Viola Davis's Oscar Speech Is One Every Child -- Make That, Human -- Should Hear

Viola Davis at the 2017 Academy Awards
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There were so many memorable moments during the 89th Annual Academy Awards. From Mahershala Ali's becoming the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar to the random tourists popping up, candy falling from the sky, and the biggest flub at the end of the night, people will be talking about this year's Oscars for some time. But there was one moment that really made me stop, take pause, and sob -- and that moment was Viola Davis's mesmerizing Oscar acceptance speech for best supporting actress for her role in Fences, which was a powerful message of hope, love, and persistence every child needs to hear.


As I stood with my mop in hand (late-night cleaning is kinda my thing), perched against the bar stool I moved next to the TV, I couldn't help but smile and celebrate this queen's victory. Davis is one of my favorite actresses (Angela Bassett is another) who not only delivers the goods on camera, but also leaves so many of us inspired when she's simply being Viola.

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Winning the Oscar for best supporting actress -- allowing her to carve out a piece of history as the first black woman to win an Emmy, Oscar, and Tony for acting (Whoopi Goldberg's Tony win was for producing) -- Viola was someone I knew was going to take us to church with her acceptance speech, and boy girl did she.

"People ask me all the time, 'What kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola?'" the actress said during her speech. "And I say, exhume those bodies. Exhume those stories. The stories of the people who dreamed big and never saw those dreams to fruition. People who fell in love and lost."

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Tipping her hat to Denzel Washington, whom she referred to as her "captain," Viola and her words to the people in her life, her loving family, are what filled my eyes with so many tears.

"And to Dan and Mary Alice Davis, who were -- and are -- the center of my universe, the people who taught me good or bad how to fail, how to love, how to hold an award, how to lose: my parents," Viola said. She continued:

I'm so thankful that God chose you to bring me into this world. To my sisters, my sister Delores, who's here who played Jaji and Jaja with me, we were rich white women in the tea party games. Thank you for the imagination.

And to my husband and my daughter -- my heart. You and Genesis, you teach me every day how to live, how to love. I'm so glad you are the foundation of my life.

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Oh, Viola.

And if that didn't make you teary, Viola's words backstage after her historic win are enough to make you cry something ugly.

"I can't believe my life. I grew up in poverty," Davis revealed. "I always wanted to be good at something, so this is sorta like the miracle of God -- of dreaming big -- hoping that it sticks and it lands, and it did. I'm overwhelmed."

One of the (many) things I love about Viola's speech is how selfless and humble it is. She takes a detour from business as usual (there's certainly nothing wrong with thanking your cast and crew -- they deserve it!) and places a spotlight of thanks on the people in her life who are her foundation and allow her to reach for the stars, which is so incredibly beautiful.

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I want to build up a family, a community of people who are vested in one other, like Viola. I want my children to dream big -- no matter their circumstances -- and I am so grateful my parents taught me early on that my present situation is not indicative of my promise or purpose.

I will forever continue to be a cheerleader for my family and celebrate the extraordinary talents of my boys, even if they're masked in what some would consider to be ordinary. 

Thank you, Viola, for moving us once again with your heartwarming words of family, hope, and gratitude.

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