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Viola Davis: ‘Poor People Are Invisible. I Know Because I Was That.’

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Actress Viola Davis has always been forthright about the hardships she faced throughout her upbringing. Just last month, Davis shared her experience with sexual assault at the Women’s March. On Tuesday, she opened up about growing up in poverty as well as the racial pay gap in Hollywood.

At the Women in the World event in Los Angeles, the EGOT winner told Daily Beast Tina Brown founder the nation is neglecting impoverished communities.

“I always say that I was a rung lower than poor, I was ‘po.” Davis said according to a video from The Root.

“We’d go to bed and hear rats killing the pigeons in the roof,” the 52-year-old shared of growing up poor in Rhode Island. “I mean loud, squealing noises. We would wrap our sheets around our necks at night because the rats would crawl through holes in the walls and you could hear them eating our toys at night and jumping on top of our beds.”

The How to Get Away With Murder said the experiences caused her to wet the bed until she was 14 years old.

“The reason I always talk about that kind of beginning is because nobody talks about poverty. They don’t,” Davis said. “It’s on no one’s demographics.

She then went on to mention President Trump’s new proposal to replace food stamps with food packages.

“It’s because poor people are invisible,” she continued. “I know because I was that.”

During the conversation, Davis also spoke on the comparisons made between herself and actress Meryl Streep while addressing race-based pay gaps in Hollywood.

“People say, ‘You’re a black Meryl Streep … We love you,” she said. “There is no one like you. OK, then if there’s no one like me, you think I’m that, you pay me what I’m worth.”

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