Viola Davis: ‘I took my wig off because I no longer wanted to apologize for who I am’

Years ago, Viola Davis was lonely and she prayed that God would send her a man. She had specific criteria, though. She asked God to give her a “big black man from the South who looked like a football player, who already had children, who maybe had been married before.” Less than a month later, God delivered and Viola has been married to Julius Tennon ever since. It’s an incredibly sweet story, and Viola has told it a few times before. She told the story last year and some of you thought she was racist (!!) for requesting a black man instead of just “a man” I guess. But whatever, that’s not racism, that’s just knowing you have a type and if you’ve gotten to the point where you’re praying for a man, you might as well be specific with God. Anyway, Viola tells the story again in the new issue of Essence, and she talks about how she doesn’t want to wear wigs in public anymore:

Viola Davis’s husband is a pretty special guy. In fact, says the actress, he was heaven sent.

The Oscar nominee for The Help tells October’s Essence, on newsstands Friday, that she prayed for a certain type of man to come into her life – and then he did.

“I asked for a husband who was emotionally available, someone who was older, someone who maybe had a family before,” she says. “I like older men. Someone from the South. Someone who loves God more than he loves himself.”

And then, voila!

“I met my husband three and a half weeks later, an ex-football player from Austin, Texas,” says Davis, 48. “On one our first dates, he took me to church.”

Davis and actor Julius Tennon were married in 2003. They adopted a daughter, Genesis, in 2011.

Davis has spoken before about how her husband has encouraged her not to wear her wigs outside her professional life – and says now that taking off the wig is a powerful act.

“I had to defend myself as an artist, but I found myself defending myself as a dark-skinned black woman in front of people who did not know my life,” she says. “I took my wig off because I no longer wanted to apologize for who I am.”

“There is not one woman in America who does not care about her hair, But we give it too much value. We deprive ourselves of things, we use it to destroy each other, we’ll look at a child and judge a mother and her sense of motherhood by the way the child’s hair looks. I am not going to traumatize my child about her hair. I want her to love her hair.”

[From Essence & People]

I love Viola. Really. I love that one of her man-requirements was “Someone who loves God more than he loves himself.” I love that she presented a list to her God and God was all “I got this.” As for the wig stuff – I love the way Viola looks without a wig. And I do think it’s a powerful thing, for a woman to own that part of who she is. I LOVE V!

In another part of the same Essence cover story, Viola talks about raising her daughter Genesis and how she wants to do things differently than her mother. She says, “My image of myself [when I was young] was in the mouths of young white kids calling me… ugly… and then going home to a mother who did not fully embrace her own beauty.”

Photos courtesy of WENN, Essence.

 

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193 Responses to “Viola Davis: ‘I took my wig off because I no longer wanted to apologize for who I am’”

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  1. LadyRay says:

    Love this lady. Plus, she looks so much better without the wig on the red carpet.

    I saw her speak at the Simmons Conference this year and she was truly amazing. I hope she gets more roles that are more modern. I am so tired of black actors only get shine when they do historical roles. There is more to black people than just our history.

    • NerdMomma says:

      I agree that she looks better without the wigs. They overshadowed her face, and with her natural hair, her face “pops” and it’s really all about her eyes. To each her own, of course, but low-maintenance always is a good look to me.

    • NerdMomma says:

      Also, I agree with you about movie roles…I think of something like Boomerang which was a fantastic movie that was relatable to all audiences, and race wasn’t primary to the story. I wish that people of all colors and women could be cast in roles that aren’t so defined by their race or gender.

    • Mindy says:

      There are plenty of contemporary black films being made. Films that could be cast brown or even white. But those films dont do well at all. As a result they are invariably low budget.

      I wonder if Violas best bet at getting away from the Suffering themes is TV. That seems to be opening up, see Jada Pinket with Hawthorne or Kerry Washington with Scandal. Its an idea.

      • Yup, Me says:

        Actually, it’s often the other way around, those films don’t get the financing and then their lower budgets contribute to their poor showings in theaters (if they even get into theaters.)

        There is a perception that white people won’t go see “black” films, just as there is a perception that men won’t go see “women’s” films. Consequently, we have a plethora of Michael Bay- type garbage being greenlit (complete with the repetitive images of dicks swanging and everything exploding) and a derth of other great and diverse story telling that gets the financial support.

    • Bijlee says:

      She’s in Enders game (yeah yeah yeah movie with all the controversy) this year. Yeah just as a supporting character but I for one was super excited to hear that she was gonna be in it.

    • Parsley says:

      Well said! How about a role that’s just because she’s an amazing talent?

      It reminds me of the actor who plays Bailey in Grey’s Anatomy. Originally they intended that part to go to a tall blonde type, but Chandra Wilson blew them away and she was the total opposite in physicality. I couldn’t see anyone else doing that part any better.

  2. T.Fanty says:

    She’s SUCH a beautiful woman, and looks so much better without the wigs. In that last picture, she looks sensational.

    And hair is a huge issue in African American culture, right? I saw the Chris Rock documentary and was shocked.

    • Zimmer says:

      I love her natural hair and you’re right she wears that turquoise dress well! Good for her!

    • phillkatt says:

      Yes, it still is. I went natural a few years okay and got some nasty looks and ignorant comments. Some stupid white man said “straighten your phuckin’ hair.” I walked by one old bum, a black man, who said “nappy hair” in a nasty way. But I don’t give a shite about what strangers think. I just ignored them.

      I think that women of whatever color should have the right to wear their hair they want, but I wish more black women would discover the beauty of natural hair. And its NOT hard to take care of!

      • Tiffany :) says:

        I am so sorry to hear that those things were said to you! I think natural hair is beautiful.

      • guilty pleasures says:

        Wow, there are some ig’nant people out there. My daughter went natural a couple of years ago after many years of weaves, straighteners and loss of almost all of her hair. She looks like (and IS) a stunning young woman and is complemented almost daily on her beautiful hair.
        I wear mine natural too, also after a few years of HUGE money spent on stupid processes and weaves, I feel so much better!
        Hat’s off (lol) to Viola and all of the other women who are embracing their natural beauty.

      • NerdMomma says:

        Gasp! I cannot believe anyone felt they had the right to comment on your hair, particularly a white man telling you what to DO with it. He sounds like a man with some serious issues.

      • Mirna says:

        Chile, I’ve gotten some doozies too since I went natural in 1999. My “favorites” are when my white boss told me my hair was very “Buckwheatian” and asked whether I could make my hair like Vanessa Williams; and the other is when a white woman at work said that she was giving me a heads up about our boss coming to the office the next day so I could style my hair in a “more professional” manner. Ripped both of them new ones. But I’ve gotten comments from black folks, too. Now, I am unabashedly natural: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHV_tM5NRzY

      • Masque says:

        People can be so awful. Good for you for not sinking to their level.

        Also, I have no doubt your natural hair is lovely so clearly the naysayers are nitwits. :)

      • Masque says:

        @Mirna I just watched your video and am absolutely baffled at anyone not liking your natural hair. Even pulled into a ponytail it looks soft and curly and I’m sure it’s even prettier when it is loose.

        Also, on a sidenote, I enjoyed the video and discussions. You ladies are what I wish The View/The Talk was like. Smart, thought provoking and funny.

      • Lady Satan says:

        That is awful! I think natural hair is beautiful, and I also think that women should be able to wear their hair however they damn well want, straight, curly, natural, gray, dyed rainbow or shaved off!

        As long as what you are doing isn’t hurting you or anyone else – do what you damn well please. F*ck the haters. :)

      • Mirna says:

        @Masque – thank you so much for your kind words. Getting intelligent programs on the air is so difficult! I’m glad you enjoyed The Opinion and please feel free to share the clip.

      • Kath says:

        Wow – I clicked on this story to leave a comment along the lines of “I wish more black women would wear their natural hair”, and to ask why they don’t. I guess I got my answer – sheesh.

        I’m so sick of this straight hair fascism. I’m white but have ridiculously curly, frizzy, uncontrollable hair. Apparently surveys have shown that people think curly hair looks “unprofessional”. Whatever.

        So, it’s not just black women. But I wish women of ALL races would wear their hair naturally.

    • nikko says:

      I’ve been wearing my hair natural for over years and I have never gotten a negative remark on my hair by white people. They compliment me the most, in fact a guy I dated loved my hair. A lot of Black men are turned off to black women w/ natural hair. They prefer the straight long hair real or not. I’ve never been one to wear weaves and I love wearing my hair in a natural.

    • nc_magnolia says:

      T.Fanty, I think a woman’s head of hair is a huge issue any culture, not just African-American.

      As a thirty-plus white chick, I know I nearly lost my mind when I went through health-related hair loss several years ago. For no decent reason whatsoever, I felt deeply embarrassed and ashamed, just absurd vanity. Unfortunately, this is an age where we have women in their 40′s-50′s running around with pre-owned, glued in hair that flows over their titays, completely defying the natural aging process for most ordinary women. Not having a full head of lustrous locks (RHO style) results in hair-shaming in some parts of the U.S. Complete crap! I hope Viola starts a trend that results in hair extensions going out of vogue altogether.

      Love Viola, her warmth and spirituality has always resonated with me. I heart her even more for going au naturel!

    • Kate says:

      yes it is, I wear my hair natural and the majority of the compliments I get are usually from people who aren’t black.

      • jaye says:

        I went natural in 2003 and I mostly got compliments. Of course, there was the occasional stupid comments, but for the most part it was positive. I’ve yet to come across a black man who hasn’t loved my hair. My sweetie is always touching it and saying how soft it is. More and more black women are embracing their natural hair. Almost every woman in my immediate family said “they couldn’t go natural” back in 2003 when I did. Now almost all of them are natural. Progress is being made.

    • jaye says:

      Yes it still is, and it’s a sad thing that we put so much value on it and tear each other down because of hair. Viola is right about people judging a woman’s parenting because of the way their child’s hair looks. I remember when Gabby Douglas was competing in the Olympics and the “urban” blogs comments were disgusting…and all regarding her hair. What was the girl supposed to do, go for a perm and a full weave while she was competing at the freaking Olympics?!! It’s shameful.

  3. squirrelbait says:

    she looks gorgeous on the cover, great shot!

  4. truthSF says:

    “There is not one woman in America who does not care about her hair, But we give it too much value. We deprive ourselves of things, we use it to destroy each other, we’ll look at a child and judge a mother and her sense of motherhood by the way the child’s hair looks. I am not going to traumatize my child about her hair. I want her to love her hair.”

    Can I get an A-FREAKING-MEN!!!!

    Now as far as her wishing for a perfect man…i’m going to follow her lead and ask God for IDRIS ELBA!!!

  5. Lflips says:

    Good for her, I wish more of us could make an effort to pick up that attitude.

  6. Norman Bates' Mother says:

    I love her too. Racism and prejudices are still a problem but people make it even worse with their hypersensitivity. If I was a believer like her and I would ask God for a tall, lanky, ginger man – would that be considered discrimination against all short, chubby, non-ginger and due to that non-white men around the world? Ridiculous. She is a great actress and seems like a very smart, well-spoken woman. I’m glad that she can finally feel good about herself and her hair.

    • cloud&feather says:

      I don’t get you. The ones who are “hypersensitive” are sometimes the ones who experience it the most. That would be a natural reaction.

      I hate it when people bring up valid concerns about racism and then here comes the word “hypersensitive” as if it just can’t possibly be true and people are just “thinking about it too much” or even making it up.

      If you’re attracted to a specific type of man, and that’s what you really want, either you’ll get it eventually or have to compromise somewhere (or end up alone, which is a big deal for some, not for others, etc.).

      • Norman Bates' Mother says:

        How is calling a person racist for having looks-related preference about their partner a valid point about racism? I don’t call hypersensitive people who experience racism, those who really suffer from it but those people who see racism where there is none. A woman can prefer dating a black man over a white man and reverse, without being racist. If she said – God give me a big black man because all white man are ugly losers and wussies, yes that would be racist but all she said is that she is attracted to black men and she was hoping to marry one. Plus I was talking about this particular situation where she was allegedly discriminating white men – how in the world is this a group as you said – who experiences racism the most and has a right to be sensitive (I’m white myself)?

      • cloud&feather says:

        What the heck?
        I’m talking about what you said right here: “Racism and prejudices are still a problem but people make it even worse with their hypersensitivity.” and just that thing only.

        How can people make it “even worse” being hypersensitive, yet somehow people who are actually racist aren’t the ones who make it worse? If you simply meant seeing racism where there is none, then saying hypersensitive is too broad. It covers those with knee-jerk reactions and those who are met with “it must be in your head” when it actually occurred.

        I never said you or Davis or anyone else was a racist. I made a separate point about preferences.

      • Norman Bates' Mother says:

        But I was commenting under this particular text and I was simply adding my point to the words written by Kaiser (“some of you thought she was racist (!!) for requesting a black man instead of just “a man” I guess. But whatever, that’s not racism, that’s just knowing you have a type and if you’ve gotten to the point where you’re praying for a man, you might as well be specific with God.”) and my entire comment was about people who called Viola racist and about similar situations of hypersensitivity among those people and not about racism in general. You took one sentence out of context and put offensive words in my mouth.

        I’m not a native speaker (which is probably obvious from my bad english) and I might have used the wrong words here but I didn’t write all people who talk about racism are too sensitive, I know racism is a big problem – I wrote about those people who called Viola racist or those people who call others racist when there is no racism i.e. when someone dislikes a person with other skin color even if the reason is not race-related, or those people who would call you racist for having only white or only black people in your team/band even if that’s because those people happened to be best qualified.

        Those false racism-claims detract from the real issues and might make a problem worse like with feminism. Feminism is great and should be cultivated the same way as racism is wrong and should be eliminated but feminism is already considered a bad word because of those loud “feminists” who thought the mainstream crowd that feminism is not about equality but about hating man, marriage and the idea of having children. Internet is full with comments about how feminism is bad, even from women. Similar situation is slowly happening with a problem of racisms. People see the flood of false racism claims like this and say this is a proof that real racism doesn’t exist and it’s all in people’s heads. I’ve seen those coments on popular websites, I’ve heard it on tv.

      • cloud&feather says:

        If you say so.
        I’ll chalk it up to you being a non-native speaker because I took nothing out of context nor did I put any words in your mouth. I said using the word “hypersensitive” is too broad (for the reasons I stated) and it is. That is not offensive nor is it out of context.

  7. Maya Memsaab says:

    I have Alopecia and have had no scalp or body hair since, well, forever. The incessant, cruel bullying (which usually came from adults) plus faux concern from complete strangers. I’ve had total strangers ask me nonchalantly ” Are you a boy or a girl?”,.”Do you have cancer” etc. Thanks to not having vestigial fur on top of my had, I spent most of my adolescence clinically depressed. As a kid, I just thought I looked a bit different. It took the concerted effort of a superficial, gender normative Indian society to make me feel inadequate.

    At 21, I finally stopped wearing wigs/ hats. Now I shave off the little fuzz I’ve got and step out with my personal reflective surface :-D

    My point is, wig or no wig is a personal choice. No rights or wrongs there. Whatever feels best to you. We just need to stop being, as a society, narrow minded and superficial.

    • Diana says:

      I wish that I had half of your wisdom and sense of security. You are only 21 and own your confidence and embrace your beauty. You go girl!!!

    • Masque says:

      Bless you, your hard won confidence and your all around awesomeness!

    • Fuzzysnark says:

      You had me at “vestigial fur” :) :) :) hilarious

    • lucy2 says:

      I have a friend with a young daughter going through the same thing – I hope she has your confidence and strength!

      I feel the same way – do what makes you happy, not what everyone else wants you to do. If that’s going natural, awesome. If it’s wearing great wigs, awesome.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      You sound so wise for 21! I am inspired by your strength! :)

    • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

      Ditto on what these guys said. You strike as a very special individual with a lot of hard won wisdom that belies your age. Blessings to you and to your future.

    • Louminary says:

      Just wonderful, I really admire and respect you for this.
      People always forget the obvious, its how you FEEL about yourself that dictates how you look. If you are brimming with confidence it shines through.
      If you are brimming with confidence AND have a non typical look, you are incandescent! First of all the unique look catches people’s eye, it’s great to stand out from the often dull norm. I imagine women look on you with admiration and envy (for knowing they’d never have the balls to look like you and be confident about it!)

    • Penny says:

      Maya, thank you. I am pro-choice as well. I have seen many people take the approach of shaming you into conformity – the pro natural side to judging me for extensions OR the pro straight side judging me when I wear my hair ‘wild’. There are also the hair length fascists who criticize hair for being too short or long for their taste or even too in between. Then I love the hair fullness or thickness or coarse vs silky fine yay & nay sayers: the anti silks think I subscribe to Caucasian beauty ideals while the anti coarses believe I don’t know how to brush or comb hair and unprofessional… The list goes on and on.

      For years women have been socialized into growing hair long to exude feminity, as we all know those who choose to wear short hair can and do have their sexuality called into question, being characterized as dykes or butch or lesbians…Yet inspite of some many supporters & detractors of whatever style you choose, the biggest supporter of your choice should be YOU. Those who cheer you on, and I mean truly root for you should be doing it not because you represent their preference but rather because you embrace your choice.

    • Kath says:

      Holy crap, people can be horrible. It never ceases to amaze me that GROWN ASS ADULTS feel entitled to comment about a complete strangers’ appearance in any way, shape or form.

      Anyhoo – brava!

    • jaye says:

      You GO! We should NOT be defined by what is on top of your head.

  8. RocketMerry says:

    Gorgeous, gorgeous woman, and so classy!
    Love her.

  9. nell says:

    i think she looks way better this way !!! Beyonce should be inspired from her instead of wearing wigs permanently

  10. Ag says:

    She’s so beautiful, it’s unreal. They make a lovely couple and look so happy. :)

  11. winnei says:

    I hear her. I am white with quite pale skin. All through my teens and 20s I would tan or fake tan before I wore shorts or bathers or whatever. But it began to feel like self-hatred. I threw out the potions and lotions and bronzing powders and decided to tell society to take a hike and just be me.

    • Masque says:

      I quit tanning back in the 90′s and the backlash against pale skin (from white people!) was astounding. I was constantly called pasty and sickly andhounded to “get a tan”.

      So imagine my delight when a man once told me I look like Wonder Woman due to my dark hair and fair skin and a month later a coworker said I looked like Snow White (and she meant it in a good way)! After twenty years of negativity about my paleness someone finally said something nice.

      So kudos to Viola and every woman who does her own beauty thing! And for women who still fell trapped beautywise, I hope you break free and learn to let YOUR beauty shine.

      • Sloane Wyatt says:

        Masque, fingerbanger was pretty clear about bringing up the added racially tinged baggage that a Black woman carries compared to that carried by a white woman’s beauty issues. Historically and today, ‘good hair’ is equated to Caucasian hair.

        “While I sympathize with you, what you have gone through can’t compare with what a Black person who has been been made fun of insulted or told they were too dark.”

        Fingerbanger was open and respectfully saying let’s not compare apples to oranges just because they’re both fruits.

        *Edit* This comment was meant to be added at the end of this thread. Oops.

      • FingerBinger says:

        @Masque Reread what I said. I never said you had it better or worse. The experiences are just different and you can’t compare them that’s all.

      • MegG says:

        Masque +1 Forever told to tan awell. Could you imagine the backlash if you told a black person to change their skin?!

    • fingerbinger says:

      No offence,but being called ugly because of your dark skin sounds much more traumatic than someone telling you that you need a tan. At one time pale was a sought after look. Women used powder,etc to make themselves lighter. Many brown and black people have gone as far as to bleach their skin to make themseleves lighter. While I sympathize with you, what you have gone through can’t compare with what a Black person who has been been made fun of insulted or told they were too dark. Bravo Viola!

      • Thinker says:

        Too light, too dark. Different ends of the same problem. Girls should be told they are beautiful as they were made, not sold toxic products to try and temporarily change themselves while compromising their health. This commenter was relating her own insecurities with skin tone to Viola’s story, and was totally on par with the comparison.

        In fact, I would say that skin bleaching and tanning beds are more similar than they are different. Both are temporary superficial and dangerous solutions to a self-perceived skin tone deficiency, and both are likely to cause detrimental effects to a woman’s health in the long term.

      • Side-Eye says:

        Are we really gonna sit here and play the my suffering is more important game, Finger? Seriously? As a person who dealt with shame because of her dark skin when she was younger, this kind of who has it worse crap really pisses me off. Being made fun of for something you can’t help sucks, PERIOD. in fact that woman’s story sounds very similar to my own.

      • fingerbinger says:

        @Side The standard of beauty has always been a white woman. So being made fun of for being too white doesn’t sound like the same thing as being fun of for being too dark. Being called “casper” sounds a lot more pleasant than being called “blackie”.

      • T.C. says:

        Seriously Finger you are going to sit here and judge “which is worse” then you have no empathy to anyone outside your own race. Tanning beds cause cancer eventually to people with really fair skin who continue to use them. We no longer live in the 1800′s where fair, none tanned skin is the standard of beauty. Those days are long gone. Every White celebrity has a tan or spray tan. I have seen really pale girls being made fun of. It doesn’t matter what your skin color is if you are not in the MAINSTREAM (tan skin for whites, light skinned or mixed for Blacks) you experience trauma growing up thinking there is something wrong with you for how nature made you.

        I think you need to re-read what Viola said and actually understand what she is saying. Being yourself can apply to Whites, Asians, Indians, Hispanics as well as Blacks. Each group tries to assimilate to what fashion magazines say they should look like. It’s unhealthy.

      • fingerbinger says:

        I don’t I think I said one was worse than the other. Perhaps I implied it. My problem is equating being made fun of for being very pale to being very dark. They’re not the same thing. They’re just not.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        You did say one was worse than the other. You wrote “Being called “casper” sounds a lot more pleasant than being called “blackie”.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        It IS different, guys, sorry.

        Look, it’s incredibly hurtful to be called names because of your appearance-whether it’s your skin tone, your hair texture, your nose, your weight, whatever. It’s hurtful and cruel.

        But ultra-pale people were never told they can’t use the same water fountain as others because they were “too pale” or that they had to sit in the back of the bus because they were “too pale”.

        You have to understand the difference between being mocked because of your skin color and being denied BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS because of your skin color. Black people were mocked to be sure but additionally, they were denied the same rights as others simply because they have a darker complexion. That’s on a whole other level, that becomes an indelible part of your psyche, destroys your soul-it’s humiliation and denigration on an entirely different scale, guys. You can’t just separate black people’s current experiences from American history—every time they get mocked for their skin tone, it’s a reminder of that, a reminder of being “less than” white folk.

        Most of us have been made fun of during our lives. When I was younger I was teased mercilessly for different reasons–it sucks, but you get through it, you learn from it and it makes you a stronger person. It’s hurtful, but to equate teasing with systemic and institutional discrimination is missing the mark IMO.
        It doesn’t have to be a contest of “who was hurt more”. Everyone is entitled to their feelings and everyone has a valid, justified reason to feel the pain that comes with being made fun of—but it’s important to acknowledge the difference between being bullied and being a victim of racism.

      • Sloane Wyatt says:

        I’m with fingerbinger and Kitten on this one.

        When you’re pulled over for driving while pasty, when you’re passed over being hired or promoted because you’re pale, when you’re catcalled daily with ugly racist names just for going about your business as a person with alabaster skin, then you can compare your psychic damage to a person of color.

        Otherwise, you are experiencing the deep hurt of appearing “different” from a preconceived norm that comes with being considered too heavy, too skinny, too old, too tall, too short, too freckled, or too pallid, which does not compare at all with racism.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        I think their are differences, but I think those differences are most striking in regards to civil rights, discrimination, legal justice, etc….

        When it comes to beauty (as I think Viola was talking about beauty standards), I think women of all shapes, sizes, and colors can experience things that cause them not only great hurt, but can affect their sense of self worth. A lot of that has to do with how society equates a woman’s worth with beauty. For some women, the negativity surrounding their appearance can be so intense and repeated that it has a huge impact on their lives, and I don’t think we should diminish that impact.

        If you are talking about the history of the black community in our country and our world, they have endured things that really have no comparison. But when it comes to being shamed for how a person looks, I think there are many different “types” of women that can relate. winnei’s original comment was about self-hate and how she identified with things that Viola said. I don’t think we should negate her comment and act like her pain didnt matter because of how it compares to others. We should celebrate the idea that a black woman and a white woman can find a place of common ground, and hope that together we can help society improve.
        Time for a round of kumbaya? ;)

      • Masque says:

        @fingerbinger At no point in my comment did I suggest my experience was worse than someone else’s. Your comment and attitude are EXACTLY what Viola is fighting against. She, and the other commenters on this thread, is saying ALL people should embrace their beauty.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        @Tiffany-My point was that for many black people, being denigrated for their skin tone is so wholly intertwined with their experience with racism, that it’s really not something they can compartmentalize. That’s a luxury that most commonly belongs to white people.

        I made it clear in my comment that I wasn’t trying to diminish anyone else’s experience and of course, as women, we are all susceptible to the same societal criticisms and unrealistic expectations when it comes to our image. I was simply saying that the connotation and the significance that comes from black people being mocked for their color is very different than when a white person is mocked for their color, that’s all.

      • paranormalgirl says:

        I’m a pale, freckled white woman and not for one minute do I ever think I have heard or experienced the same negativity as one of my best friends, who happens to be a beautiful dark skinned Kenyan woman. she has been called vile names because of her skin color. The worst I’ve heard? “You need a tan.”

      • nicegirl says:

        I will not compare suffering, it seems invalidating to others, to say the least.

        I am super duper fair skinned. In my childhood and teens, I tried everything under the sun (LOL) to get a tan and fit in with what I believed was an accepted form of beauty. I was unable to achieve it, in the eyes of many.

        Still, to this day, I receive rude remarks regarding my ‘pale’ skin. Folks tell me I look sickly, often, people I do not know find themselves unable to keep their comments to themselves. Even in professional settings I have received hurtful comments, and they have come from all sorts of people with all different types of skin.

        A few years ago, I was working as a background extra on a tv show, and was cast as a ‘tropical vacationer’. I wore a short, strapless floral dress (as chosen by wardrobe dept.)The job lasted almost 5 days. A man cast as a background uniformed ‘security officer’ was truly offended by the color of my skin. He continuously made rude comments disguised as jokes about the color of my skin, loudly, in front of over 100 people, each time. To get to the restroom, I had to pass where he sat, and he made it a point to make sure everyone knew I was “too white – disgusting – why did they let her wear that? she is gross, etc”. It was hard to deal with, although I had been through it all for so many years before, I was stunned to have such prejudice thrown at me in a work situation (although I should have expected it! duh!). Finally, I responded, “Dude, give it up. They called me “mayonnaise legs” and “moontan” in junior high. Can’t you come up with something better?” and tried to pretend I was laughing it off, but I will always remember. I did not make any comments about the color of his skin – I WOULD NEVER. I love. Even this past summer, my (white) fake tanned to super dark neighbors offered me free coupons to their spray tan place because they did not like looking at me so pale at the pool. I am not trying to compare my experiences or pain AGAINST anyone else’s, but to invalidate the racism and prejudice felt about skin colors (too light or too dark, or any such BS in between) seems unjust and wrong. We all (should) feel it, and in the end, we all lose.

    • phillkatt says:

      Good for you. There’s nothing wrong with having very white skin, or very dark skin,or skin that’s somewhere in between. it’s what’s on the inside that counts!

    • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

      I think (think, I can’t be sure) that what finger is saying is that while women of all shades engage in some seriously dangerous practices in order to get closer to the society’s ideal, there isn’t a history of say, lynching for being too pale. And while no one likes having their looks disparaged, there’s no way to deny that we’re generally still living in a ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ society.

      And (hope I’m getting this sort of right), when people tan, it’s interpreted as seeking out a ‘sun-kissed’ look, while skin bleaching is frequently practiced as a means of self-negation. Whatever the level of paleness, it still fits within the ‘ideal’ and whatever the trait it is that is shamefully perceived as a ‘flaw’ can be quickly and easily ‘remedied’, even if it’s not such a good idea to pursue it. And if I’m getting it right, the case for some of people of colour who lighten their skin is that they adopt behaviours and lifestyles that seek to mitigate what they are in pursuit of something they can never be. Some of it is cultural, but what is universal is that someone or something is actively telling us to be something that doesn’t exist. It is pretty strange that in some cultural brew that has many, many dark-skinned people, for whatever reason light skin is and has been prized. And that’s kind of messed up.

      Anyway, that’s my take on what was said. finger can kindly correct me if I screwed that up, which I’m sure I did.

      • FingerBinger says:

        You got what I was trying to say. I wasn’t being dismissive of their feelings or what they’ve gone through. All I was saying is that being told to go tan or being made fun of because you’re too pale is not the same thing as a Black person being made fun of, picked on, and/or singled out because their skin is too dark. White people have never had to deal with slurs like Sambo or pickaninny. White people have never had to live with caricatures that are in large part based on skin color. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pickaninny Certain posters misconstrued my comments, that I meant one was worse than the other, when I really had an issue with the comparison.

      • paranormalgirl says:

        That’s exactly how I took what fingerbinger was saying.

    • Jackie Jormp Jomp (formerly Zelda) says:

      I’m with fingerbanger and kitten. And if you don’t agreee, google “white privilege”. The “It sucks to be so pale, too!” arguments make you all sound like assholes.

  12. Frida_K says:

    She’s beautiful and her husband is certainly one fine-looking man. They look great together.

    And I love her hair in its natural state.

  13. Elodie says:

    Gah! Such a gorgeous woman! I remember Fassbender walked passed behind her at the GG and was gushing haha!

    And I can’t get over the Oscar roundtable when Clooney totally diverted the serious matter she was about to develop, similar to this interview, Charlize well intentioned yet ignorant comment and bam Clone-Me swooped in…urgh such a narcissistic twerp!

    • Dana says:

      Yep! I hated that moment! They totally ruined her interesting discussion on black women in the industry…

    • Side-Eye says:

      I was already indifferent to Clooney but that was the moment I started to actively not like him. Michael was the only one who seemed to get it.

      • T.C. says:

        I don’t think Fassy got it either since he was the one acting shocked that Black actresses still faced discrimination in Hollywood. I think everyone knows that by now. It made me wonder if he never had that discussion with his girlfriend Nicole. Maybe they liked to keep things positive but a man who dates only women of color shouldn’t need Viola Davis to school him on something that basic. Love the Fassdong but he lost some points.

      • Elodie says:

        @ T.C. actually if anything Fassbender wasn’t acting shocked, he was genuinely curious about what Viola Davis had to say thus tried to pass the mic back to her by asking that question, it was a nice move because when Charlize interrupted Viola right at that moment the convo started going all over the place, but alas his attempt at getting it back on tracks got swamped in the Clooney speech. And actually since he was dating Nicole B. at that time perhaps he was also curious about another woman and also veteran actress’ (compared to Nicole experience in Hollywood on that angle) opinion. Say in general, one may date women/men of colour, but one can’t learn everything about race issues with that one person they are dating only, it’s various and different experiences one after the other.

      • Side-Eye says:

        @Elodie–I think you’re spot on.

      • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

        That was how I took it. I don’t think that Fassbender was totally in the dark *don’t shoot* about the issues and what better an opportunity to expand his understanding than one in which he gets to hear from a veteran who has simply been around longer than the women he dates. She gets the race and age double whammy so why not sit at the foot of the master, so to speak. I think he was only one who had enough respect for the woman to not cut her off and apply some well-intentioned but ignorant, dismissive and frankly pretty rude spin and divert tactics and let the woman speak for herself.

  14. Kiddo says:

    She looks adorable. She doesn’t need a stinkin’ wig. So very pretty.

  15. Lem says:

    She looks 20 years younger-
    without the wigs

  16. Diana says:

    She is absolutely gorgeous inside and out. Love love love her!!

  17. Mo says:

    She is simply stunning inside and out. I love her natural hair. Whenever I see a black woman wearing her hair naturally I love it – I think it’s beautiful.

  18. Mar says:

    Good for her. I’m tired of everyone’s fake as s in Hollywood. All of the fake hair and butts and cheekbones and plastic surgery ( sorry KK comes to mind) I appreciate real women.

  19. Harpreet says:

    Well, I do think wigs are a personal choice, I mean, it is great she wears her hair natural now and loves it.

    But to each their own. She was trying to promote this message, but looking at the comments, it turns into..”Beyonce should take hers off too”.

    Live and let others live people.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      I think she’s gorgeous and talented and I respect her choice, but I agree with you that it’s to each her own. I understand that it’s vital for any woman to love herself the way she is, and if wearing a wig is coming from a place of insecurity, or feeling “less than” because of your hair, then that’s an issue that should be dealt with. But sometimes a girl just likes to change her hair.

      I think there’s a subtle pressure on black women to wear their hair natural. I’m white and I cover the gray in my hair and highlight the blonde and blow it out straight sometimes when it’s curly or frizzy. I only have one white friend who doesn’t change her hair in some way. I guess we’re all trying to conform to an expected standard of beauty somewhat. Why should we assume that a black woman who changes her hair feels bad about herself? Obviously, it was an issue for Viola, and she dealt with it head on, and I admire that. But I agree we have to be careful not to generalize and start shaming women for yet another reason.

      • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

        It can be and is rough out there whatever the choice. A few weeks ago, (I don’t remember in which state), a pastor went off on a rant about how women with weaves would be banned from the church. Now, he backed that up by saying that he comes across young attendees who pay for their hair and if there’s anything left, life.

        Bull. If he is actually interested in helping these women (which he isn’t, he’s just another dude who uses broke-ass excuses to shame women), why go about ‘helping’ them this way? Churches have guest speakers all the time, have libraries or can make reading lists, they have seminars outside of the church grounds, they offer courses–why not follow any of those avenues?

        And vanity is unique to women? You think women are the only ones who waste money on luxury items? How much does that suit cost? Those shoes, your flat screen television, your car, your mistress–how much does that cost and why should all the burden and blame be laid upon her heard *don’t shoot*?

        It’s really going both ways right now and black hair is all politics (in America). Yeah, truth time: It’s not Shangri-La in Canada for black women’s hair, but that reality means that we have some perspective from the comparison and, well…we might think it’s psychotic. Seriously, y’all are freaking nuts about it and when it comes to personal style, one’s own way is the only way.

        If there were no women’s bodies, what would politics look like?

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      Yeah I completely agree with you ladies.

      Some women might wear a wig to feel more comfortable or more attractive-why shame them for that? Whatever floats your boat you know?
      There is no “right” or “wrong” when it comes to how a woman dresses or styles herself, it’s a personal choice.

      That being said, I can’t stop staring at the pic of her in that turquoise dress. She is just stunning…

      • Virgilia Coriolanus says:

        I think it’s more that black women change their hair (straighten it) because they feel that straight hair is more desirable–at least in my limited experience.

        My little sister, who looks white w/a tan, but has long, curly, thick hair–that doesn’t lay straight/flat, wants to get her hair permed BECAUSE it doesn’t look like all the other girls’ hair at school.

        She feels this internal pressure (because everyone else likes her hair) to be like everyone else. My mom felt it too–but about ten years ago, she put dreadlocks in and they look great.

        I do agree that what you and the OP said is also right too–but not as prevalent. Like ever since my mom got her dreads put in, my grandma (who had really long, thick hair, but destroyed it w/perms) keeps asking my mom when she’s going to “take that mess out of her head”.

        It’s a complicated issue.

      • Tara says:

        Virgilia
        Boy is it ever complicated and I think especially so in the South. Good hair, bad hair, natural hair, processed hair, synthetic hair, extensions etc. there’s no wrong or right and either way someone will snark so women should do whatever makes them feel beautiful.
        But yes, I know lots of people who think the way your grandmother does. That is why I am so proud of my mom – she is very fair skinned and was always forced to wear her hair long and stick straight so she would more closely resemble white girls. But when she went away to college she embraced her own style and went natural. I think she had the world’s biggest afro, lol, and she was my very own Pam Grier :-)
        Do what makes you happy, ladies. Good for you Viola!

      • Virgilia Coriolanus says:

        @Tara

        Your mother and I must be related, because I am the same. If it wasn’t for my hair, people would automatically assume I am white—I have an afro too, but it’s a little more straight/wavy.

        But I think it was a lot harder for my grandma, as she’s in her late seventies right now–she grew up during the Depression, as a black woman who looked white, and to top that off was a quarter native american. So I think she felt the pressure even more–especially as all of her siblings look white as well. A few of them are blonde and blue eyed.

        That’s also why I think she married my grandfather, whose side of the family is very dark.

      • Tara says:

        Virgilia
        The coinkidinks is off the meter lol!
        My great grandmother was Irish, Scots, Native American and Black and was so white no one would risk adopting her. In those days and in rural NC a black man could be beaten or worse for walking around town with a “white” girl. Finally when she was 7 years old a very light skinned black couple adopted her. Unfortunately she was a classic “tragic mulatto” with long straight hair, green eyes and freckles – prevented by society from comfortably fitting anywhere. She eventually met and married my great grandfather, a dignified and poised gentleman with dark brown skin. She felt safe and loved for the first time in her life and she was happy for many years until he fied. Oddly enough, his family looked down on her, especially his six sisters and made her feel like she wasnt “black enough”
        My grandmother, on the other hand, looked hispanic and had silky, wavy hair. She never let my mother be seen without straightened hair and made her wear sun hats so she wouldnt brown in the summers. She approved of my mom’s friends if they were fair with “good” hair. Its all so surreal. These women internalized the messages they received as minorities and passed it down. That is why I am so glad my mom found the courage to break the cycle and teach her daughters that what God gave them is sublime regardless of what others think.
        I, myself, have experimented with about a hundred hairstyles from wigs to afros to cornrows. But thankfully, it is only out of boredom/experimentation and not a deep desire to achieve someone else’s ideal of beauty.
        Great post!

  20. Darlene says:

    I LOVE her. I’m white, but I have similar thought about my own daughter and her hair and embracing her beauty “as is”. I grew up in a Southern home where my mamma (and my grandmamma!) wouldn’t leave the house w/o a full face of makeup on. I grew up thinking that something was wrong with how I woke up in the morning, and for years, I wouldn’t even take the trash to the curb w/o having that fully made-up face. I could count on one hand the number of people who had seen me with a bare face.

    Then I had a daughter, and I thought long and hard about what my mom “taught” me with her actions and how I feel about it today. I made/make a point of being “as is” with her in public, and never making comments about how I’m “not my best” or something or “not pretty”. I let her take my picture with no makeup and I try to keep my chin up and smile.

    Now, my daughter’s hair is very short, and she doesn’t like to brush it (ever, which is one of the reasons it’s so short). The other day we were at my parent’s and my mom said she wouldn’t leave the house unless my daughter “did something with herself” to make her hair look better. She brushed it, but it was still all standing up.

    Later, my mom expressed real concern that my daughter was going to school “unkempt”. I told her it was OK and that my husband and I were OK with our daughter “just being herself” and that she didn’t have to “look like a perfect ‘pretty girl’ each day”.

    It’s a very hard cycle to break, no matter your race.

    I just love V and I love her messages of self-love and of modeling good things for your daughters, in particular.

    • lucy2 says:

      Your daughter and Viola’s daughter are lucky girls – they are being taught to value what matters – character, integrity, self-worth, intelligence, etc, over the superficial.

    • Khm says:

      Amen Darlene. My family is the same way. My aunt is 65 years old and still talks about one day getting a “boy like body” and my 85 year old grandmother thinks that if she gets Latisse for her eyelashes that she will be able to snag a new husband. She was devastated when I told her that she wasn’t going to get another husband because all of the men in her desired age range were already dead.

      They were devastated when I quit coloring my hair, quit the fake tan, and removed the fake nails. How would I find a husband! How would I keep the husband I did find! What would people think? Um, they would think that I was a pale brunette with short nails.

      I feel so much better about myself now,. I look I the mirror and see me, not an attempt at a someone else’s “more perfect” version of me.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        You told your grandmother she would never find a partner in life because they were all dead? Wow. I think maybe you need to look past the mirror a little bit.

      • Tara says:

        Hey, don’t crush your nana’s dreams! I hope she embraces her inner cougar and lives happily ever after :)

      • Sloane Wyatt says:

        You probably don’t know it, but there are a lot of senior dating websites out there. Tell Nana about http://www.seniormatch.com/ and http://seniorfriendfinder.com/.

        I know for a fact Grams can find love.

      • Khm says:

        Oh my! My grandmother has a boyfriend and has been using online dating services since my grandpa died fifteen years ago. She’s just very ill and morbidly obese now and is having a hard time reconciling this with the past version of herself. I told her that all the men were dead after she spent years complaining about having to share her boyfriend with his family (and other women) and not being able to find a new boyfriend. Once I explained to her the demographical and physical challenges she was facing (a lot more women than men and the few men that are out there want younger, healthy women to have Viagra sex with), she realized what she was up against. It was more of a discussion to manage expectations than anything else.

        My grandma isn’t the sweet, touchy feely, cookie baking type of grandma. She’s mean, drinks too much, curses like a drunk sailor on leave, and I love her. We have very open and direct communication. One day she described to me in detail my grandfathers anatomy. My ears are still bleeding.

  21. j.eyre says:

    I love what she has to say about self-image and that she backs it up. I find her lovely.

    I still covet that turquoise dress in the last picture, although I would need her figure to look that good in it.

  22. Jennifer12 says:

    You go, girl- love Viola.

  23. DeltaJuliet says:

    She looks absolutely gorgeous with her natural hair. Love how you can truly focus on that face of hers. Beautiful.

  24. Maria says:

    Viola is perfection to me.

    I love her honesty about racism in Hollywood and the positive image she puts out about loving yourself.

  25. MAC says:

    I love her. I had no idea how much certain women were spending on their fake hair until my friend told me about herself and our other friends. tThey were going into New York City and spending hundreds of dollars and a lot of head pain to sit in a chair for six hours to have long hair. I was amazed I did not know that. She was saying the head pain lasted for days. I thought wow that is a lot for beauty.

  26. GiGi says:

    The world needs more Viola Davises. I love to see women embracing their natural hair, especially women in public/positions of power. Natural hair is so beautiful and versatile it doesn’t need to be a “problem” to be covered up all the time.

    My 3 year old is Black and even with extremely limited exposure to pop culture, she already wants her hair to be “like Beyonce’s” – which kind of breaks my heart. But we style her hair in so many ways and teach her that her hair is beautiful and that taking care of it is our special time together, not a burden or difficulty.

    I’m not here to wig shame – at all. I really think women can and should chose for themselves how they want to appear. It’s just a wonderful thing to be able to show little girls that natural hair doesn’t have to be hidden.

    • Virgilia Coriolanus says:

      I’m going to assume you’re white, so the fact that you know how to do your kid’s hair is awesome!

      I live in a place where a LOT of black guys (mostly college students) make babies w/white women (and I point it out, because the only mixed race couple I’ve seen where I live-besides my parents-, is the man is black, the woman white)—and they can’t do their kid’s hair. At all!

      My sister used to do hair for this one little girl, whose mom was a hairdresser. My sister would braid it, the mom would leave it in for a few weeks, and the mom would unbraid half of it after a few weeks-comb it out, then a few weeks after that she’d take the rest out–and bring her back to my sister.

      Not once did she ask my sister to teach her how to braid her daughter’s hair.

      And this other hairdresser I know, who has a black daughter, says that her daughter hates it when she fluffs out her afro–so I get you on the Beyonce thing.

      • GiGi says:

        I’m actually Native (so my hair is crazy straight) but I have several Black nieces/nephews/cousins. My daughter was adopted and her hair is 4C all the way. It’s no joke. But I love fixing it for her. She has yarn braids right now, but we do cornrows and twist outs – basically everything but a wash & go, lol!

        I had a sister in law whose daughter is Black and she refused to do anything with her hair. Finally I just started doing it so the kids would stop teasing her. That all ended as soon as I asked the mother to come learn a few tips (I’m talking basic in between styling maintenance, not even a big deal). She stopped letting me do her hair altogether. Thankfully my brother in law divorced her and started taking his daughter to have her hair braided up. The mom still refuses to have a thing to do with it – some people are just crazy!

      • Virgilia Coriolanus says:

        My cousin married a guy whose ex wife was like your ex sister in law. She wouldn’t do her kid’s hair at all–and all of them are black.

        So my cousin has to do it, otherwise the girl goes around looking like an orphan.

        I mean I’m not good with doing my own hair, which is why I just got it permed for the first time. But if I had a kid, I’d learn real quick.

  27. floretta50 says:

    Viola Davis is a very good actress, but sometimes people over think. It’s just hair when it grows out it’s dead. Today wigs, hair pieces, weaves are almost like clothing everybody wears them not just African Americans. Are certain clothing distinct to African Americans? I know a lot of African Americans who wear wigs , weaves, not because they are ashamed of their race or hair but for variety and convenience, performers to avoid hair damage from hot stage lights. Believe it or not underneath that wig, or weave they have natural long flowing hair because their natural hair is not being damaged by the sun or by chemical straightening. Viola Davis needs to get down off of her high horse.

    • fingerbinger says:

      “High horse”? You don’t get it. There’s a lot of history with Black women and hair. And it’s not just hair she’s talking about. It’s self image, skin color, acceptance. Sadly, you’ve completely missed the point.

    • Aubra says:

      Viola isn’t on a high horse like alot of women who talk too much about women who don’t wear their natural hair. She’s simply talking about HER experiences(s)and how she dealt with them. The problem lies in individuals who get all judgy judgy about another woman’s choice in how she wears/cares for her hair, they don’t believe the addage “it’s not what’s on your head, it’s what’s in it.” They’ll act as though they do, but they don’t, if they really believed that, you wouldn’t see people saying stuff like “*I* would like it if ________ would stop wearing wigs”…bordering on passive agrgressive which is a VERY undesireable trait in a person, expecially a woman.

    • phillkatt says:

      Floretta, I say what you are saying to a certain extent, but the fact is that many black women do not like the texture of their hair in its natural state. I work in an office with many black women and not a day goes by when I don’t hear someone talk about “bad” hair or “good hair” or panicking because their edges are getting nappy or their hair is “going back.” And these are college-educated women. Like I said, people can wear their hair the way they want — I have enough problems in my life without stressing over some stranger’s hair (for example, my son needs a heart transplant), but the fact is that many of us still look in the mirror in the morning and don’t like what we see.

    • Masque says:

      Yes, but you are looking at from a very modern perspective. When Viola was young and her self esteem was forming she was being told she was ugly because of her skin color and kinky hair. She didn’t have adequate support at home to overcome that intense negativity/harrassment so she grew up trying fit into an “acceptable” beauty regimen.

      At some point she realizes she is ALL THE ACTORS (<–my opinion, I'm sure she's much too humble to realize how talented she is) and goes off to Hollywood…….and is now up against bizarro form of The Great White Wall. So she tries even harder to be acceptable by Hollywood's standards and works her ass off to be the best actor she can be and to show Hollywood she can get the job done. A zillion years later she is finally recognized for her greatness. By now she has a young daughter and she wants to break the cycle and be a strong, honest example of self love and self acceptance so on the biggest (professional) night of her night instead of wearing a wig with straightened hair, she left off the wig and BLEW EVERYONE AWAY at how beautiful she looked with her natural hair.

      And then that tiny moment became A Thing and Viola is doing a wonderful job of carrying on the awesome of that moment by speaking about her experience and her hope that her daughter won't experience the soul crushing heartache that Viola suffered.

      So while wgis/weaves are common nowadays, they should be worn due to the preference of the wearer, not because of pressure to conform to someone else's idea of beauty. Sadly, criticism of dark skin and kinky hair still goes on (see several posts above by our fellow Bitchies) and Hollywood is still The Great White Wall but that wall has chips in it because of people like Viola.

      TL;DR? Viola got tired of conforming her beauty standards to idiots and didn't want to be a negative example to her daughter so she said "Eff this, I'm doing it MY way." and the world at large cheered and threw rocks at a stupid wall. :)

  28. truthful says:

    that statement is profound, strong and real, wow!! especially for someone who goes for acting roles and whose race can be/has been typecasted.

    I got a lil chill

    I know alot of women that feel as if she does and alot of women that have not come to terms w/it yet.

    I LOVED her performance in Doubt!!

    I think I’ll watch it after work w/ bottle of sake

  29. someChick says:

    I’m sorry I don’t understand why did she wear a wig (except for some movie parts)? She has nice hair. I’m not sarcastic, I just don’t understand. I understand the wig wearing for musicians (like gaga,beyonce), but why actors? Is there a medical reason for her? Btw, I’m from Europe and here wearing a wig is very rare, usually people with medical problems wear them.

  30. nicegirl says:

    I love this! I just read about a little girl who had to leave her school because her dreads were not in compliance with the school’s grooming policies, and I found it very sad. Wouldn’t it be great if her Mom sees this article about Viola and reads it to her little girl? YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL just the way you are!!

    Viola is just wonderful. I feel like she is an example of inner beauty shining outward.

  31. Lovereaction says:

    Happy for her that she finally had the strenght to go natural.

  32. mslewis says:

    Viola Davis is so so pretty and I’m happy she loves her natural hair. I wish more Black women in the entertainment field would do the same. I really just hate all the wigs these women wear (Jennifer Hudson, Beyonce, etc.) They don’t look good.

  33. snappyfish says:

    she is a wonderful actress and seems like a nice person, so mazel!

    also, so much better without the wig.

  34. Tara says:

    Wigs or no wigs I just wish I had Viola’s eyes!
    I love this story. I have friends who refuse to be seen without weaves or wxtensions, even on the weekends or vacation. They say they feel ugly and awkward without the fake, flowing locks. I look at their beautiful faces and that makes me sad for them. Not wig shaming at all here but accessories like hair, makeup and fashion are supposed to accentuate your beauty, not convince you that you possess it.

  35. F5 says:

    ..and then Octavia got the Oscar..
    awww.. lol

  36. Liberty says:

    Love her! She’s an amazing actress and so gorgeous.

  37. annaloo. says:

    Oh man.. reading that totally took ME back to when I, too, was teased by white kids and called ugly as a little girl for having ethnic features. Crazy time for anyone’s childhood.

  38. Jess says:

    I love her. And she is beautiful – especially without the wigs. Good for her!

  39. I Choose Me says:

    She’s gorgeous and even more so when she rocks her natural hair. I fully support any women but esp., black women to wear their hair however they damn please. Right now I’m rocking a short fade (before it was an afro) and I love that all I’ve got to do is put a little hair dressing/moisturizer on it, brush and go.

    Anyway, I love Viola and hope to see her in more movies. I’ll watch her in anything.

  40. Green Is Good says:

    Viola is a beautiful woman inside and out. Love her natural hair!

    She’s right about a lot of Women get wrapped up in their hair. I’m GUILTY of that big time.

  41. RHONYC says:

    The Universe / God is REAL!

    i did the same thing and 3 months later after i threw my list up my man showed up.

    7 1/2 years still going strong.

    and psssst….i had no f*cking idea you could stay in love with someone for so long. we are like teenagers to this day! :-D

    • Sloane Wyatt says:

      I prayed for my 2nd husband too. I figured God would understand if I asked for ‘Good in Bed’ as my number one priority , but now I joke I should have made my list longer:). The man is truly what I always wanted in life, even though I had no idea what love was.

      The universe does deliver, and I firmly believe that the very act of asking for what your innermost heart needs and wants is so powerful that it works for agnostics/atheists/insert beliefs here/anyone at all too!

    • paranormalgirl says:

      After my divorce, I threw it up to the universe that I didn’t JUST want a best friend, I wanted more. I wanted him to be smart, funny, patient, kind, passionate, and preferably with a British accent (I was flexible on that one, though.) OK, Idris Elba didn’t show up, but Jay did and now we’re married (eloped over last weekend.)

    • nicegirl says:

      GOD IS REAL! I know a few ladies who have prayed (with very specific intention) for and GOT THEIR MAN!

      I did it, too!

      IT TOTALLY WORKS!

      I learned from my friend Jaye MacMillan, who was a widow. Thank you, jaye!

    • RHONYC says:

      congratz y’all!

      LoA in full effect! :-D

  42. Bread and Circuses says:

    She is a freakin’ amazing actress, and I love knowing she’s just as great a human being.

  43. caitrin says:

    fingerbinger– Since being called ugly b/c you are “too dark” is attached to the terrible plague of racism, I will agree with you that, in this way, it probably is more chronically hurtful than being called ugly b/c you are a white person who is “too pale”—but the painful,drastic impact it has on a young girl’s self esteem is actually fairly similar, I think. As a very pale white woman (I’m Irish) I have been told I’m “ghastly” “ghoulish” “ugly” and “scary looking”, and that I NEED a tan, all throughout grade school and middle school. (And told I look sickly and badly need a tan to this day, by virtual strangers, where I live, in L.A.–where it seems all white people tan.) While I try to embrace my pale skin now (after years of leaving the house a sallow, supernatural shade of spray tanned orange)I grew up feeling trapped by my own skin and my terminal sense of my “ugliness”; I felt miserable in my own “lesser” skin. I don’t think this is too different from a very dark skinned black girl told she’s “ugly” for her darkness, since the outcome, the feeling of unhappiness and poor self esteem, is the same. However, since racism is a part of a black girl’s experience, as well, I would imagine it would be even harder to deal with. But being made to feel ugly and ashamed, no matter WHAT one’s color, transcends race, in a way, as well– in that it robs young girls of every color, sometimes chronically, of her sense of attractiveness and pride in herself, and often scars her much, much deeper than skin level.

    • lena80 says:

      I think you are digesting her comment incorrectly. Women of color are expected to conform to European standards of beauty (in the US at least). While White women have to put up with the ever evolving beauty standards (tan vs no tan, blonde vs brown, size 6 vs size 12), Women of color are expected to conform to whatever the European ideal of beauty is. ALL women deal with evolving beauty standards BUT White women do not have the added social pressure of racial identity issues, racial implications, etc.. on top of it. For example, blonde hair and blue eyes is seen as the “standard” and those traits are not (biologically) common amongst Black, Asian, Native, etc.. women. I hope that makes sense lol.

      • notsoanonymous says:

        Great response here, lena80. You summarized this very well.

        As a white, blonde, blue eyed woman, I have never walked a single day in the shoes of anyone other than me. My story is my own, as is the story of every other person out there – but my story never once involved anyone pointing at my skin or my hair and saying that I was a lesser PERSON as a result of my genetic background.

        I see a HUGE difference between the ‘tan’ comments brought up in this thread – and the forced conformity, hatred, and pure racism that still runs rampant in many parts of our country.

        It’s not a contest about who had it worse, because there is simply no comparison in the first place.

      • Winnie says:

        BUT doesn’t white as the template of power and thus beauty date back to european colonisation? It then continued with the rise of the USA as the global superpower. The people with the money and the power were white and thus looking white became desirable. The preference for pale and then tan skin is actually quite similar. Rich powerful people didn’t work in the fields and thus pale = beautiful. With industrialisation the poor became pale and the rich and powerful became tan from outdoor leisure activities and so tan = beatiful. In both cases we find beautiful that which symbolises wealth and power. Disclaimer: arguably some aspects of beauty are not signifiers of wealth/power but of health/fertility e.g. Symmetrical features and so on.

  44. Gabby says:

    I love her…but I would never let any man, even my husband suggest that I wear my hair a certain way.

  45. LaurieH says:

    I love to see a woman of color wearing natural hair. No weaves, no chemical straightening…. Viola looks chic and gorgeous.

  46. that'sno dogfoot says:

    As an older white woman who grew up in the 70′s and 80′s, when people were embracing their uniqueness instead of trying to look like everyone else, I say hurray. I love the afro and hope it makes a comeback. Looking like a Barbie doll is not as interesting as being an individual.

  47. Marybel says:

    The absolute cutest hair, no matter what race it’s on, is the little twisty spiky do that blacks can wear. Does that have a name? I’m jealous.

  48. dena says:

    The irony is that black women were wearing their hair natural back in the day but now due to all the wigs, perms and texturizers, a lot of black women don’t know how to properly care for and style their “natural hair.”

    I went natural back in ’98. For a while, I even had a GI Joe / GI Jane cut. (It was cute.) I have locs now. Anyway . . . I remember when I got my hair buzzed down, one of my friends said, “If you can do that, then you can do anything.” I still remember that like it was yesterday. And, when I had my hair like that, the guys (black, white, Puerto Rican and in-between (at work, on the street, and at home)) were very complementary, digging the cut, and/or otherwise trying to rub my head. It was tragically comedic. It really was. It also gave some of the women courage to either loosen their dependency on perms and/or to simply know that there was another path out there for them.

    Peace.

    Anyway . . . rock on, Viola and to all of you who are willing to tell society “F-U. I own my beauty. Not you.”

  49. Anna says:

    My friend is the niece of Viola. I’ve been to dinner at her house and she’s lovely. Nothing racist with having a type. I’m as white as they come and she treated me with great kindness. Her sister is married to a white man. No racist there, for sure.

  50. MsissTiss says:

    I lurk a lot, but i had to comment. I love this story and the very thought provoking comments from the ladies in this thread. I have been natural for about 6 years and my friends went apecrap at first. Best friends in the world teasing me about my “Afro-puffs”. They, to this day, don’t know how much that hurt.

    I’d like to direct you all to YouTube but I can’t link it. Google: India Arie I Am Not My Hair. There are three versions. One with India alone, one featuring Pink, and another featuring Akon. The song is appearantly inspired by Melissa Etheridge’a choice to perform bald during her chemo treatment. This song is my anthem! Amazing.

    I applaud Viola. It is difficult to overcome the “good hair” tripe and love yourself. I think what we do to our hair should be our business. Weave or no weave. Dye or no dye. I am always incredibly impressed, though, with the woman who can throw of the idea of “conventional beauty” and be their natural selves. It is a journey, that’s for sure. I’m still traveling it. Am currently suffering hair shame for no good reason other than its not “professional”. Explain to me how the hair that grows out of my head can affect how I am viewed in the workplace. It baffles. Truly.

    CB is always provocative in a cerebral sort of way and I couldn’t ask for more from a gossip site. Educated chat and snark. What’s not to love?!

  51. Carolyn says:

    anyone who gets a weave has issues. to do something that really wrecks your hair is not good.

    work with what you’ve got. Viola looks great.

  52. Ryan's Sexy Girl says:

    She is so beautiful. Great body, personality, and firm healthy outlook on life. Hubby is one lucky man.

  53. All Mark says:

    I think African Americans are too hard on each other. I’m from a traditionally Southern state and no white people I know say “She’s too dark skinned” or “Her hair is too black” … Far from it. Not to say there aren’t still racists, but most white people I know like and enjoy meeting black people. I feel like more judgement comes from African Americans toward each other – where they get the “crabs in a bucket” paranoia. I won’t minimize her experiences with racism though, because she has surely encountered emotions I could never imagine … Anyway I applaud her catharsis!

  54. ShakenNotStirred says:

    She doesn’t have to play the game any more because she made it.