“I wrote this book to honor the six-year-old Viola, to honor her, to honor her life, her joy, her trauma, her everything.”
Actor, novelist, and philanthropist Viola Davis was officially inducted into the EGOT Club on Sunday when she won her first Grammy for the audiobook for her memoir, Finding Me. EGOT club is an exclusive club comprising celebrities who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony throughout their careers. Only three Black women in history have received the prestigious award. Other members of the prestigious EGOT are Whoopi Goldberg, Jennifer Hudson, Audrey Hepburn, Rita Moreno, Mel Brooks, and Mike Nichols, per Vogue.
In her victory speech at the Grammys, Davis said, “It has just been such a journey.” She then exclaimed with joy, “I just EGOT!” For Davis, the Grammy means much more than the EGOT. The memoir, published in April 2022, means a lot to the actress. As a woman with a tumultuous childhood, the actress used the book to mourn her childhood trauma and celebrate the joys of her childhood. She shared, “I wrote this book to honor the six-year-old Viola, to honor her, to honor her life, her joy, her trauma, her everything.”
The book has been praised a lot, with writer Jazmine Hughes, writing in a profile of the actress for the New York Times, “Reading her memoir...you understand where her ability comes from: Only someone who has already been dragged into the depths of emotion readily knows how to get back there.”
In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Davis shared the significance of her book. “I don’t want to be a secret to Genesis,” she says about her daughter. She further added, “The people who are on the weakest foundation are those who spend a huge amount of time covering up their stories. Then anyone can come over and topple you over by revealing them.” In writing the book, she took ownership of her own story.
Colorism plays a significant role in her story, as Davis writes, “When you are a dark-skinned girl, no one simply adores you.” She had to struggle with feeling unattractive and invisible but she later realized "the role it played in my pain." She declares at the end that "beauty is not a value," adding, “I have not read on anyone’s tombstone, ‘50 million found me to be very beautiful.’”
Davis also shared that a certain “warrior fuel” kept her going. Davis tells Oprah that “there’s something about being an older parent” that focuses you on legacy, on “what you are leaving behind.” She shared, “It’s like running a relay race. Your job is to run a leg of the race and pass the baton to the next great runner with as much strength and force as possible.”
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Kevork Djansezian