June 5, 2023

Setting the tone for a virtual award show is probably not the easiest task to navigate. Being trumped by the pandemic woes, entertainment and celebration has a different look but the vibe of this year’s Oscars felt Black. I kid you not! As soon as the red carpet ended, Actor Lil Rel and The Lucas Brothers kicked the night off BLACK AF! After Glen Close surprised Lil Rel with her knowledge of the classic song “Da Butt” by E.U. (Experience Unlimited) along with demonstrating the dance, Lil Rel dubbed this night, “The Blackest Oscar ever!” It felt good to see a space carved for Blackness. Now we wouldn’t be Black With No Chaser without mentioning that part but we were not there for that per se, we were there for two reasons; to root for everybody Black and awaiting the Best Actress award to be crowned onto Viola Davis. Although we can’t win them all, in essence, we won on the strength of representation.

Regina King’s opening speech into the run of the show was right on time and there is a deep appreciation for making room for certain messages to be shared. When Viola was thanked during the acceptance speech for the Best Makeup and Hairstylist for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” she was overwhelmed with emotions and looked stunningly beautiful in her white ensemble with her husband by her side. The night was filled with many messages from the ancestors and it is clear that these messages were meant for us all.

Viola quotes “I understand,” from the Great Maya Angelou as she speaks highly of Tyler Perry and his empathy for human life. Presenting the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to such a deserving human being as Perry, Viola speaks “I am grateful for the countless ways,” as she gives him thanks for his service to humanity. When Viola speaks, we listen! She commands a room with her perfect tone no matter the message being delivered. She stood behind Tyler like the majestic figure that she is, shining bright as if she had already won, as Tyler made the most inspirational speech of the night.

Viola gives exactly what we are looking for when it comes to escaping reality through the screen. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” had me floored and honestly gives me the feeling that Viola Davis is just now getting started showing us how high she is willing to go through the risings of her career. It’s the superb acting for me! Any role she decides to transform her skills into becomes a tangible piece of Black excellence. Nothing comes easy with being black. Certainly being Black and a woman lessens any chance of easiness.

What separates Viola Davis from the majority is the strength to make it all look so easy. We know that route is the road less traveled. Viola is one of the hardest working, insanely talented black women working on the screen to entertain our needs. With her shoulders so filled with countless awards the brevity of them all allows her crown to be perfectly positioned.

While she is known for acting in critically acclaimed films, she is also not new to the awards arena. This year is one of elevation, being in the running for the Best Actress for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” alongside Andra Day from “The United States vs Billie Holiday.” Any time we are wondering what representation looks like in an arena such as The Oscars, we can certainly look to this year’s Oscar ceremony for a clear description. As Viola Davis continues to shine as a model of Black Excellence, the culture and black women are encouraged and fueled by assuredness and pride in being Black in America, even when it’s the hardest weight to carry.

With effortless ease, she carries the crown that brightens our future. We celebrate her nomination, as well as Andra Day, for 2021 as The Best Actress for the 93rd Academy Awards in their stellar performances. Even without winning, she holds the title for Best Supporting Actress and we’re congratulating all of our brothers and sisters that took home wins. The others left knowing their work is truly appreciated. The imprint is heavily felt and Black representation was front and center at this years Oscars.

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