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Viola Davis Sounds Off on ‘The First Lady’ Criticism

Speaking with BBC News, Viola Davis responded to critics that reacted negatively to her portrayal of Michelle Obama in The First Lady.

Viola Davis isn’t backing down from critics of The First Lady. While speaking with BBC News about the limited Showtime series, responding to viewers who teased her portrayal of former First Lady, Michelle Obama. Davis noted that while the backlash was “incredibly hurtful when people say negative things about your work,” she accepted the response.

“How do you move on from the hurt, from failure?” she said. “But you have to. Not everything is going to be an awards-worthy performance.”

On social media, some viewers took offense at Davis using exaggerated facial expressions to portray Michelle Obama, including a pouting expression known as a ‘duckface.’

“Critics absolutely serve no purpose. And I’m not saying that to be nasty either,” she added. “They always feel like they’re telling you something that you don’t know. 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.”

In the article, Davis mentioned that portraying Michelle Obama was “almost impossible.” “Either you’re doing too much or not enough,” Davis said, also stating that she had no contact with Michelle Obama.

The third episode of The First Lady airs on Sunday, May 1st on Showtime at 9 PM ET/12 AM PT.

Jaelani Turner-Williams

Jaelani Turner-Williams is a contributing news writer for Okayplayer with bylines at Billboard, MTV News, NYLON, Recording Academy and more. Read her mind on Twitter at @hernameisjae.

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Jaelani Turner-Williams

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