“I cannot lead with lying about what the road is out there,” says Viola Davis

Sherry Lansing presented Academy Award-winner Davis with the award that carries her name, which recognizes female pioneers and leaders in her industry. While introducing her, Lansing said of Davis, “I can’t think of anyone more deserving of an award that bears my name.”

Viola Davis
Viola Davis at The Hollywood Reporter’s Power 100 Women In Entertainment at Milk Studios Photo by Jesse Grant

Davis accepted the honor, remarking on how inspiring the morning had been. She went on to say: “You do not have to know what’s in the hearts of people to be a leader. But, by God, you have to know what’s in the heart of a leader. And what’s in my heart is that I cannot lead with bullshit. I cannot lead with lying about what the road is out there. When I started my production company with my husband, we started it because I got tired of always celebrating movies that didn’t have me in them — and I don’t mean me Viola, I mean me as a black woman.”

Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Davis who stars in the heist drama ‘Widows” joins a long line of distinguished women in the industry who have received the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award, including Oprah Winfrey, Halle Berry, Jodie Foster and Barbara Walters. Other honorees included producer Nina Jacobson who received the Equity in Entertainment Award from Awkwafina.

Lupita Nyong'o
Lupita Nyong’o

Held at MILK Studios in Los Angeles, the event was presented by Lifetime, and coincided with the publication of The Hollywood Reporter’s annual Power 100 Women in Entertainment issue, guest edited by Lena Dunham.

Steve McQueen
Steve McQueen

Additional guests in attendance included:  “The Hate U Give” actress Amandla Stenberg, Brian Tyree Henry, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Janet Mock and “Widows'” director Steve McQueen.

Samantha Ofole-Prince is an entertainment industry specialist and contributes to Trendy Africa Magazine from Los Angeles

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