Viola Davis: Why We're Still Talking about Her Hair

5 years ago

Viola Davis is still in the headlines. A pretty impressive feat considering that Meryl Streep finally won another Oscar after 12 consecutive nominations without wins and should be the talk of the town. It has to be a bittersweet moment for Davis because she and Streep are such good friends. Still, to think, the last Academy Award win was for Sophie's Choice; a film that's older than me.

Feb. 26, 2012 - Hollywood, California, U.S. - VIOLA DAVIS, an Oscar nominee for Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, arrives at the 84th Annual Academy Awards.

So for now, we have to settle for talking about Viola's natural hair. Wasn't she stunning? How long has she been wearing such horrid wigs? Who is her stylist and why hasn't she been fired?  How many of you knew she was natural under there? How many of you are upset that the conversation has shifted to hair? Why is our culture so utterly ridiculous that we're so concerned with Viola's hair, Angelina's leg, and Bradley Cooper's mustache (the latter two now have their own Twitter accounts)? 

But back to Viola. She's beautiful but hardly anyone knew until her spread in the LA Times Magazine because in every lead performance I've seen (Doubt and Antwone Fisher) she's doing the ugly cry. Think back. Have any of her characters ever not been a hot sobbing mess? Why is she always snotting out the nose? That's not cute. Who could ever see past the ugly cry? Luckily, she does. She owned that haircut, the dress and the spotlight. And when she stepped out on the red carpet, she forced the world to see past the ugly cry and the wigs she used to cover up what's most beautiful in every woman. Sunday night Viola Davis owned her natural beauty.

I'd like to think I'm above needing to see natural, beautiful women on-screen. I'm pretty confident about my own natural hair (est. 2006). I don't walk around trash-talking African-American women who relax their hair. I don't think they're mentally enslaved by standards of beauty they could never naturally possess. I'm not making some big bold statement. I like straight hair. And I love running my fingers through my hair. I actually miss that the most. Still, I really love my natural hair. At the risk of sounding incredibly vain, I'm just going to say it because it has to be said. I've got really nice hair. Nice curl pattern -- not too tightly coiled, kind of springy as it grows out in the back. Incredibly soft. Yes, people love to touch my hair and comment on how soft it is. Not at all like a Brillo pad. So yeah, I don't need to see Black women with natural hair in Hollywood. But it still brought a smile to my face. 

Am I off to Hollywood as the next brown skin natural Melissa McCarthy? Nope. I'll stick to writing. But as the beauty on-screen grows to be more inclusive of diverse, natural, full-figured women, hopefully there will be less of societal pressure to look just one way. If everyone can easily find their beauty mark already on the screen, there's no need to look like anyone other than our natural selves.

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