As soon as Viola Davis opens her mouth to speak, you know you better pay attention. The Oscar-winning actress has earned a reputation for giving the most inspiring speeches and last night at the Time 100 gala, she did not disappoint. Tasked with giving a toast, Viola took the opportunity to tell a story about the time she went on a cultural safari in Africa and met women of the Mandinka tribe in Gambia. She recounted being enthralled by their community and rituals and related it to being surrounded by fellow honorees in attendance.
“Everybody in this room, I’m sure, at some point has gone through something in their lives and you survived it. But not only did you survive it. You took that trauma, that hurt, that revelation, that whatever it was and you used it to connect, to give, to influence. To help,” she said, “And that is the beauty and the purpose of what we are here on this earth to do.”
She continued, “I lift the glass to everyone in this room, everyone who has decided to live a life bigger than yourself. Everyone who decided to slay those dragons and say, it’s not just about me. And I applaud you. And I am honored to be in this room with you.”
Watch her full speech below: