Globe and Academy Award winner Viola Davis for their Women In Motion award. It’s Davis’ we-have-to-do-something about inclusion in film that got her noticed. Diversity for people of color is number one for the actress who is a champion for producer, writer, and director opportunities for minorities. Also, in attendance was François-Henri Pinault, the Chairman and CEO of Kering, Pierre Lescure, President of the Festival de Cannes and Thierry Frémaux, Executive Director of the Festival de Cannes, Italian model and former French First Lady Carla Bruni,
With the First Lady actress was her husband Julius Tennon. Wearing a Alexander McQueen high lime and muted highlighter green pants suit, Davis garnered the attention of the audience. And speaking directly with the actress she beamed at the opportunity to talk about JuVee Productions that she started with her husband.
Speaking of the award: “It means an acknowledgement of my legacy, which is what I want to shift the narrative of women of color to. It’s no longer acceptable for us to be defined by men, defined by any other structure other than ourselves, and it became obvious to me as I was progression in my career that I had to be the change that I wanted to see, and that why we started this. I want to see black women for the beautiful complicated beings that they are.”
As Pinault opened the evening, he spoke of the importance of women in film and highlighting their accomplishments. Quoting from writer Toni Morrison, the multinational corporation head of luxury good stated: “I dream a dream that dreams back at me. Viola Davis is the embodiment of this vision.”
Davis has been in the city for a week now speaking about her journey in acting but also about the production company that she and her husband stared. As the room was lit with candles Davis shared, “as a little chocolate girl that grew up in Central Falls, Rhode Island in abject poverty, with a certain level of poverty, I always wanted my life to matter. I wanted to leave this earth with a big fat hole in it and I felt the way to do that was to become an actress, but now that I’ve progressed in my career, what I’ve realized is that I want to elevate storytelling for people of color.”
Getting a round of applause Davis recalled how Cicely Tyson inspired her. “It’s just as impactful when I don’t see us, but I see us when when we are bus drivers- or women who live in challenging communities and have only one or two scenes in a movie, or women who become yet another best friend to our white women counterparts. I know that I know that I know we are human beings and that we are very complicated, and the power of art is that it knows no color. Because human beings, when they sit and watch art they want to feel less alone. And I want to play a part in making them feel that way.”
For anyone that knows Davis red carpet fashions, you know she often spotted in Alexander McQueen. Last year for the Oscars she wore a white gown from the house, and for the Top Gun: Maverick premier during the Cannes Film Festival, Davis wore a yellow Alexander McQueen number. “So as much as I love my Alexander McQueen, and I love Alexander McQueen, and the fabulous make up, I’m always so moved when people tell me that my work or my life meant something to them.”
In her recently autobiography, Finding Me, Davis talks about the not so fun parts of her childhood. Written during lockdown, it’s quickly became a New York Times #1 bestseller. And she’s now staring in Showtimes, The First Lady series, playing Michelle Obama.