Viola Davis Viola Davis
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Viola Davis Shares History With Sexual Assault At Rape Foundation Fundraiser

The actress explained her own experiences with sexual assault made her want to step up for other victims, including her sister. 

Viola Davis is taking a stand against sexual assault. Over the weekend, the Emmy award-winning actress explained the importance of helping sexual assault victims at The Rape Foundation's annual fundraiser in Beverly Hills, Calif., AP reports.

A victim of sexual assault herself, the How To Get Away With Murder star urged attendees to support the foundation's mission to help improve and heal the lives of sexual violence and abuse victims. "You must,” Davis said. “And then let your heart do the rest. Myself, my mother, my sisters, my friend Rebecca, my friend from childhood, we all have one thing in common: We are all survivors of sexual assault in some way, shape or form." Proceeds from the benefit help fund the foundation's Rape Treatment Center and Stuart House for up to a year.

One of Davis' sisters has been her motivation for rape advocacy. Since being raped at the age of 8, Davis said her sister turned to substance abuse and prostitution as an adult. The actress opened up about the incident during the foundation's benefit last year. "I have a sister, who, when she was eight years old, put on some roller skates with her friend, went down to the corner store at 1 o'clock in the afternoon, went into the store, and was sexually assaulted in the store," Davis said, reports The Daily Mail. "She came home, and she told my mom. My mom ran down to the store, started screaming at the store owners, and they said, ''Leave that man alone. He does that to all the little girls.'' And then my mom proceeded to flag down a police officer. They found the man. They put him in the car. I saw my little sister crying. My mom was crying, too. And that was it."

"From there, a precocious, very intelligent, very creative child grew up to be frail, angry, a drug addict by the time she was 20. Six children, all of which have been taken by social services. A prostitute. An IV drug user. You know, memories demand attention, because memories have teeth. And in my vision, and in my dreams, when I pray for my sister... you pray in general terms."

Since starring in the 2010 film Trust about the foundation, Davis has spoken about the program's educational classes for first responders, forensic services and counseling for sexual assault victims and sexually abused children.

Other attendees of the benefit included Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman and The People Vs. OJ Simpson's  David Schwimmer. Like Davis, the actor is a longtime member of the foundation dating back over a decade.

Learn more about The Rape Foundation here.

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Rey Ma Facing Additional Charges In Alleged Assault Against Brittney Taylor

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A trial date has been set of July 12.

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34 black female cadets from West Point's Class of 2019 pose at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York.
Cadet Hallie H. Pound/U.S. Army via AP

Black Women Cadets Make History At West Point Graduation

A record number of black female cadets are set to graduate from West Point (The United States Military Academy). After completing four years of education and "testing their limits," 34 black women will be walking across the stage at the 2019 commencement ceremony for the first time in the school's 217-year history.

Earlier this month, the black female cadets came together for a pre-graduation group photo. Little did they know, the photos of them in traditional Old Corps uniforms with ceremonial sabers would make their rounds on social media.

“My hope when young Black girls see these photos is that they understand that regardless of what life presents you, you have the ability an fortitude to be a force to be reckoned with,” shared one of the cadets, Tiffany Welch-Baker, in an interview with Because Of Them We Can.

Although West Point admitted its first black cadet until 1870, the academy didn’t graduate its first black cadet until the Reconstruction in 1877. In 1979, Vincent K. Brooks was made the first black captain of the Corps of Cadets. In 2017, Simone Askew became the first Black woman to lead the Corps of Cadets.

Senior cadet Stephanie Riley told The Associated Press in another interview: “I just showed myself and those who thought I couldn’t do it initially that yes, I can. And not just, ‘Yes, I can.’ I can show other little girls that yes, you can come to West Point. Yes, you can do something that maybe the rest of your peers aren’t actually doing. And yes, you can be different from the rest of the group.”

The class of 2019 includes a total of 223 women, another milestone since the first female cadets' graduation in 1980. The total number of graduation African-Americans doubled to 110, while the number of graduating Latinos became the largest, 88, in the academy's history. West Point also appointed Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams as its first black superintendent in July 2018.

Not only will West Point be graduating its 5,000th female cadet, but it will also have its highest number of female Hispanic graduates, 19. The commencement ceremony is set for Saturday, May 25, with Vice President Mike Pence delivering the commencement speech.

Congratulations to the black ladies of West Point's graduating Class of 2019!

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Art At Work: Kadir Nelson And Hennessy Unveil Marshall "Major" Taylor Sculpture at NYC's WTC3

Last spring, VIBE was invited to the screening of a Hennessy sponsored screening of a mini-commercial documentary on one of the most unsung athletic hero's of African-American history in Marshall "Major" Taylor. The seven-minute doc, explained the life and legacy of the first international African-American superstar. In the late 1800's Taylor dominated the cycling scene with power and endurance. With the viewing happening at the New York Times building, a special treat was waiting to be shown to the excited crowd. World renowned visual artist, Kadir Nelson made a monument for Taylor, the man that broke barriers with his pedals and passion.

Fast forward to May 15, 2018, Nelson was celebrated for that same Hennessy commissioned statue (which went along with Hennessy's Wild Rabbit campaign, narrated by Nas) of Taylor and it being permanently placed in New York's World Trade Center 3 (WTC3). Known as one of the world's busiest travel areas, the World Trade Center is a landmark destination for millions of visitors who will now see the immortalized cyclist's frame, sculpted  by Nelson. “The Major” will be displayed starting later this year near the north entrance of 3 World Trade Center, with the Oculus and National 9/11 Museum in the background. The sculpture will live in WTC as part of the Silverstein family’s World Trade arts initiative, entitled The Silver Project. The piece is the towers first installment of art and will shine as a beacon for all creatives and those seeking inspiration in all walks of life. Nelson will also have his first studio space in the same building.

 

To witness the amazing life of Marshall "Major" Taylor, watch the doc above.

 

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