Viola Davis Natural Hair In Essence

After running through a gauntlet of hateful attacks against black girl beauty and natural hair these past couple of days, I’m so happy to end the week on a positive note with this gorgeous, super refreshing ESSENCE cover featuring Viola Davis looking absolutely stunning and chocolatey and delicious. Just as beautiful as the cover, though, is the actress’s celebration of her natural beauty, including, yes, her dark skin and natural hair.

In the feature story, the Oscar-nominated star of The Help waxes poetic about  taking off her wig and wearing her hair natural:

“I had to defend myself as an artist, but I found myself defending myself as a dark-skinned Black woman in front of people who did not know my life. I took my wig off because I no longer wanted to apologize for who I am.”

It’s been a long journey for Davis, who told ESSENCE that her self-esteem did not come easy.

“My image of myself [as a youth] was in the mouths of young White kids calling me ugly and then going home to a mother who did not fully embrace her own beauty,” Davis said. She added: “There’s not one woman in America who does not care about her hair. But we give it way too much value. We deprive ourselves of things, we use it to destroy each other, we’ll look at a child and judge a mother and her sense of motherhood by the way the child’s hair looks.”

But Davis, who stars in the upcoming Prisoners, promises that if she has anything to do with it, her 2-year-old daughter, Genesis, won’t have such hang-ups. “I am not going to traumatize my child about her hair. I want her to love her hair.”

Say that, Viola!

Make sure to pick up Essence’s October issue September 6, and head over to to see a behind-the-scenes video of Viola Davis’ cover shoot.

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.


  1. I love Viola so much..even more now for what she said about mothers being judged by the way their child’s hair looks. I wish more African American celebrities could be fearless like her.

  2. I picked up my Issue on Tuesday after Labor Day from Walmart so in Rochester New York they are already on the stands. I was happy to see Viola gracing the front cover as well. My oldest Daugther and her share a similar story about being taunted by white kids at their schools. They both grew up in New Egland. Viola in Rhode Island and Miesha across the Bridge in Old Lyme Connecticut. I am glad she shared her story with the world. I remember trying to contact Oprah about what was happening to my child however Gayle King put a stop to that. But that’s okay we survived those 5 years of adversity.

  3. What a beautiful picture. She is so pretty. Thanks for sharing.

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