Viola Davis speaks up for domestic workers at gala

The Washington Post

Nannies’ night out! The National Domestic Workers Alliance made its debut on the D.C. gala scene Wednesday with a timely blast of starpower: Viola Davis, who won just about every prize short of an Oscar this year for playing a beleaguered civil rights-era maid in “The Help.”

Too much of a stereotype? So some critics fretted, but it’s clear Davis didn’t see it that way.

“Domestic workers, I realized during the whole course of ‘The Help,’ have been diminished,” she told our colleague Michael Livingston II. “I am here to say no to that.”

Rocking natural hair, sculpted arms and a slim-fitting cocktail dress on the National Museum of Women in the Arts’ red carpet, Davis noted that her mother and grandmother were maids. With her star-making role, “I’ve honored people who have given their life to service to others.”

By her side: co-star Cicely Tyson, petite and enigmatic in dark shades, who doled out hugs and posed for photos, but, sorry, no interviews. Still, a good get for the five-year-old advocacy group. The actresses “really helped bring domestic workers into the public consciousness,” said co-founder Andrea Cristina Mercado. “We look forward to elevating the importance of this work.”