Viola Davis Accepts Harvard’s Artist of the Year in Moving Speech

Harvard really knows how to pick their winners. Fresh off crowning Rihanna as their Humanitarian of the Year, the most prestigious of the Ivys has named Viola Davis as Artist of the Year in honor of her portrayal of Rose Maxson in Fences. In her acceptance speech, Her Majesty Miss Davis spoke on the importance of art and storytelling.

“Art, it’s a very sacred place, the stage and the screen,” she said to the crowd of assembled students. “Because really at the end of the day, even what I do as an artist, when I channel characters, people and their stories, and those moments in their lives that we sometimes hide, that we feel like is just our mess, and our shame. I want people to be seen. I want them to feel less alone.”

In addition to the Harvard Award, Davis has picked up an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, as well as Critics’ Choice, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards for her role opposite Denzel Washington in Fences.

Check out the speech below:

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