Know your Lecture Board candidates: Viola Davis


One of Brown’s possible Lecture Board speakers for Spring 2016 is Viola Davis, and if you don’t know who she is, where have you been? Have you seen her daughter’s amazing Viola Davis Halloween costume?

Davis is an American Actress known for her starring roles in The Help and Shonda Rhimes’ hit show How to Get Away with Murder. She’s accumulated quite a few awards over the years: she won a Tony award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her role as Tonya in King Hedley II and for Best Actress in a Play for Fences, along with an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for her performance as Aibileen Clark in The Help and a nod for Best Supporting Actress for her role in 2008’s Doubt. 

Most notably, she was the first African American woman to receive an Emmy award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama series, which she won for her role in How to Get Away with Murder. She has spoken out about the opportunities for women of color in the media, and her Emmy win has come to symbolize a  significant moment for diversity in Hollywood. In 2012, Time named her one of their 100 Most Influential People.

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State of the City: It’s snowing.

Screw this. Let’s Gamble for gold. A recent WPRI poll shows that most RI residents favor expanding the state’s casino gambling options. The state should run with this finding and try to kill two birds with one stone. I say we take the municipal pension fund, go to a craps table, and put it on 31 black. I know the risks are high, but if we win, not only is the deficit solved — golden chariots for all the elderly!

Meryl, you’re me(ry)lting our hearts. It appears that Meryl Streep is trying to make nice with Rhode Island after stealing away the Oscar for Best Actress from Rhody Viola Davis. The now three-time Academy Award-winning actress has donated a total of $20,000 to Upward Bound, a RI charity committed to creating educational opportunities for all. In case that wasn’t enough, the gifts were all in the name of Viola Davis and her sister. It’s bad enough you knock our socks off with your out-of-this-world acting every year, Streep, but to melt our hearts with your generosity as well — unfair, Iron Lady, unfair.

In other news that proves that global warming is a hoax, it will snow today. Suck on that, Obama.

State of the City: Roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet, but Viola, RI loves you!

Crime Alert: Maple syrup fraud. In (thoroughly pathetic) local crime news, WPRI is reporting that a local man pled guilty to “maple syrup fraud” this past week. Apparently, Bernard Coleman began a legitimate online maple syrup business, but in order to maintain profits after a price increase for syrup, “he decided to make his own out of water, sugar and maple flavoring.” Best part: Coleman was able to keep this up for THREE YEARS. That is, until a pair of maple syrup connoisseurs doubted the authenticity of their $220 order and “had it tested by the state Department of Agriculture Consumer Protection.” So, there you go boys and girls, your hard-earned (by which I mean… your parents’…) tax dollars at work — testing the authenticity of maple syrup.

The Water Cycle. According to a recent poll conducted by Brown University (wait… where?), Congressman David Cicilline ’83’s job approval rate has dropped to an all-time low of 15%. Apparently, even former President Richard Nixon had a higher approval rating after the Watergate scandal was exposed. Damn, Cicilline — it’s time to step up your game.

But, on a serious note… that’s actually really embarrassing. Even after announcing the city of Providence is heading towards bankruptcy, Mayor Angel Taveras’s approval rating is around 60%. BlogDH predicts it’ll jump up to 96.7% this June when Taveras announces that Providence is broke and is set to evaporate into the atmosphere.

Pick a prize: Oscar or Hallmark. When we last checked, there were at least five separate stories about Viola Davis’s Oscar nomination for The Help, billed as breaking news on the ProJo (not to mention the greeting card?). With all due respect, Ms. Davis, The Help is a decent movie and you looked beautiful but there are MUCH, MUCH MORE important events happening in Rhode Island (bankruptcy, defaulting on retiree pensions, failing state education, union strife — just to name a few)…maybe the ProJo should be covering those? Plus, it must be amazing just to be nominated, right?

Update: Sad news for Rhode Island…seems like Jersey (way to rep, Meryl!) has you beat out again…