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Viola Davis Gave An Emotional Speech At The BAFTAs About African-American Lives

In a winners' press conference following her win, Davis also said: "Anyone who labels Meryl Streep an overrated actress obviously doesn't know anything about acting. That's just it."

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Accepting her BAFTA award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Rose Lee Maxson on Sunday night, Viola Davis made a powerful speech about African-American lives.

BBC / BAFTA

After thanking the other BAFTA nominees and August Wilson, the American playwright who wrote the Fences film and play, Davis said: "My father groomed horses at the racetrack and he had a fifth-grade education and he was a janitor towards the end of his life when he died of cancer at a McDonald's.

"And the reason why I say that is when he took his last breath, one of the most devastating things that went through my mind is, Did his life matter? And August answers that question so brilliantly, because what he did is he said that our lives mattered as African-Americans.

"The horse groomer, the sanitation worker, the people who grew up under the heavy brute of Jim Crow. The people who did not make it into the history books but they had a story and those stories deserve to be told because they lived."

At a press conference following her win, Davis expanded on on her thoughts: "Oftentimes with African-Americans, if you didn't make it into a history book, if you are not a walking social statement, then the story is not worthy to be told."

EE / BAFTA

"His [August Wilson's] mission when he started writing was to chronicle every decade of life that African-Americans lived in a decade. But he chronicled it by just telling stories, about our relationships, our lost dreams, how we wanted to be big people but because of the circumstances that were given to us they weren't.

"And I love that, because oftentimes with African-Americans if you didn't make it into a history book, if you are not a walking social statement, then the story is not worthy to be told. There are times that I want to tell people the fact that I am a living breathing person, I am a woman, I am sexual, I am joyful, I am funny, I am tragic, I am all of those things. That that in itself should be worthy..."

Davis also used the event to defend Meryl Streep. In January, Streep gave a speech against Donald Trump and his presidency.

At tonight's #GoldenGlobes we honor Hollywood legend Meryl Streep with the prestigious Cecil B. Demille Award.

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This led to a twitterstorm by Trump.

Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn't know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes. She is a.....

Hillary flunky who lost big. For the 100th time, I never "mocked" a disabled reporter (would never do that) but simply showed him.......

Davis was asked about his comments in the winners' room, as Davis and Streep are friends. Davis said: "Anyone who labels Meryl Streep an overrated actress obviously doesn't know anything about acting. That's just it."

EE / BAFTA

She added: "That's not even just directed towards Donald Trump, that's directed towards anyone. This is someone who is the master of her skill and she has lasted for 40 years in a very difficult profession, might I add.

"And on top of those things, it's one of the things people have to know about this woman, they have to know this: she is the most honourable, the most accessible human being you can possibly want to meet."

Congratulations, Viola Davis.

In short.

2017: The Year Viola Davis runs out of shelves.

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