Viola Davis: Pioneering Diversity in Hollywood Through Entrepreneurship

Viola Davis: Pioneering Diversity in Hollywood Through Entrepreneurship

Viola Davis, renowned for her exceptional acting talent and advocacy for equal rights for women of color, has successfully branched out into entrepreneurship. Alongside her husband, Julius Tennon, she founded a production company, JuVee Productions. Davis’s journey as an entrepreneur is not just about creating a successful business but also about breaking barriers and advocating for diversity in the entertainment industry.


Born on August 11, 1965, Viola Davis is a critically revered American actress, producer, and entrepreneur. Raised in a single-room house by her grandparents, who were sharecroppers, she spent her early life on a plantation in South Carolina. Her humble beginnings did not deter her, but rather fueled her ambition. Davis was introduced to acting during her school days, participating in school productions and theatre competitions.

She pursued her passion for acting after high school, enrolling at Rhode Island College, where she majored in theater and graduated in 1988. Her talent and dedication led her to become one of the few performers to have been awarded an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony, an honor known as the EGOT.

Viola Davis’s journey from her humble beginnings to becoming a revered actress and successful entrepreneur is a testament to her resilience, talent, and commitment to bringing about change in the entertainment industry.

Entrepreneurial Journey

Viola Davis’s entrepreneurial journey is a poignant example of grit, determination, and the drive to effect change. In the face of an industry that often overlooked diverse narratives and roles for actors of color, Davis took matters into her own hands. Recognizing the need for more inclusivity and representation, she co-founded JuVee Productions, a multi-ethnic production company committed to amplifying underrepresented voices through powerful and culturally resonant stories.

Davis’s role as a leader in JuVee Productions has been instrumental in steering the company towards success. Under her watch, the company has created several critically acclaimed projects, reflecting her keen eye for compelling narratives and her dedication to bringing them to life on screen.

The entrepreneurial journey, however, is not without its challenges. As highlighted by Kjartan Rist in his Forbes article, it requires determination, a willingness to learn, and recognition of the sacrifices that will be needed. Davis’s journey exemplifies these traits. Despite the obstacles, she continued to push boundaries, proving that with perseverance and a clear vision, success is achievable.

Venturing further into the realm of entrepreneurship, Davis collaborated with serial entrepreneur Phyllis Newhouse to create a new television show for women entrepreneurs, akin to ‘Shark Tank’. This initiative not only extends her influence in the television industry but also underscores her commitment to empowering other women, particularly women of color, in the business world.

Viola Davis: Pioneering Diversity in Hollywood Through Entrepreneurship

Recognition and Impact

Viola Davis’s entrepreneurial undertakings and the impact of her work have been widely recognized. Her inclusion in Inc.’s Female Founders 100 list in 2021 is a testament to her successful endeavors as an entrepreneur.

But Davis’s influence extends beyond her business achievements. As an advocate for diversity and inclusion in the entertainment industry, she has helped challenge stereotypes and create opportunities for more equitable representation. The narratives she brings to life through JuVee Productions not only entertain but also educate and inspire, fostering a greater understanding of diverse experiences.

Moreover, Davis’s commitment to empowering other women is evident in her latest venture, a television show for women entrepreneurs. By providing a platform for these women to showcase their ideas and secure investment, she is helping bridge the gender gap in entrepreneurship. This initiative could have far-reaching implications, not only promoting gender parity in business but also inspiring a new generation of women entrepreneurs.

Davis’s recognition and impact illustrate the profound influence one individual can have when they use their platform to drive change. Her work serves as a reminder of the potential entrepreneurs have to shape society and underscores the importance of diversity and representation in all sectors.


Viola Davis’s journey as an entrepreneur is inspiring, not just because of her commercial success, but also because of her commitment to creating change. Through her entrepreneurial ventures, she is challenging the status quo, empowering underrepresented groups, and reshaping the entertainment industry. Her story serves as a powerful reminder that entrepreneurship can be a powerful vehicle for social change.


Viola Davis

Viola Davis Profile. | Lanre Dahunsi

Viola Davis launched production company ‘out of necessity’

The Next ‘Shark Tank’ – But for Women, By Viola Davis’s Production Company

Viola Davis is on Inc.’s 2021 Female Founders 100 list


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