Viola Davis rocks her short, natural hair for 'Widows': 'We're not all brown or light-skinned beauties with a big Afro'

Dana Oliver
Beauty Director
In Steve McQueen’s Widows, Oscar-winner Viola Davis rocks her natural hair. (Photo: Fox Movies)

The struggle of feeling comfortable enough to wear your natural hair in the workplace is a dilemma that many black women know all too well. And it’s a struggle that not even A-list actresses are exempt from experiencing. Just ask Viola Davis.

Viola Davis graces the latest cover of Variety and opens up about the importance of wearing her natural hair in the film Widows. (Photo: W illiams + Hirakawa for Variety)

As the cover star of Variety magazine’s latest issue, Davis gets candid about Hollywood’s problems with race, the gender pay gap, and how women with natural hair are portrayed in movies. There’s a lot of work that still needs to be done, but on the topic of beauty, the 53-year-old had the full support of Widows director Steve McQueen to rock her short, natural hair on screen.


Davis portrays Veronica Rawlins in the highly anticipated crime thriller, and her character leads a group of female robbers while sporting a tiny Afro with a sleek sartorial silhouette. While this hair and fashion combo isn’t commonly seen in blockbuster films, McQueen told Davis, “Your own hair is beautiful — just wear it that way.”

These words of affirmation not only allowed Davis to free herself from being bonded to wigs and hair extensions, but it also represents a powerful push toward redefining the ideal of beauty in Hollywood and beyond.

“People have to know that there are different types of women of color. We’re not all Foxy Brown. We’re not all brown or light-skinned beauties with a big Afro. We have the girl next door. We have the older, dark-skinned, natural-haired woman,” Davis told Variety.


Thankfully, this is a lesson that the Academy Award-winning star has already passed on to her daughter, Genesis. In a previous interview with Yahoo Lifestyle, Davis explained how she encourages her child to wear her natural hair and not wigs while dressing up as a white Disney princess or comic-book character.

“I really push it. I push it,” she said. “I say, ‘You gotta wear your hair exactly the way it is. You can be Wonder Woman, but you gotta be Wonder Woman with your hair. You can be Elsa, but you gotta be Elsa with your hair.'”


We have no doubt that Davis’s latest role will continue to inspire not only Genesis, but also generations of black women and young girls to embrace their natural beauty, whatever that may look like.

Head over to variety.com to read the full interview with Viola Davis. 

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