Viola Davis Talks Leaving a 'Legacy of Hope' While Accepting AAFCA Icon Award

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Viola Davis
AAFCA 2021 via Getty Images

Viola Davis' awards shelf continues to grow! The celebrated actress took home the prestigious Icon Award 12th annual African American Film Critics Association Awards on Wednesday, and delivered a powerful speech about her future and legacy.

"I’ve always struggled my entire career -- probably life -- feeling like I’m worthy of all this praise," Davis, 55, shared as she accepted the award virtually. " I think what makes it an easy sort of pill to swallow is when I think of people like August Wilson and I think about directors like George C. Wolfe and Denzel Washington."

The Ma Rainey's Black Bottom star went on to explain that her "acceptance of any of this praise is equal to my absolute passion to leave a legacy."

"A legacy for brown-skinned girls just like me who were told they were invisible," Davis continued, adding, "It’s been the ride of my life to have this career."

"I have been blessed and fortunate in every single way to be able to literally give you all the human beings, the black and brown human beings that I've embodied and to give them to you and to help you to feel less alone through their stories," she shared. "I will continue to leave a legacy of hope, of life, of humor, of pathos, of humanity for as long as God will have me here."

She concluded her speech with a few truly potent and inspiring words for those who have been searching for meaning or struggling to follow their passion.

"We have within us, all the tools that are necessary to elevate our lives in the most unbelievable, profound ways," Davis said. "I have found it through my acting, but my God, we can find it through every area in our life."

On Thursday, Davis posted a glamorous snapshot of herself to Instagram, celebrating the award and thanking the AAFCA for the honor, writing, "Honored to receive the Icon Award last night! Thank you @AAFCA!!"

Davis previous spoke to ET in February about her multitude of awards season nominations and wins for her role in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom -- which has subsequently earned her a Best Actress nomination at this year's 93rd Academy Awards.

"I'm in a profession that has a 95 percent unemployment rate. Point zero four percent of actors are famous," she explained to ET's Nischelle Turner. "So, when an actor says, 'I feel grateful to be nominated,' you're absolutely right. It's miraculous -- it really is -- that I've gotten this far and getting these award nominations is proof positive."

Check out the video below to hear more.

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