Viola Davis is living out her 55th birthday while also reflecting on her humble beginnings as a woman who rose through poverty to become one of the most powerful and important actresses of her time.
The Oscar winner shared that she purchased the slave plantation she was born on in St Matthews, South Carolina, with her fans on her special day.
She shared a snapshot of the home with the following caption, “The above house is the house where I was born August 11, 1965. It is the birthplace of my story. Today on my 55th year of life…I own it…all of it,” she wrote.
“May you live long enough to know why you were born,” she wrote evoking a Cherokee birth blessing. The moment marks a powerful re-visioning for Davis and for Black families who are descendants of the Transatlantic slave trade, knowing full well that less than 80 years ago, Black people were still entangled in the poisonous net of slavery through sharecropping. Even today, Black families are unable to financially advance due to a series of systemic inequities.
Soon after Davis’ post went up, her friends and supporters began showering her with birthday well-wishes, while also taking in the powerful moment that the actress shared.
“We all celebrate you, happy birthday Queen,” Lynn Whitfield wrote.
Taraji P. Henson wrote, “THANK GOD FOR THIS DAY!!!! Happy birthday beautiful Queen!!!
“Happy birthday sweet friend! May your life continue to inspire and your light continue to shine,” wrote Halle Berry.
Davis has spoken out about her upbringing, moving from St. Matthews, to Central Falls, Rhode Island, and the snowball effect of what living in poverty does to families every day.
“[I] realized we were poor,” she said in a 2019 interview with O Magazine. “But I was making my way through it. You either hope or you don’t. And it was hope and dreams that made me put my feet on the floor every morning and just approach every day with a sense of enthusiasm. It was my fight or flight that kicked in.”
Happy birthday Viola and we can’t wait to see what you do with your new purchase!