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Viola Davis came full circle in celebration of her 55th birthday on Tuesday (Aug. 11). The How to Get Away with Murder star purchased her childhood home and the surrounding land, she excitedly announced on social media.
“The above is the house where I was born on August 11, 1965. It the birthplace of my story. Today on my 55th year of life..I own it…all of it,” Davis revealed.
The above is the house where I was born August 11, 1965. It is the birthplace of my story. Today on my 55th year of life....I own it....all of it.
"May you live long enough to know why you were born.” -Cherokee Birth Blessing- pic.twitter.com/CatJK405BL
— Viola Davis (@violadavis) August 11, 2020
The dilapidated home, located in South Carolina, was built on a former slave planation which later became her grandmother’s farm. Although Davis was born in the home, her family moved to +Rhode Island when she was two months old.
The youngest of six children, Davis has never been shy to speak about growing up in poverty and going hungry most nights. As a child, Davis came up with different ways to get food, which included joining summer programs for free lunch, and rummaging through trash cans. “I was always so hungry and ashamed,” she told Glamour magazine in 2018. “I couldn’t tap into my potential. I couldn’t get at the business of being me.”
The Oscar-winning actress found her footing in the theater and earned a scholarship to Rhode Island College, before attending the Juilliard School in New York City. She made her silver screen debut in the 1996 film, The Substance of Fire. Davis earned a Tony Award in 2001 for her performance in Broadway's King Hedley II, and booked small roles in films like Out of Sight, Ocean's Eleven, and Traffic. Davis landed her first Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for her riveting performance in 2008's Doubt.
Former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger has appealed her murder conviction this week in an effort to receive a shorter sentence, the Star-Telegram reported on Friday (Aug. 7). Guyger is currently serving a 10-year-sentence for fatally shooting Botham Jean inside his apartment in 2018.
Attorneys for Guyger claim that there was insufficient evidence to warrant a conviction. The legal documents reportedly want the murder conviction tossed, or changed to criminally negligent homicide.
“I feel like she received a slap on the wrist for taking my brother’s life,” Botham Jean’s sister Allis Findley. “This tells me that she feels like she didn’t do anything wrong. She did not step on my brother’s toe. She took his life.”
Guyger was found guilty on Oct. 1. She maintains that she entered Jean’s apartment believing that it was her own. Guyger testified that she shot Jean believing that he was an intruder.
“She should have received life, so she should take her 10 years in prison and shut up,” added Findley. “If the court was to do this it would prove that, yes, there is systematic racism and white privilege does prevail over Black life. I’m hoping this appeal gets thrown out and her conviction holds. I’m hoping they overturn the 10 years and give her life instead.”
Oprah Winfrey and the team at O, The Oprah Magazine, erected 26 billboards demanding the arrest of the cops who killed Breonna Taylor. The billboards went up all around Louisville, Kentucky, on Thursday (Aug. 6).
“Demand that the police involved in killing Breonna Taylor be arrested an charged,” the billboards reads. The billboard encourages people to visit UntilFreedom.com (the organization co-founded by Tamika D. Mallory, Mysonne Linen, Angela Pintom and Linda Sarsoir) and includes a quote from Oprah, “If you turn a blind eye to racism, you become an accomplice to it.”
26 billboards - for every year of life of #BreonnaTaylor erected in Louisville, KY.
Kentucky will not forget her name. We will get justice for Breonna. pic.twitter.com/rOM2bhVdAy
— untilfreedom (@untilfreedom) August 6, 2020
A drawing of Taylor also covers the Sept. 2020 edition of O Magazine, marking the first time that Winfrey wasn’t the publication’s covergirl. Winfrey decided to use the magazine’s 20th anniversary cover to amplify Taylor’s story.
On March 13, Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, was shot to death by former and current Louisville police officers Jonathon Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove. None of them have been charged in her murder.
“She was just like me. She was just like you,” Winfrey wrote on Instagram. “And like everyone who dies unexpectedly, she had plans. Plans for a future filled with responsibility and work and friends and laughter. I think about Breonna Taylor often.
“The September issue honors her life and the life of every other Black woman whose life has been taken too soon.”
See the cover below.
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Breonna Taylor. She was just like me. She was just like you. And like everyone who dies unexpectedly, she had plans. Plans for a future filled with responsibility and work and friends and laughter. I think about Breonna Taylor often. Imagine if three unidentified men burst into your home while you were sleeping. And your partner fired a gun to protect you. And then mayhem. What I know for sure: We can’t be silent. We have to use whatever megaphone we have to cry for justice. And that is why Breonna Taylor is on the cover of @oprahmagazine. The September issue honors her life and the life of every other Black woman whose life has been taken too soon. Head to OprahMag.com for more—and thank you to @alexis_art, a 24-year-old digital artist, who captured the essence of Breonna. The issue will be available wherever you buy or download magazines on 8/11.