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Viola Davis will star as history-making Shirley Chisholm in a new biopic

Viola Davis, a cast member in the film “Widows,” is photographed Sept. 9, 2018, at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel during the Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto. Davis and husband Julius Tennon’s JuVee Productions announced Thursday a first-look deal for a biopic about the New York representative, aptly named “The Fighting Shirley Chisholm,” according to Deadline. (Chris Pizzello / Invision/Associated Press)
Viola Davis, a cast member in the film “Widows,” is photographed Sept. 9, 2018, at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel during the Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto. Davis and husband Julius Tennon’s JuVee Productions announced Thursday a first-look deal for a biopic about the New York representative, aptly named “The Fighting Shirley Chisholm,” according to Deadline. (Chris Pizzello / Invision/Associated Press)
By Sarah Polus Washington Post

Viola Davis made history by becoming the first black actress to be nominated for three Academy Awards, and is the only African-American to secure acting’s triple crown (an Emmy, Oscar and a Tony). So when it came time to pick an actress to depict Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress, as well as the first woman and person of color to ever pursue a nomination for president in a major American political party, Davis was a natural fit.

Davis and husband Julius Tennon’s JuVee Productions announced Thursday a first-look deal for a biopic about the New York representative, aptly named “The Fighting Shirley Chisholm,” according to Deadline. Chisholm faced significant criticism during her 1972 run for the White House, eventually losing the Democratic nomination to George McGovern, who was then beaten by Richard Nixon in the presidential election.

Discussion has been swirling around Davis’ possible portrayal of the former congresswoman since 2010, five years after the 2005 Peabody-winning documentary “Shirley Chisholm ‘72: Unbought and Unbossed” was released.

Chisholm passed away in 2005, but she’s remained a trailblazer for modern politics as African-American women such as Stacey Abrams, the first black woman to win in the Georgia gubernatorial primaries, continue to make history.

Davis will also produce the Chisholm biopic.

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