Actress Viola Davis: “I Felt Like I was Apologizing for Being a Dark Skinned Woman With Very Curly Hair”

Not sure how we missed this one (and kudos to for posting the clip!) but back in September while she was a guest on Anderson Live (and during the height of Gabby Douglas hair fever) Viola Davis spoke on her decision not to wear a wig to the Oscars. Among other things, she said she felt she was apologizing for her skin color and hair texture. Click below for the powerful video snippet and to share your thoughts.

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Black Girl With Long Hair

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast.

58 thoughts on “Actress Viola Davis: “I Felt Like I was Apologizing for Being a Dark Skinned Woman With Very Curly Hair”

  1. Viola Davis is stunning; and I’m proud that she took a stand to “come out” as her natural self. She came out unashamed and is truly beautiful in her own hair and skin.

    As black women, we should not have to “hide” ourselves or apologize for being UNIQUELY us. We are “fearfully and wonderfully made” and we are the only racial group on earth with our hair texture. You cannot get anymore “unique” than that! ;-)

  2. ””(0_0)””’ Chills… I mean, the power of what she said! What a beautiful way to express our pain of suppression. That is why I am a fan!

  3. viola does look great. but we still have much more work to do.
    viola is NOW wearing her hair, no wigs or weaves,now that she is established and has been nom’d twice, and has meryl streep singing her praises. if she was just breaking in she would be wigged and weaved up.

  4. While I was glad to see Viola on Anderson’s show, I couldn’t help but feel humiliated for her that she has to be accountable for her natural hair. When we used to sing ‘We Shall Overcome’ back in the 60s, it really meant all of us, including Hollywood. Guess that’s why I never went into acting despite interest and encouragement. On a side note, did you check out the body language of the woman sitting to Viola’s left? Looked like she was pulling away from Viola.

    • If Viola feels “humiliated” for feeling she has to be “accountable” for her hair and skin, she has no one to blame but her own insecurities. Whoopi Goldberg has been rocking black,dark-skinned and natural for decades and NOT ONCE has she apologized for it! And plenty of black ppl have vilified her for doing so.
      God, I’m sick of black women crying foul every time Hollywood rears its ugly head. Hollywood discriminates against EVERYONE: gay, the disabled, fat people. How many leading Chinese women can you name that have come close to matching the success of Whoopi? How many latinas? And please don’t mention JLO (who had to lighten her look to appear “mainstream”).
      Hollywood IS NOT going to validate your existence, ppl. PPl did not sing “We Shall Overcome Hollywood”!
      God knows this forum would be on fire if any light-skinned women complained about being discriminated against.

      • I have 2 say that that speech is great but easier said then done. Whoppi is one in a hundred blk actresses who’s taken on hollywood beauty standards. She struggled for her choices but let’s speak truth.she lost plenty of movie opportunities bc she chooose not to change &was outspoken abt the prejudice and I applaud her. But we wouldn’t get to see the violas,regina kings,nia longs, tarajis,etc of the world if theyd all stood up early on & said no thanks to wigs n weaves. Sometime u gotta get ur foot in the door b4 u can make change.she waited til she was OSCAR NOMINATED b4 she put a spotlight on the unspoken prejudice rampant in hollywood. She couldn’t have done that BEFORE. No one would believe her. She has the star power now 2 show what’s real. Blk & white alike hated her hair. Now we r forced to ask ourselves WHY! prejudice is alive n kickin and we don’t own the mvie studios or corporate businesses. So if she felt apologetic for wanting 2 be natural…its not ALL IN HER HEAD OR JUST HER ISSUE. Weve got immense talent to offer & there r FEW filmakers who will not ask us to not be ourselves… real easy 2 talk the talk but try walking in their shoes wearing high heels & sporting a curly fro…not so easy then!

  5. Its a twofold truth. Mainstream white americans in business&entertainment have managed to DEFINE. Our beauty and they clearly draw the line at HAIR.U CAN’T HIDE OUR SKIN BUT U CAN TUCK AWAY THE ONE THING NATURE GAVE US THAT SETS US APART. On the other hand there are plenty of blk women that don’t like their natural hair& they r fine relaxing it or weaving or wearing wigs and that’s fine.but when we are told our hair somehow plays a major part in a character or a socalled professional appearance…that’s when I call BULLSH*t! We know many might like 2 wear it natural but if means losing a mvie role or not making partner or getting a high profile promotion…well that’s plain racism and I’m glad Viola went bare.her choice either way is fine but when u feel OBLIGATED. 2 make someone else comfortable or to fit someone elses altered views of OUR OWN black beauty…then its a problem! Good for her! Wish more would stand up but sometimes it can cost you a career and that’s a damn shame!

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  8. She’s a Classy, stunning and tempting woman. I transitioned because I wanted to not because I was trying to prove something to society but because I embrace what I have. I didn’t have a hate or love thing for weaves, natural or perm. I didn’t have a problem with any texture the way other people do. I didn’t feel I needed to confront someone for being who they are. I thought it was hair to me. I think the reason why some women never overcame the problem of suppression is because they never really got around to liking themselves. If you don’t like what you have than how is anyone else going to percieve it as good?

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