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Viola Davis proudly 'owns' her story

Award-winning actress Viola Davis tells the Barnard class of 2019 that even if their experiences were traumatic, 'Own it!" .

Posted: Aug 13, 2020 9:31 AM
Updated: Aug 13, 2020 9:31 AM

Viola Davis gave us all a gift in honor of her 55th birthday.

The celebrated Black actress posted on social media Tuesday about the place where she was born.

Davis put up a photo of the now-dilapidated home in St. Matthews, South Carolina, on her verified Instagram account.

"The above is the house where I was born August 11, 1965. It is the birthplace of my story," the caption read. "Today on my 55th year of life....I own it....all of it."

CNN interpreted the post to mean she purchased the property, but Davis clarified in a subsequent comment on Instagram that she owned her "story."

"Uhh....contrary to websites....I do not 'own' above house," Davis wrote in reference to the photo. "I 'own' my STORY!! Too abstract I guess."

Davis's caption also included a "Cherokee Birth Blessing," which read "May you live long enough to know why you were born."

The "How To Get Away With Murder" star has been outspoken about both representation in Hollywood and the need for Black creatives to own their own stories.

In 2016 she talked to then editorial director of People and Entertainment Weekly magazines, Jess Cagle, about her short time on her grandmother's farm, which was a part of the Singleton Plantation in St. Matthews.

Davis said she "wasn't on it long, because I was the fifth child, and so we moved soon after I was born."

"I mean, I went back to visit briefly but still not aware of the history," she said. "I think I read one slave narrative of someone who was on that plantation which was horrific. 160 acres of land, and my grandfather was a sharecropper."

The star said that most of her uncles and cousins were also farmers because that was the only employment available to them.

The bare bones house with no running water or indoor bathroom was special to Davis, she said, as she recounted how much love it contained.

"My grandmother's house was a one room shack," Davis said. "I have a picture of it on my phone because I think it's a beautiful picture."

Last year she served as commencement speaker at Barnard College in New York and told the graduating class that even if their experiences were traumatic, they should "Own it."

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