She knows what she’s talking about! Viola Davis is well-versed in the entertainment industry, so Us Weekly will take her recommendations anytime. But the fact that February is Black History Month makes her latest list even more special.
The Oscar winner, 56, is sharing her favorite books and TV shows exclusively with Us for the occasion, beginning with a ringing endorsement of the FX dramedy Atlanta.
“This TV show really enraptures, entertains and evolves the thinking about a city, which is so great,” Davis tells Us of the series. “Donald Glover is so amazing in everything he creates. It is such a fun watch!”
Atlanta — starring and created by Glover, 38 — premiered in September 2016 and centers around a rapper and his music manager as they navigate the hip-hop scene in the titular city. The show has won five Emmy Awards and two Golden Globes throughout its run and is set to return for season 3 in March.
The How to Get Away With Murder alum also recommends author Octavia E. Butler’s book Wild Seed, to which she has a special connection. The novel — published in 1980 as part of the Patternist series — follows two African immortals who weave a pattern of destiny around the world. Davis is adapting the book for Amazon with her company, JuVee Productions.
“This book is so epic and truly shifted my life. It uses science fiction to see our world in a different way,” Davis says, adding that she’s “very excited” to bring the sci-fi story to the small screen soon with husband Julius Tennon, who is producing alongside her. “It’s as exciting as it is revolutionary.”
The actress says that her next pick, Joy DeGruy’s “brilliant and impactful” book Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, is “hard to read in all the best ways.” The book explores the repercussions of repeated trauma within the Black community, from the beginning of enslavement to the present day.
“It really shows the PTSD felt by Black Americans and how it impacts our lives, in the ways we’ve always been able to see, but then [also] opens up our minds to ways we couldn’t even see,” she explains.
Last but not least, Davis has her own story to tell in her upcoming memoir, Finding Me, which is set to be released in April. “It’s so personal to me,” she tells Us. “I’m wildly proud of every word in the book.”
For more on Davis’ Black History Month recommendations, pick up the latest issue of Us Weekly, on newsstands now.