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.”
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.