Davis is the third black woman EGOT winner after Whoopi Goldberg and Jennifer Hudson. In 2018, John Legend became the first black male EGOT winner.
Viola Davis is now a proud Grammy winner after securing a Grammy for the audiobook recording of her memoir, "Finding Me." She completed the set to become only the third black female EGOT winner after Whoopi Goldberg and Jennifer Hudson after opening up about her childhood among many other things in her memoir. She spoke of the joy and trauma she endured during her younger days. In 2018, at age 39, artist John Legend became the first black male EGOT winner. According to the Guardian, Davis was up against fellow Brooks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jamie Foxx and Questlove, both Oscar and Grammy winners. Davis is also a four-time Academy Award nominee who won the best supporting actress Oscar in 2017 for her performance in "Fences." She also won a Tony in 2010 as the best lead actress in the original play on Broadway.
“I wrote this book to honor the six-year-old Viola,” Davis said on stage at the ceremony in Los Angeles. “To honor her life, her joy, her trauma, everything. And, it has just been such a journey – I just EGOT!” Her memoir highlights the racist bullying she experienced as a child in Rhode Island and her journey from minor roles to being cast as the lead in "How to Get Away With Murder," which gained her notoriety and recognition. Her book begins by talking about a young Viola who was a constant victim of racial abuse. "Eight or nine white boys in my class made it their daily, end-of-school ritual to chase me like dogs hunting prey." As per USA Today, the boys would throw pine cones, rocks and sometimes even bricks at her and regard her with racial slurs.
For those who want to see Viola Davis’s #Grammys speech:— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) February 5, 2023
“I wrote this book to honor the 6-year-old Viola” pic.twitter.com/Mlp6loEKYo
Viola Davis’ childhood was poverty-stricken, abusive and infested with rats. She was born the fifth of six children in St. Matthews, South Carolina. Soon after, her family transferred to Central Falls, Rhode Island, where they lived in a dilapidated home with no electricity, gas, hot water, or a phone. "That, compounded with the bedwetting, made for a home with a horrific smell," Davis writes and it was infested with rats. "The rats were so bad, they ate the faces of my dolls." Her father was an abusive alcoholic who had multiple affairs and frequently abused her mother.
Davis recalls an unforgettable episode in which a woman opened the door to her apartment while she was still naked and her father was there. Davis also describes how her father would physically assault her mother. "Then he just swung his hand and smashed the glass against the side of my mom's head and I saw the glass slice the upper side of her face near her eye and blood squirted out. A lot of blood." She adds further: "My three sisters and I were often left unsupervised with my brother in our apartment—sexual curiosity would cross the line." He would chase us. We would lose. And eventually, other inappropriate behavior occurred that had a profound effect."
Viola Davis received a standing ovation at #TheGrammys shortly after she became the 18th EGOT winner in history pic.twitter.com/6ToDOg3ga2— NowThis (@nowthisnews) February 6, 2023
However, despite all the trauma Davis went through as a child, she still writes with forgiveness of her family: they “did the best they could with what they were given.” Adding: “There is an emotional abandonment that comes with poverty and being Black,” Davis writes. “The weight of generational trauma and having to fight for your basic needs doesn’t leave room for anything else. You just believe you’re the leftovers.” Currently, Davis is one of the most acclaimed Black female actors of all time, having overcome all obstacles and continuing to heal from her past trauma and tribulations. “As Black women, we are complicated. We are feminine. We are sexual. We are beautiful. We’re pretty. There are people out there who desire us. We are deserving,” Davis writes. “So that’s why I’m very aware of what my presence means.”