Viola Davis, Emmy, Tony, and Academy Award winner, was a guest on The Graham Norton Show a few weeks ago. As most of his guests are wont to do, Viola Davis was promoting a recent project as well as a future project.
Her most recent project is Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, a film now on Netflix.
An important lesson I took away from this interview was Viola Davis’ appreciation of Ma Rainey that is not well known – the fact that Ma had her own autonomy, knew her worth, and was comfortable with all of this success. And Ma owned all of this.
This was over 100 years ago.
Even as a top talent for her record label, Ma as a Black woman had no choice but to demand what she deserved, whether it was a requested Coca Cola or adequate pay. No one else would do it for her.
I understand this as do several of you reading this right now.
“The fact that she contributed so much to the music business, she’s called the Mother of the Blues, she influenced all the artists who came after her … yet no one knows who she is,” Viola Davis said of Rainey. “Her contribution, in my opinion, is her work and her level of understanding her worth.”
What affected me personally is that women today, over 100 years later, are still questioned about their fees, their work, and their audacity to place themselves at the forefront of whatever categories they use to define themselves.
I do know of some who are proud and put themselves out there to attract the right clients, the right fees that work for them and they sure do understand and accept their worth and value.
These women are self-employed or entrepreneurs.
Employees have a different perspective. There are numerous women – with equivalent education and experience – who are still paid less than their male compatriots at some of the largest companies in the world. In the world! Yet, one is afraid to complain as the women know they will not fare well in the long run.
This is yet another reason to become an entrepreneur which is not necessarily an easy path.
What is the next step?
First – own your worth.
Second – do not defend yourself.
Third – do not compare yourself to others.
Fourth – change your story to where you become the hero.
If you want to talk about this, sign up here for a Complimentary Session
It is up to you to step forward.
There is no one else.