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?… 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! ๐Ÿ˜‰


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…itยดs 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 ๐Ÿ™‚


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.


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


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


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…


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.… 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… 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.


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


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.

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 »

I loved her look at the oscars, simply gorgeous.

Lillian Mae

Yes ma’am…

No wig EVER made her look that good!


Agree 100%




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!


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. ๐Ÿ™‚


+1 well said