Davis: ‘I Was Spat On And Beaten For Being Black’

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February 3, 2012 | 4:01am EST

Oscar-nominee Viola Davis has opened up about her tormented childhood, revealing she was beaten and spat on just for being black.
In a candid TV interview with Vogue Contributing Editor Andre Leon Talley, which will air on Entertainment Tonight on Friday, The Help star admits she has plenty of terrible memories from her childhood in Rhode Island to draw from when she needs to play frightened or emotional onscreen.

She also reveals she felt a kinship with the maid she portrays in hit firm The Help because she too was targeted for the color of her skin.

She says, “I have stories of being spit on. You have to realize I was in a predominantly white culture… and third grade was the worst because every day after school I would wait at the door and the bell would ring. And as soon as the bell rang I ran as fast as I could from the front door to my house, which was at least a mile away, because I would have eight to nine boys with sticks, bricks, anything they could find, who were ready to kill me.”

Davis finally told her parents about her bullying hell and her mother sent her to school with a crochet needle.

She recalls, “She (mother) said, ‘Viola, I want you to take my crochet needle and you put it in your pocket and if they stop you again you tell them you’re gonna (stab) ’em.”

Davis agreed to get candid for Talley after learning both their grandmothers served as domestic helps – just like her character in the movie.

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