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

Leila Noel­liste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop cul­ture and black beau­ty enthu­si­ast. bell hooks’ hair twin…

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

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I would love to see more stars embrac­ing their nat­ur­al hair. Our young girls are look­ing up to them and it is more than “just hair”!

Aliyah Morrison

I’m so glad she is embrac­ing her hair i want to see her with long gor­geous hair in about 3 or 4 more years .

Youngin girl
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… Read more »

[…] Davis is look­ing absolute­ly stun­ning on the Octo­ber issue of Essence Mag­a­zine! Since wear­ing a short, curly fron on the 2012 Oscar’s red car­pet the 48-year-old actress has been vocal about her jour­ney to accept her nat­ur­al beau­ty. In the […]


this was won­der­ful.


this was won­der­ful.


[…] daugh­ter Gen­e­sis rocked short fros while enjoy­ing the ani­mals at the Geor­gia Aquar­i­um. Davis has spo­ken in the past about how she went nat­ur­al to ful­ly embrace her aes­thet­ic as a black woman, and it’s great to […]

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… Read more »

She’s real­ly pret­ty and has love­ly hair,i’m glad that she embraced her nat­ur­al hair.


Sim­ply put and well said. Very classy lady :0)


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… Read more »
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… Read more »

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.


””(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!


Vio­la is such a beau­ti­ful lady, and an absolute­ly fan­tas­tic actress to boot. Pure class!


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! ;-)


I know that’s right! Our crown is the ‘PROOF’that we tru­ly are ‘fear­ful­ly and won­der­ful­ly made’ =)


The skin, the smile, the hair, UGH! I can only take in so much beau­ty:)


WOW we need more women in the indus­try who have the con­fi­dence to show their nat­ur­al real beauty…it´s mind chang­ing for a lot of peo­ple out there..this is just the begin­ning of the nat­ur­al hair move­ment! She looks so beau­ti­ful!


I agree, I’m glad she wants to show her true beauty…it is indeed lib­er­at­ing, I used to hide behind wigs too but once you decide to do away with it won­der­ful things hap­pen.


that smile is adorable :)


wow. very well stat­ed. i think her hair looks very nice and i’m glad she spoke out about that. maybe more peo­ple will come for­ward and embrace their hair as it is, for what it is. to me she looks bet­ter with­out the wig any­way, but that’s prob­a­bly my nat­ur­al bias com­ing out. she’s beau­ti­ful whether she wears them or no, because it’s her spir­it that shines through it all!


*snaps*…awesome! gor­geous!


Vio­la cer­tain­ly does not have to apol­o­gize for who she is. She is a beau­ti­ful woman! I’m hap­py to hear she found the strength to “step into her­self” as she said. I wish no woman had to ever feel that what and who they are isn’t good enough espe­cial­ly dark-skinned women. I’ve always thought women with dark skin are gor­geous and I wish every skin col­or was ful­ly accept­ed.

“I stepped into who I was!” . Yes indeed! She looked absolute­ly beau­ti­ful and regal. I can relate to that state­ment because for a long time I liked braid­ing and corn­row­ing my hair but almost always put in exten­sions. It wasn’t until some­one asked me why I need­ed to add more hair yet I had a full head of my own that I stopped to think about it. I realised that I wasn’t com­plete­ly com­fort­able with using just my own, always felt like it wasn’t enough. There’s noth­ing wrong with exten­sions, wigs or weaves– it’s the moti­va­tion behind wear­ing them… Read more »

That was a great snip­pet! She looks so great in the inter­view, and I real­ly liked her red car­pet look too. And I like how pos­i­tive but hon­est she is. I felt sim­i­lar­ly about always wear­ing kinky twists. I wore them almost con­stant­ly, which was a good pro­tec­tive style but still felt kind of like I was hid­ing my actu­al hair. Now I wear my own hair out most of the time and it feels good! Thanks for post­ing this!


Beau­ti­ful woman. Her bone struc­ture, skin, lips, hair, not to men­tion her grace! Sim­ply beau­ti­ful.

Lenya Wilson

I real­ly want to share this on my site. Vio­la need not hide who she is because she is too fab­u­lous to hide under a wig. How amaz­ing is her hair! Love the colour and she looks fan­tas­tic. I hope you don’t mind if I repost but this needs to be shared.


@ashes Oh my gosh I didn’t know Wendy Williams said that!Viola is beau­ti­ful inside and out some­thing Wendy Williams should work on in my opin­ion…


Exact­ly. Wendy had the nerve to say that, know­ing full damn well that the amount of mon­ey she’s spent on her own (non nat­ur­al) enhance­ments could feed a fam­i­ly of four for weeks!


This spoke to me. Thank you for post­ing.


I can relate to her state­ment because a part of me sub­con­scious­ly kept my relaxed hair long for that rea­son. So glad I broke those binds.


I remem­ber see­ing her at the oscars, and I was like, OOOOOHHHH.…that dress and her hair and make­up, she just looked so pret­ty and fem­i­nine but like, strong at the same time, ya know?

And then…

The next day Wendy Williams went on her show and said that Vio­la was dead wrong and that nat­ur­al hair had no place at an awards show like the oscars.

Say what?! I was about to get heat­ed, but then I con­sid­ered the source. Ah well. I think she looked fab and I love her rea­son­ing.


It’s amaz­ing that Wendy would say that about Vio­la con­sid­er­ing that she looks like a drag queen her­self.


2000 thumbs up for that obser­va­tion on Wendy Williams…I’ve always said that about her, looks like a drag queen her­self :)…I’ve nev­er and will nev­er sup­port her…statements she makes such as this destroys any chance of that on my about regression…back in the 30’s/40’s again…


Right! I’ am still heat­ed at Wendy willaims for that sh*t. Wendy need­ed to have sev­er­al seats, she always struck me as that type hence why I don’t sup­port her. Vio­la is gor­geous and I’ am glad she is one of many step­ping out in Hol­ly­wood wear­ing there nat­ur­al hair, espe­cial­ly as a dark skin sista because that in and of itself is a rar­i­ty. But LOL great inter­view I love Ander­son!


You are so right wendy needs to rec­go­nise beau­ty and it aint what she is wear­ing or doing right now. So we need to big up vio­la


Wendy was just jeal­ous. She wished that she had Viola’s con­fi­dence.


Her skin is so gor­geous and her fea­tures are so beau­ti­ful. I am also a dark skinned lady and look­ing at her has made me appre­ci­ate my beau­ti­ful skin.


At a min­i­mum, I know dark skin often goes under-appre­ci­at­ed but please know there are MANY of us out there who would love that kissed and favored by the sun look. Trust, I cer­tain­ly would con­sid­er­ing I’ve spent every sum­mer for many years active­ly sun­bathing (stopped b/c grand­moth­er died frm skin-can­cer), shelled out cash for spray tan, pur­chased stinky bronz­ing creams, you name it, I’ve tried it!=) No shade-ism,exoticism, or fetishism (sp?) is being espoused here, but dark skin IMHO is exquis­ite in its beau­ty!

Appre­ci­ate your­self dai­ly, you deserve it!

I missed this inter­view so thank you for post­ing it.  She was not lying when she said it would take for­ev­er to talk about the issues black women have with their hair. OMG. I just can’t believe we still don’t live in a day and age where we can’t just do what we want to do with our hair and nobody has to make a big deal about it. I am still embar­rassed about how peo­ple react­ed to Gab­bys hair instead of con­grat­u­lat­ing her.  I saw Viola’s cov­er shoot she did ear­li­er this year with­out her wig. She looked stun­ning. I was… Read more »
The pic­tures above don’t do any jus­tice to her beau­ty and that skin of hers!!!!  I love how she comes across and so relat­able. She looks beau­ti­ful with or with­out wigs. I think it’s refresh­ing to see a celebri­ty of her lev­el step­ping out with her nat­ur­al hair ( and by nat­ur­al I mean own hair) yet still spice things up once a while with a wig here and there. Unlike oth­er celebri­ties who we will nev­er caught on the red car­pet with their hair and yet keep post­ing pics of them­selves on social media to prove they have some under­neath the… Read more »

Still try­ing to fig­ure out why no one con­sid­ered Vio­la for the role of Nina Simone. Although, the pro­tag­o­nist in Pari­ah, Ade­pero Oduye, would’ve also made a won­der­ful Nina.

I guess it’s all for the best. I hear the script is rub­bish and it is com­plete­ly fic­tion­al, so with the back­lash, and the fact that it prob­a­bly won’t be good, she shouldn’t want to asso­ciate her­self with it any­way.

I’m look­ing for­ward to some­one doing a good biopic of Nina though.

Yes I think that Ade Oduya would actu­al­ly be per­fect! (don’t know if she can sing but still) Vio­la is a bit too old to play young Nina though (can always age a younger per­son). I still can­not wait for the movie, lots of biopics don’t have fam­i­ly sup­port but that doesn’t mean they won’t be great. Zoe (love her!) is a tal­ent­ed actress and I have faith in her skills.  Vio­la Davis is soooo beau­ti­ful!! The wigs look nice but that nat­ur­al real­ly does some­thing spe­cial for her! I hate how they are con­stant­ly play­ing down her beau­ty for… Read more »

The whole point is that Hol­ly­wood push­es one type of black beau­ty and it’s more Sal­dana than Davis, so on the one hand you’re say­ing the cast­ing of Sal­dana is great but on the oth­er you are lament­ing the por­tray­al of WOC like Davis when the pref­er­ence shown for actress­es like Sal­dana equates to less work and more lim­it­ed roles for actress­es who don’t fit her phys­i­cal pro­file I.e the more Euro­peanised look, small­er frame etc.


I love both Zoe and Vio­la. Yes I wish that there was a bit more diver­si­ty of actress­es but Zoe is still a Afro-Lati­na who is a tal­ent­ed actress. I prob­a­bly would not have select­ed her for this role but that doesn’t mean I will not sup­port the project or hope that Zoe tru­ly brings the Nina Simone spir­it to the big screen.

I know we all wish for and work for a world where cer­tain things don’t car­ry much weight but I will not sup­port this movie since Zoe Sal­dana is rep­re­sent­ing Nina Simone…and I LOVE and respect her, her indi­vid­ual atti­tude she pos­sess­es on inter­views I’ve seen her..she doesn’t apol­o­gize for being who she is…a proud lati­na, Afro-lati­na, but Latina..that being said, she’s not a black woman so she should not have the hon­or of play­ing a very promi­nant one…it DOES matter…everybody is not us, can’t play us, can­not be us…it’s okay to call a rose, a rose, call a gar­de­nia,… Read more »
I’ll add that me per­son­al­ly, I’d always con­sid­ered Zoe a black latin woman..only once I heard how she views her­self do I now sim­ply view her as a Latina…when I con­sid­ered her a black(American)woman, I still did not agree with hav­ing her cast as Nina Simone…especially since Mary J. Blige had been slat­ed for it previously…Holly-weird does what they do and I will not sup­port this under the guise of ‘being hap­py for us get­ting a lit­tle scrap’…we deserve better..but we have to reach for it too and impose lim­its to how we’ll be treat­ed. We do have power…now more… Read more »

Yeah and the way they have made Sal­dana look to trans­form her into Simone is laugh­able. When even the artist in ques­tion does not sup­port a biopic, you know it’s one to avoid. I’m sure some peo­ple will see it but it’s sad that a dark­er lady could not have played Simone. They seem to have just want­ed a name and some­one they believe appeals to a broad­er audi­ence when I’m sure the tar­get audi­ence would appre­ci­ate some­thing true to life.


Ade­pero Oduye would have been fan­tas­tic! Like you, I’m look­ing for­ward to that day as well =)


I loved her look at the oscars, sim­ply gor­geous.

Lillian Mae

Yes ma’am…

No wig EVER made her look that good!


So true!
I often won­dered why cer­tain celebri­ties who wear wigs wear ones that don’t look good. The truth is, she didn’t need it & it down­played her true beau­ty!


Agree 100%




I think Vio­la Davis did the right thing in shar­ing her true beau­ty. She has always been beau­ti­ful but her look for the Oscars was amaz­ing! I’m look­ing for­ward to more dark­er skinned women of col­or show­cas­ing their beau­ty and not hid­ing behind Euro­pean-influ­enced hair styles. Please note I don’t think wear­ing your hair straight is bad, every­one woman should do what works for her (being nat­ur­al is not for every­one), but step out from the norm and embrace who you real­ly are. :-)


+1 well said