The Complicated Truth About the Fallout Between Aunt Violet and Hollywood

Season 1 Episode 107
CC | tv-pg
Aunt Violet and Hollywood’s romance defies stereotypes of hetereosexual relationship. As show creator Ava DuVernay has pointed out, you don’t often see younger men dating vibrant older women. Instead, it’s often portrayed as a “cougar” scenario, in which a woman is chasing down a youthful man. Violet is older than Hollywood, but that doesn’t define their relationship. They are defined by mutual trust, love and a healthy amount of lust.

Ava says that after Violet’s brother, Ernest, died, she had to begin coming to terms with her new place in the family. “Violet had her own life,” Ava says. “She got her man, you know, Hollywood. She’s got her job. She doesn’t live to work, she works to live. Her life isn’t all about career. It’s about being free and having fun and just enjoying life, and so we find her at the top of the story doing just that and through Ernest’s passing, all of that changes.”

Now, Ava says, she’s responsible for this whole family. “She has to contend with the fact that as a woman who’s felt young in her bones even at an older age, she now is contending with her mortality as she sees her brother pass away. She’s contending with now being the authority figure for his children, and not just being the cool aunt anymore, but really having to take responsibility for them.”

Ava explains that within that structure, Violet could always count on her relationship with Hollywood. “They have a beautiful relationship,” Ava says. “Their storyline is one that I just really cherish and that is also a construction that’s much different from the book and something that I wanted to create to show this vibrant woman over 50, living life out loud, and the man who loves her.”

Then, suddenly, it comes crashing down. “When we get to the scene when Leanne comes to the backyard. Mmm-mmm, it ain’t right, you know what I mean?” Ava says. “It’s just, you feel for her so much, you know how much she just blindly trusts this man, and you also know what’s going on with him. You know that he has no betrayed her. You know that he has been trying to do right, but again, morally ambiguous.”

The moment brings to mind a lot of questions. “Should he have told her? Should he not have told her? Would you have told her? These are the questions that we ask audiences to think about as you view the episodes.”

Ava says the scene is so “heartbreaking” because everyone has clear and relatable motivations. “I understand her and why she is wrecked, and I understand him and why he did it,” Ava says. “And yet they’re both wrong and they’re both right, and that’s what’s going on in the scene. My goodness, this is only the beginning of what’s going to happen with them. It’s going to be quite something to watch. Violet and Hollywood, yeah, some hard times ahead.”