Now We Know Her Name. Hate Tweeting Viola Davis Will Get You Noticed.
Last Sunday’s Emmy Awards was a special one. Despite the fact that the ratings were less than stellar – more than likely whoever was watching was holding out for the moment when Viola Davis would make history by claiming the Best Actress prize for her impeccable work on ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder. Yes, it was pretty obvious that despite the loveliness and fierceness of Kerry and Taraji – Davis was the anointed one.
It happened. And when it did, I could feel my goose bumps rise and my eyes glisten as she was lovingly ushered onto the stage by her comrades who were more than happy to see one of their own remove the stigma of black women being systematically shut out from key categories due to a very dreary long drought.
Davis graciously accepted her award and delivered a phenomenal speech that encapsulated anything and everything people of color in the industry have been internalizing for centuries. It was a gorgeous moment – filled with hope, pride and elegance. Very rarely do black women get the opportunity to experience the joy of being challenged and emerging victorious in such a public way. But when it happens – it has to be celebrated until we literally can’t take it anymore,
Twitter erupted in jubilation and as usual I was eager to join the makeshift party – in the honor of a woman who believed that despite her dark skin, coarse hair and full lips, she had a chance at being the belle of the ball. Being invited to that level of prestige takes guts and valor and many regulate themselves to sexual favors to get there faster. We won’t mention any names but if you are Keeping up with The Kardashians, you know who and what I’m talking about.
Viola Davis chose the pristine path, carved with uncertainty and rich white powerful men who can make or break you. The latter usually wins out. But when the norm bends to the determination and willpower of the one who got away – being a black woman instantly translates to superhero status.
In the midst of jubilation there is always the one person who threatens the climate – mainly because they can’t take the realization that they were either too lazy or not competitive enough to garner that level of critical appraise that every performer strives for.
We now know who Nancy Lee Grahn is. Why? Because she seized the moment at a time when she was fragile and probably drunk enough to brave the torrents of mayhem and chaos that were to surely follow her very carefully contrived tweets.
Davis’ words were affectingly moving and even the most hard-hearted bitch had to have at least tried in vain to suppress the stinging tears waiting to fall.
Nancy Lee Grahn, a soap opera actress who nobody has heard of until now was crying hysterically when she beheld Viola in her glory, basking in the recognition of all her hard work. It was a painful moment for Ms. Grahn. At the age of 57, it is highly unlikely that she will ever experience anything remotely close to Viola’s victory. That’s an unbearable realization that warrants a public outcry.
So she tweeted a series of ramblings that exposed her anger and frustration that as a white woman working in a genre that caters mostly to white women, she has been unable to inspire any sense of adulation. But a black woman who was “lucky enough” to be cast in a role that gave her “instant” fame is enjoying the validation from her peers.
Grahn’s damning tweet: “I wish I loved #ViolaDavis Speech”. “But I thought she should have let @Shondarhimes write it”.
Expectedly – Grahn was accosted with queries from spirited tweeters who couldn’t fathom why this white woman would publicly attack a black woman who was clearly trending at that moment. She responded – and things got worse.
“I’m a f—king actress for 40 yrs. None of us respect or opportunity we deserve. Emmys not venue 4 racial opportunity. ALL women belittled”.
She continued her maddening streak with:
“I think she’s the bees knees but she’s elite of TV performers”. “Brilliant as she is. She has never been discriminated against”.
And there we have it. She had a lot more to say. But the crux of her message basically reveals the tethered fibers that unsuccessfully link women of color to white women who try their best to hide their confusion when it comes to adequately accommodating the fact that they always get the shiny end of the stick while their darker counterparts work to make their ends shinier.
Grahn, who is currently on ABC’s General Hospital – and we know that because we were forced to Google her, a victory I’m sure she is secretly celebrating, was horrified that a dark-skinned black woman could achieve something she couldn’t. For most white women – it is heart-wrenching to observe a black woman simply work her way through the trenches of ill-will and verbal massacre to sit on the throne decked out with accomplishments. To them, it has to be a stroke of divine intervention or an unusual situation that could evoke such an unnatural occurrence.
But no, Ms. Grahn and all those who feel like her – black women have to fight tooth and nail just to be handled with care and when it comes to equal opportunity in any industry – the mountain to climb is treacherous but of course if it’s not your journey so you can’t fathom it. All you can do is cry foul when it’s clear that your angelic whiteness didn’t compensate you the way you had hoped. It’s not enough to just be white – you also have to be talented, intelligent, beautiful and undeniably charismatic.
Viola Davis is all those things and more and contrary to public opinion, not every white woman fits into this category.
The bad news is that we now know Nancy Lee Grahn by name and trade – but the upside is that she will be forever known as the white woman who personified what most of us deem as white feminism.