Viola Davis deserves awards based on her performance

When Viola Davis won the Screen Actors Guild award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, the entire auditorium gave her a standing ovation. 

Some believe that stars the likes of Angelina Jolie, Meryl Streep and Michelle Williams rose from their chairs because of Davis’ groundbreaking role and win. After all, it’s not every day a black actress beats out the powerful Meryl Streep for an award voted on by other actors. 

And although it’s nice to see people responding to the slowly dissipating racial barriers permeating Hollywood’s rather rigged awards structure, some commentators have claimed that as long as you make a movie about any minority – Jews, African Americans, Italians – the awards are bound to be bountiful.

Since The Help was about a bunch of maids servicing white people in Jackson, Mississippi (circa 1962), Davis apparently falls into this category.

What people don’t understand is that the accolades being thrown Davis’ way is not due to the fact that she’s black and played a maid and made everyone cry. Her performance was incredible. Period.

She should not be punished because people believe that her role was “too black” or too hackneyed. Playing a maid in 2012 does not set the African American race back. Playing a maid so convincingly and providing a performance that other actors could only envy actually springs our race forward.

Hopefully, movies like Tyler Perry Presents Madea’s Family Reunion will cease to exist as those roles are more of a stereotype than any other I could think of.

Davis sets a great example for black women hoping to emulate her sort of success. I only wish I had someone like her while I was growing up. She shows us that you’re not playing into “White Hollywood” if you accept a role in a big budget film.

If you’re given the chance, take it. Not only that, knock it out of the ballpark like she did.

Come Oscar Sunday, I can only hope that Davis is the one to walk up to that podium. Not because she’s black, but simply because she was the best.