Viola Davis talks about how unusual it is to see her kissing Liam Neeson in ‘Widows’

2018 British Academy Britannia Awards

Here are some photos of Viola Davis at the 2018 British Academy Britannia Awards in Beverly Hills. She attended the event with her husband, Julius Tennon. Viola is in promotional mode – her new film, Widows, comes out in a few weeks. Widows is Steve McQueen’s attempt to move from art-house/important-historical-drama director to “mass market/commercially viable” filmmaker. I’m here for it – out of all the big new films coming out in the next few months, Widows at the top of my list. I can’t wait to see it.

In the film, Viola stars a woman who is – spoiler? – widowed when her thief husband, played by Liam Neeson, dies with his crew mid-heist. That’s not a spoiler, really, it’s the whole plot of the film and it’s in the trailers. But did you know there’s a big passionate kiss between Liam and Viola at the start of the movie? It’s true. And Viola has been talking about that a lot, how important it is for Hollywood to make interracial love stories not as a curiosity, but as a demographic fact. She chatted about this issue with The Guardian, and she’s also been talking about it during the promo screenings:

The kiss scene with Liam: “For me, this is something you’ll not see this year, last year, the year before that. That is, a dark-skinned woman of colour, at 53 years old, kissing Liam Neeson. Not just kissing a white man,. Liam Neeson, a hunk. And kissing him sexually, romantically.”

She doesn’t think people will talk about the kiss: “Nobody will pay attention to that. And if you mention it to someone, I think they’ll feel like it’s hip and it’s funky that they didn’t notice it. But will you see it again? If you don’t think that’s a big deal, then tell me, why isn’t it happening more? There’s a part of me that can answer that.”

On how unusual it is to see a kiss between a black woman & a white man: “You will not see that. I don’t care how much people say they’re committed to inclusivity — they’re not committed to that… [in] the opening shot in this movie where you have a dark-skinned woman with a big nose and wide lips and all of that and her natural hair kissing — romantically kissing a white man onscreen. That right there has been elusive to me because of the way I look. I’m just going to say it. Steve [McQueen], he didn’t want to hear that… He saw me as this woman. I migrate toward people who actually see me.”

[From The Guardian & The Wrap]

Viola talks about this all the time, usually in the context of How To Get Away With Murder and how that character is the first time she ever played a “sexy” role, or a character who has an active sex life. She’s right – Hollywood wants to pat itself on the back for giving Halle Berry some white love interests, but what about the Viola Davises? What of the middle-aged, dark-skinned black women who want to get a snog off Liam Neeson? It’s unusual in a Hollywood film. And props for Liam and Viola for going there. As for why isn’t happening more… because of racism, colorism, ageism, you name it. There are like ten different biases happening around this particular issue in Hollywood.

2018 British Academy Britannia Awards

2018 British Academy Britannia Awards

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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32 Responses to “Viola Davis talks about how unusual it is to see her kissing Liam Neeson in ‘Widows’”

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  1. KLO says:

    Has Viola grown out her hair? It looks glorious.

    • Lala11_7 says:

      Viola has deep 4C hair like me…so no, it wouldn’t grow out like that…it’s a magnificent HAIRSTYLE!!!! I have the same one myself…and it is GLORIOUS! The EXISTENCE of Viola Davis…makes me so very…happy! And what she said about her romantic coupling with Liam is true…as dark skinned women…on way to many avenues…we are NOT SEEN…so that kiss…with THAT man…on THAT big screen…is…


      • Thirsty Hirsty says:

        When I googled 4C hair, many articles about conditioning came up, but I could not find an explanation of 4C (and it mentioned 4b) hair, and I’m sorry but I do not know what the reference is. Please teach me.

    • Scal says:

      It’s curl pattern. Type of curl (wavy, curly, coils) by diameter of curl

  2. JanetDR says:

    She looks fantastic! Hollywood will get there someday, I hope.

  3. Lucy says:

    Well, hot damn. Ocean’s 8, Widows…keep ’em coming!!

  4. Kittycat says:

    I’d love to see viola or any dark skinned woman in film and television as a fully sexual woman.

    So often these women are portrayed so limitedly.

    • Veronica S. says:

      Or if they are framed sexually, it’s as an object, lacking characteristics beyond that hypersexual context. In its ugliest form, it contributes to the idea of framing blacks as subhuman commodities, designed for white pleasure and purpose. We still have a long way to go until it’s better.

  5. Anitas says:

    He should consider himself lucky!

    • Onemoretime says:

      I agree! He’s a very lucky man, she’s hot! Viola is and forever will be my woman crush.

      • Milla says:

        She’s beautiful and her body is insane. This is what normal, healthy figure looks like. This body is made for couture. Yes I sound like a weirdo, but it had to be said.

  6. Mego says:

    She looks really beautiful and her hair is glorious!

  7. Chaine says:

    Love the dress! She looks amazing, I hope the movie is good.

  8. Alexandria says:

    I’m not black nor American and it seemed unfamiliar to me. This pairing is more often seen on TV. But hell l love it that we can see it on film finally! More pls!

  9. Tanesha86 says:

    I’d love to see more interracial couples with black women and non-black men of color in film and television.

  10. ReeseSmith89 says:

    She’s talking about the people on this site

    • Sparker says:

      dude, zombies had to inherit the world before this shit’d happen on The Walking Dead… lOL!

      SRY, posted this reply to the wrong comment. my bad…

    • BaeBae says:

      LOL faaaaacctts

    • cola cookie says:

      She is talking-promoting her movie and she (ab?)uses racial issues for that. ?? A few decades ago no movie would have featured a black woman kissing a white male. But is the depiction of such scenes still a taboo broken?

  11. Tallia says:

    Umm…waving! HI. I totally will be paying attention to that kiss, because HELLO two gorgeous people kissing!

  12. Veronica S. says:

    I agree with her, honestly. Dark-skinned black women are considered the bottom of the social attraction hierarchy and generally treated with underlying contempt by the media. While The Walking Dead is a garbage show by this point that has had its problems with race portrayals before, one of the things I give it credit for is that it featured the main heroic character, Rick, with Michionne, a very dark skinned woman, and it was a loving, emotional, and meaningful relationship. But seeing it also highlighted how rare the phenomenon is. If black women are treated as objects of desire, they’re usually light-skinned and heavily sexualized. Rarely do they get to be dark, beautiful, and mutually engaged on a romantic level with characterization extending beyond that role.

    • char says:

      I agree with you. As a brown female, I feel at the bottom of the totem pole and many times invisible. I am told often by 50-something white women that I am gorgeous, which is kind, but at the same time; their white sons seem to rarely “pick” me. At least these days I stopped taking it personally. People can’t always help what they are conditioned by. also, I am not black. I’m Indian. I feel I am both beautiful and invisible, that’s just how it goes in the universe sometimes.

  13. notthisagain says:

    I LOVE VIOLA and do get what she is trying to say as a black woman, however, whilst white people invented white supremacy ,t POC including Black people sometimes unwittingly perpetuate it by putting whiteness and white validation on a pedestal. She has been talking about this a lot whilst promoting the movie and is comes of a little bit color struck and cringeworthy to me . but yeah I do here where she is coming from but IMO Liam is the lucky one here LOL

    • Jerusha says:

      I don’t know if it’ll happen while I’m still on the earth, but I look forward to the time when nobody bats an eyelash when Viola is with Liam or Keanu, when John Cho is with Cate or Nicole or Reese, when Gael Garcia Bernal is with Taraji P. Henson. Or when we can have rom-coms starring, for instance, Michael B. Jordan and Gabrielle Union. Just throwing out names, but you get the point. Some of the best movies I’ve seen the past two years are Black Panther, Creed, Hidden Figures, Crazy Rich Asians. Notice a pattern? Few white people.

    • Patty says:

      I’m with you. I find the statement kind of sad on multiple levels.

    • Anna says:

      It is not about white validation. She is pointing out an important moment in film representation for dark-skinned Black women. Sorry but to chalk this up to white validation and some perpetuation is false.

  14. Avery says:

    I am so glad Viola Davis said this. It is not just important for the Zendaya’s or Halle’s but for Lupita and Danai’s to be seen as desirable. Not just skin color but the age as well. You don’t stop being desirable over 40.

  15. polionna says:

    Well nobody batted an eyelash when Angela Bassett got it on with Lady Gaga in American Horror Story. Then again that was TV.

  16. AmunetMaat says:

    I’m saddened by her message. Why must we constantly find validation in white beauty, why are we looking towards white masculinity as a standard of desirability. How about I want a dark-skinned black woman to be seen as beautiful, as sexy, as fierce and it’s ok to show her being these things with a black man. I was disappointed by the points she was making because it seemed so lacking.