Viola Davis and Cicely Tyson were honored Wednesday night at the National Domestic Workers Alliance for their performances as maids in the movie "The Help." The organization credits the actresses with bringing the lives of domestic workers into the national conversation.

Davis, whose mother and grandmother were both maids, said she appreciates the controversy stirred up by "The Help."

"Whatever movie I do, it becomes a political statement," she said. "I welcome that. I think it creates discourse."

Davis will be playing the late Barbara Jordan, a civil rights leader and the first black Southern woman elected to Congress, in an upcoming biopic.