Viola Davis was one of many celebrities to support the XQ Super School Live television special this past weekend. The actress had her husband, Julius Tennon, and daughter, Genesis, by her side during the charity event’s red carpet appearances. Viola held her daughter’s hand as she stood next to Delores Grant while photographers took pictures.
The XQ Super School Live television special was all about education in America. It is quite shocking to some that a nation as wealthy as the United States has a high school dropout rate that is startling, to say the least. More than one million students who begin high school never make it to graduation. Of those who do finish, fewer than 80 percent complete their studies in four years.
The shocking statistics are why Viola Davis partnered with Samuel L. Jackson and Justin Timberlake to bring XQ Super School Live to all four major television networks this past weekend. Viola hosted the broadcast that she and her husband executively produced while Samuel L. Jackson and others made appearances to show full support for the cause.
“I’m a firm believer in education,” Jackson, who comes from a family of educators, told press during his red carpet appearance. “It breaks my heart to read about the number of kids who drop out of school every year and I think that’s part and parcel of how the education system works,” he added. “We need to identify a way to make going to school an exciting prospect for kids. We need to identify what each kid wants to learn and give them ways into real life experiences.”
Viola Davis also spoke on the importance of education and the impact of good teachers. “Jeff Kenyon — he was a teacher in the Upward Bound program and the best thing that he told me is that I’m important,” she revealed to The Hollywood Reporter. “I think that there’s a lot of awkward high school students out there that have probably x’d themselves out. It’s an awkward phase in life. You don’t feel like you’re pretty enough, good enough, smart enough — nothing is enough. [Kenyon] taught me that I was enough. He listened to me. That was the best education that he gave me.”
Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of the late Steve Jobs, started the XQ initiative. To date, the cause has pledged $115 million to better the education system in America.
Photo: Amanda Edwards/WireImage