BY: Jennifer Le
Edited By: Tai Perkins
PHOTOS BY: Jocelyn Gonzalez
“The closest I’ve ever got to ‘letting go and letting God.’”
What an honor. Next Jeneration's CEO and founder, Jen From BK, got a chance to sit down with actress Viola Davis at Tribeca Film Festival for the premiere of her new documentary on the diabetes epidemic. Viola Davis is a triple crown actor. She became the first black actor to win an Emmy, a Tony and an Oscar at the 2017 Academy Awards for her role as "Rose" in the film Fences. The premiering documentary, "A Touch of Sugar" highlights three different families who has a loved on diagnosed with the disease. Viola, who revealed in the doc that she was pre-diabetic, breaks down the astounding statistics of diabetes in this country.
We also dived into Mrs. Davis' adventure life. She speaks on her recent experience skydiving and how it was slightly inspired by Will Smith.
Next Jeneration: Jen From BK here with the incomparable and iconic, Viola Davis. Here at the Tribeca Film Festival, for her documentary "A Touch of Sugar." I feel like I should bow down to you. How are you feeling Viola?
Viola Davis: A little tired but good. I'm good.
Next Jeneration: You are a brave woman. You went skydiving recently. How was that experience? So OG! Did Will Smith inspire you to do that or you just went out on a whim?
Viola Davis: [LAUGHING] No Will, you didn't inspire me. Well he did a little bit. When I saw him jump, I said 'Okay. You can't get one up on me Will.' I have to tell you, if was one of the highlights of my life.
Next Jeneration: I would've been so scared. I heard you kind of free your mind when you jump of a plane. That's what people tell me. Is that true?
Viola Davis: I did free my mind. I have to tell you, it is absolutely the absence of fear. Which I am shocked at. While you're dropping for 30 seconds, before the parachute comes, you're dropping at 200 MPH. [Due to] wind velocity you're flying more than you're dropping. It is absolutely the absence of fear. It speaks to, once again, fear that stops us from doing everything. I think it's the closet I'll ever get to 'letting go and letting God.' It was awesome!
Next Jeneration: I might try it since you've described it like that. I'd be scared for my life but I want to be one with God, and have that free feeling, so I'm going to try it.
But we're here for A Touch Of Sugar, as you all know she's behind the scenes as an amazing producer. Speak to us about why you wanted to shed light on this epidemic.
Viola Davis: Well I'm narrating this film, Merck is producing this film about confronting the diabetes crisis in America. You got 30 million adults who are living with type two diabetes, and 84 million adults living with pre-diabetes and most don't know it. We're not talking about type one, we're not talking about children. So when you look at 324 million people living in this country, you're looking at close to half the population. We are at epidemic proportions. Somebody needs to give a voice to disease. It needs to be managed and people need to be educated about it. People need advocates.
Viola Davis Narrates “A Touch of Sugar” Documentary. The film is bringing awareness to Type 2 Diabetes. "Viola Davis has teamed up with pharmaceutical company Merck on A Touch of Sugar"
Viola Davis: We need to strap on our amour and we need to tackle it, in a way that is like a superhero.
Viola Davis: It's deeper than sugar. First of all,
sugar is hidden in everything. It's hidden in
low fat foods.
Next Jeneration: Really?
Viola Davis: Sugar is in fruit, if you're
predisposed to diabetes fruit is very healthy,
but fruit to a diabetic can be like candy.
Viola Davis: It's deeper than just exercise,
and healthy food. some people have a
genetic disposition to it. Some people it
comes from age. It comes from being in
menopause. It's any number of factors,
which is why we need education, which is
why we need advocacy.
Viola Davis: The myth that's out there is
'you're the one that caused it. you just
need to lose that weight. You're overweight.'
There is skinny people who have diabetes.
There are overweight people who don't have diabetes. We have to tackle the complexity of the disease.
Next Jeneration: Absolutely! It's premiering today, but if there is viewers out there who want to find more information about the doc, where can they go?
Viola Davis: You can go to ATouchOfSugar.com , and there is information there if you need it. It's an important documentary- by the way very touching stories within the documentary.
Next Jeneration: Absolutely! Viola Davis, before we wrap up- I wish I had more time with you. I do this thing called wrap-it-roulette, where I ask you random questions and whatever comes to your mind I need you to answer.
What's something you've always wanted to do as a child but never got to do?
Viola Davis: I got to do everything! What did I want to do? I always wanted to [ride a] horse.
Next Jeneration: What TV channel should exist but really doesn't?
Viola Davis: How to manage natural hair.
Viola Davis: I should've said 'gone to Egypt and rode on a camel. That's what i should've said.'
Next Jeneration: I'm sure you will! Hopefully we can follow you on social media and see you do that.
Viola Davis is a consistent reminder that the sky is the limit. She is truly an inspiration to us all and we are honored to have had the opportunity to speak with her. As the first Black actor to win an Emmy, Tony and an Oscar award, Viola is paving the way for actors alike. She reminds Next Jeneration and everyone how you can accomplish yours goals, and even surpass them.
A Touch Of Sugar was not only informative, but it is so necessary at this crucial time in America. The diabetes rate is at an all-time high, and only 11.6% of adults with pre-diabetes, are aware that they have it. Before to visit atouchofsugar.com for more.