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Viola Davis slams criticism of her Michelle Obama performance in ‘The First Lady’

Viola Davis joins LOréal Paris to celebrate the launch of Age Perfect Cosmetics on March 03, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California

Viola Davis fired back at criticism of her performance as Michelle Obama in the Showtime series “The First Lady,” saying critics “absolutely serve no purpose.”

“They always feel like they’re telling you something that you don’t know,” Davis said of her critics in an interview with BBC News

“Somehow that you’re living a life that you’re surrounded by people who lie to you and ‘I’m going to be the person that leans in and tells you the truth.’ So it gives them an opportunity to be cruel to you. But ultimately I feel like it is my job as a leader to make bold choices. Win or fail it is my duty to do that,” she added of the people who insulted her performance. 

Davis was criticized for her portrayal of the former first lady as some viewers said her facial expressions in the role, especially when she pursed her lips, were distracting. 

Though Davis acknowledged that some of the remarks about her performance were “incredibly hurtful,” she called it an “occupational hazard.”

The Academy Award winning actress attributed some of the criticism to how well-known and popular Michelle Obama is, saying it was an “almost impossible” role. 

“Critics absolutely serve no purpose,” she also said, adding that she was “not saying that to be nasty either.”

Davis was the first Black actress to win an Oscar, Emmy and Tony award. 

“The awards, I’m extremely grateful for them,” she said. “I am literally in shock I was able to achieve what I have achieved, knowing my beginnings. But that’s where it begins and ends.”

Tags Michelle Obama Viola Davis

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