Viola Davis honored as Harvard’s ‘Artist of the Year’

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Last week Viola Davis won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in Fences and this week she was honored at Harvard’s Cultural Rhythms Festival where she became the recipient of the university’s 2017 Artist of the Year award.

Davis now holds an Emmy, a Tony and the Oscar.

Also, this week at the Sanders Theatre festival, the 51-year-old actress soaked up the culture while watching multicultural dance and vocal performances.

She delighted in the Flamenco dresses and the breakdancing on the stage.

“Oh my God, these beautiful singers and dancers, I’m like, ‘Who is this Viola Davis?’” she joked. “You guys are awesome.”

— Mahershala Ali, Viola Davis made history at last night’s Oscars — 

After gushing about the performances, Davis turned serious about her approach to acting.

“It’s a very sacred place, the stage and the screen. At the end of the day, what I do as an artist is channel characters and their stories and those moments in their lives that we sometimes hide,” said Davis.

“I want them to be seen,’’ she went on. “I want them to feel less alone…Your job as an audience is to bear witness. To come open and willing to transform.”

Davis said she would try hard to exceed the expectations that come along with her Harvard award but she “can’t promise I won’t make some crap every once in a while.”

Past honorees of the Harvard award are Quincy Jones, Sharon Stone, Andy Garcia, LL Cool J, Will Smith, Queen Latifah, Halle Berry, and Salma Hayek.

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