The Essence Magazine team caught up with Viola Davis, Lashana Lynch, Thuso Mbedu, Sheila Atim, and Adrienne Warren, who star in the upcoming historical drama “The Woman King,” about the film, sisterhood, and more for the digital cover of the magazine’s September 2022 edition.
Check out excerpts from the cover below:
Viola Davis on being seen as a Black actress
There are no words to describe the journey, the sweat, the blood the war, that is being a Black artist and being a Black female artist. If people understood what goes on in the room, what goes on in the studio, what goes on in a heart, what freaking dies in us at times.
When they see the carnage of all the Black actors who were out there, even during the Sydney Poitier years, that couldn’t even have an agent, because it was nothing out there for them. If they see the blood, sweat and tears of what it took, not just for this movie, just what our journey is. Then they would be on board. They would be on board because they would understand the absolute importance of it. And whatever little jealousies, which is very human because that’s what it is, it’s jealousy. It’s envy. It’s I want to be there. It’s that basic human instinct to take someone down because I need to be better than you in order to feel some other importance. That is secondary to elevating the ultimate goal, which is us being seen.
Lashana Lynch on the lasting impact The Woman King will have on her life
I feel like I’ll always have a little bit of whatever spirit was conjured up for the shoot within us and I don’t even know what it is. I feel like I’ve met this energy in a way and now I don’t know what to do with it. Because will I get the chance to even exercise it again? What does it mean? How do I talk to it? How do I use it? But genuinely I’m just really grateful that all of my experiences and all of the no’s and all of the complications and all of the “We’re going with a white girl, a lighter girl, a short girl, a more experienced girl–” we’ll go with all of those girls because they, aesthetically, make more sense than the tall, Black, curvy, short-haired, dark skin girl from London who doesn’t dot her i’s and cross her t’s all the time, and who has opinions [got me here]. I cannot comprehend how this is going to reverberate throughout our lives. Let alone throughout the world. The world is one thing, but in our lives there’s something that we can have forever. And I’m so excited to see what that collective experience is going to be.
Thuso Mbedu on Gina Prince-Bythewood and Viola Davis believing in her
My biggest takeaway is that I really am stronger than I think or believe or allow myself to be. And that there is a greatness that you saw that I have not been allowed to see in myself that I need to take in. I thank you for seeing me. Because even now I don’t think I see myself.
Check out the full feature here.
Photographed by: @lelanief
Adrienne Hair: @tymwallacehair
Adrienne Makeup: @rebekahaladdin
Gina Hair: Tiffany Daughtery at Celestine Agency
Gina Makeup: Leibi Carias at Celestine Agency
Lashana Hair: @cynthiaglam
Sheila Hair: @theonlycm123
Sheila Makeup: @paulyblanch
Thuso Hair: @sharifposton
Thuso Makeup: @rebekahaladdin
Viola Hair: @jamikawilson
Viola Makeup: @sergiowastaken
Nail Technician: @customtnails1
Set Designer: @winstonstudios
Shot at: @duststudiosla