Celebrating Black History Month: Viola Davis

Tyler Ryan shares details about South Carolina's Viola Davis celebrating Black History Month

Viola Davis is an award winning actress known for her powerful roles in the TV series, ‘How to Get Away with Murder’, the Broadway production of ‘King Hedley II’ and ‘Fences’.

Davis was born on August 11, 1965, at her grandparents’ home in St. Matthews, South Carolina. Her father, Dan Davis was a horse trainer and her mother, Mary Alice, a civil rights activist, a maid and a factory worker.  At a young age, Davis and her family moved to Rhode Island where she began acting in school productions and theater competitions. After attending Central Falls High School, she enrolled in Rhode Island College where she studied Theater. 

Davis found herself at the Young People’s School for the Performing Arts in Rhode Island on scholarship before attending the prestigious ‘Juilliard School’ in New York City.  It didn’t take long for Davis to start marking a name for herself in the New York theater scene, making her Broadway debut in August Wilson’s tragic comedy, Seven Guitars in 1996. 

Davis would return to the Great White Way, to share the stage with Denzel Washington in the revival of another August Wilson’s Broadway plays, ‘Fences’. This show stopping performance landed both Davis and Washington Tony Awards.

In addition to acting, Davis currently produces, alongside her husband and producing partner, Julius Tennon, through their company, JuVee Productions. The creative team have produced award winning shows in theater, television and film.

In 2011, they expanded their family as well, adopting their daughter,  Genesis, who was also from South Carolina.

Davis’ journey in life includes being jailed at the age of two when she was arrested with her mother during a protest, sharing the stage and screen with some of the most successful people in entertainment, winning awards, producing amazing shows, and being a Mom.

She also carries on her mother’s activism by her advocacy and support of human rights and equal rights for women and women of color.



Tyler Ryan is an award winning television and radio personality, writer, investigative journalist, and professional emcee.  He appears daily on ABC Columbia’s Good Morning Columbia, as well as hosting the syndicated radio program Carolina Cares on the South Carolina Radio Network, and the iHeart Radio Network.  Tyler also regularly appears as a criminal expert and journalist on regional and national crime based programs like Snapped and Killer Couples.  You can contact him directly via EMAIL Or on the socials: Tyler’s Instagram  // Tyler’s Facebook

Categories: Black History