All Articles Tagged "Viola Davis"
In a recent interview, Oscar-nominated actress Viola Davis said the public’s reaction to her natural hair had been “huge.”
“I think people admire the boldness of it, and the courage of it,” she told interviewer Kam Williams. “For me, personally, it represents my coming into who I am, not apologizing for it and being comfortable with the way I look. I have been amazed by the testimonies … especially from women of color who have thanked me for it.”
While I too commend Davis for going natural in Hollywood, it struck me as incredibly sad that wearing hair in its natural God-given, or universe-given, or whatever you believe in-given state, would be considered an act of bravery in our day and age, while having long, flowing tresses that were purchased at the beauty shop is the new norm.
It’s true that going natural has become more embraced over the years, but it still represents a rejection of cultural messaging that tells us that silky, straight, and smooth is the standard we should all aspire to. The backlash against natural hair in the corporate world has been well-documented, and the resistance has come from some unlikely sources as well; in 2012, for example, historically black college Hampton University banned MBA students from wearing cornrows and dreadlocks.
The connotations associated with natural hair are often negative and involve terms like “militant,” “wild” and “untamed” – sometimes perpetuated by people wearing natural hair themselves.
Meanwhile, relatives in other cities tell me that weaves and wigs are so common that black hair in its natural state often draws looks of shock and surprise, and it seems that every black female on Reality TV sports a weave that grows longer, fuller and more ridiculous with each episode – think Shay from Love and Hip Hop Atlanta. While reality TV is admittedly exaggerated and sensational, its physical portrayal of black women is troubling because it implies a standard of beauty that requires us to purchase our hair rather than grow it.
While I respect everyone’s decision to wear their hair as they wish, it’s disturbing to see that European standards of beauty have become so deeply engrained in our collective psyche that going natural is considered daring while sporting weaves and wigs is, in many circles, expected.
True, natural hair does not necessarily represent self-love, and wearing a weave is not necessarily a sign of self-loathing. There is no right or wrong choice when it comes to a hairstyle; it’s up to each individual to decide what works for them.
But when so many black women – especially those in the limelight — opt for a hairstyle that is as far removed from their natural state as possible, I have to wonder if they are making conscious decisions based on personal preference, or succumbing to societal pressure and conforming to “white is right” standards that border on cultural brainwashing. As Gen. George S. Patton once said, “If everybody’s thinking alike, somebody isn’t thinking.”
Viola Davis, like so many other black women who choose to embrace their natural beauty, is proof that rocking a natural ‘do can be fierce, fabulous and fun. And if she later chooses to forego the natural look because another style better suits her mood, more power to her. As black women, we have many choices available to us when it comes to hairstyles, and we should feel comfortable exploring them all. The fact that so many of us covet what is not ours and reject what is, while accepting our true selves seemingly requires boldness and courage, suggests that we are clinging to a value system that does not value us.
Do you think wearing natural hair requires courage? Sound off in the comments.
March is women’s month, and because it follows on the heels of Black History Month, there’s no better time to talk about a topic that is very important to Black Women — hair care. Here are our top eleven moments in Black Hair care History.
Self-Styled Entrepreneur Madam CJ Walker Makes Her Mark With Black Hair Care Products (1905)
Combining both beauty sensibility and business savvy, Madam CJ Walker (née Sarah Breedlove) built a wildly successful hair empire, around, among other things, the innovation of the pressing comb, which made it more user-friendly for Afro-textured hair (she had the teeth widened for her target market). Ambitious, driven, and dedicated to her company, Madam CJ Walker became the first female self-made millionaire in the United States.
Tags:African American hair, afro, angela davis, Aunt Jemima, black hair, Black Power Afro, carols daughter, Chris Rock, cicely tyson, Good Hair movie, history of black hair, janelle monae, Madam CJ Walker, moments in black hair history, natural hair, Natural Hair Revolution, Viola Davis, Viola Davis at 2012 Academy Awards
CALLING: Actor and activist
WHY WE’RE SALUTING HER:
Viola Davis has made us proud on and off screen through dedication to her craft and the ability to intertwine her passion for improving education into her movie roles, while simultaneously introducing a new aesthetic of beauty to be celebrated in Hollywood.
Though Davis’s name has only recently begun to be heard on the tongues of nearly every prominent figure in the movie business, she’s actually been a strong force in the entertainment industry for some time now. Davis majored in theatre at Rhode Island College, where she graduated from in 1988 — and later received an honorary doctorate in Fine Arts from in 2002 — and a year later attended Julliard for four year as a member of the school’s Drama Division’s Group 22 from 1989–1993.
Only a few years later, the St. Matthews, SC, native won her first Tony and Drama Desk Award for her portrayal of a 35-year-old mother fighting for the right to abort a pregnancy in King Hedley II. A number of roles in major Hollywood productions followed that win, including parts in Antoine Fisher, Out of Sight, and Solaris. In 2008, Davis was nominated for a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Doubt, and a year later she was inducted into The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Just one other year after that, Davis won a second Tony Award for her role as Rose Maxson in a revival of Fences, becoming only the second African American woman to win the award after Phylicia Rashad.
It could be said that in 2011 Davis took on her biggest role yet as Abilene Clark in the movie adaptation of The Help. Despite criticism from some who weren’t interested in seeing Black woman portrayed in a servant role, Davis was lauded for her performance with nominations for Golden Globe, BAFTA, Screen Actors Guild, and Academy Awards.
It was during the recognition for her role in The Help, that Viola repped for naturalistas everywhere when she hit the red carpet at the 2012 Oscars without her characteristic straight wigs, but with a teeny weeny afro that she was encouraged to rock by her husband. For staying true to herself while still giving her all to her roles on the big screen, we salute Viola Davis.
Click here to meet all of our salutes.
Any time a single, christian woman laments that she’s tired of being single, the answer is always pray and wait on God to send the man he made just for you. Most times the women saying that don’t actually have any proof of that casual approach working, but when Viola Davis tells you prayer works when it comes to finding your mate in life, she knows what she’s talking about.
The star of the flick Beautiful Creatures, which opens in theaters tonight, recently told the NY Post that’s how she got together with her husband, Julius Tennon. Speaking on her marriage to the former college football player who she married in 2003 and adopted a daughter with last year, she said:
“I was the loneliest woman in the world, and someone said, ‘You should just pray for a husband.’ I said I wanted a big black man from the South who looked like a football player, who already had children, who maybe had been married before . . . 3 1/2 weeks later I met my husband.”
Well if that’s not a successful happily ever after story I don’t know what is. Shout out to Viola and Julius on Valentine’s Day!
Do you all know anybody who had their prayers for a man answered that quickly?
‘I Can’t Be Another Housekeeper:’ Viola Davis Narrowly Escapes Maid Role In New Film, ‘Beautiful Creatures’
In “The Help,” Viola Davis famously played a maid who discovers her own power.
Her new film “Beautiful Creatures” is based on a book in which her character Amma is also a maid – but with telepathic power.
All dark magic aside, the maid part of the deal, for Davis, caused initial hesitation in moving forward with the role.
“As soon as I saw that Amma was a housekeeper, my radar went up because of ‘The Help,’” Davis told us during interviews for the film last weekend in Los Angeles. “I said, ‘I can’t be another housekeeper.’”
Check out the rest of the interview on EurWeb.com.
It’s not quite Oscar time, but the awards season has already started. Before that ultimate awards ceremony, there are a number of others such as Critics’ Choice Awards (Jan. 10, 2013), the Golden Globes (Jan. 13, 2013), Screen Actors Guild Awards (Jan. 27), and The Independent Spirit Awards (Feb. 23, 2013). There’s also the African-American Film Critics Awards, which last year held its awards ceremony in December. We didn’t see an announcement on their website for this year, but it should be around the same time. The awards season culminates with the Academy Awards on February 24th, 2013.
What does this mean for Black Hollywood? While nominations and awards have been increasing for black actors, they’re still few and far between. To be exact there have been just 27 blacks who have won an Oscar in the awards’ 84 years. Maybe one of the upcoming black films we reported on recently could be a contender.
Last year the awards season was all abuzz with The Help. And again this year actress Viola Davis is being talked about as a possible Oscar contender for Best Actress her role in Won’t Back Down. Jamie Foxx is in a film that has already taken home an award: Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, which took screenplay honors at the Hollywood Film Awards.
One sure contender is Lincoln, featuring Gloria Reuben, S. Epatha Merkeson, and David Oyelowo. Geoge Lucas’ Tuskegee Airman saga Red Tails has also been mentioned in Oscar talks; Nate Parker, Terence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., Tristan Wilds, Elijah Kelly, Ne-Yo, David Oyelowo, Michael B. Jordan all starred. Some critics are saying Whitney Houston should be considered for a supporting actress award for her performance in Sparkle. Cloud Atlas, with Halle Berry, may get an Oscar—but for her co-star Tom Hanks.
One indie that has been getting lots of attention is Middle of Nowhere. At the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, Ava DuVernay became the first African-American woman to win the Best Director Prize for her second feature film. And it may be well on the way to win more awards.
And Beasts of the Southern Wild, a fantasy about a six-year-old (played by Quvenzhané Wallis) set in the Louisiana bayou, has already won at the Cannes and Sundance film festivals. There’s talk that Wallis could be nominated for an Oscar, which would make her the youngest winner ever if she took the prize. She was five in the movie and is only nine years old now.
Money is what makes these awards so critical. According to stats, when a film takes home an award, tickets sales go up, especially if the award is an Oscar. “Best Picture winners typically earn an additional $14 to $15 million in box office revenue,” reports the Business Insider. It also means more money for the actors, may see a 20 percent boost in pay for their next film if they win the award for Best Actor or Actress.
Just being nominated is a big financial win as well, especially for indies which have a limited release. After a nomination, films usually get a wider release, and more theaters equals more box office money. “During the four years from 2007 through 2010, movies that were nominated but did not win, on average, netted an additional $20 million before the awards ceremony and $5 million afterwards,” writes Business Insider. Out of the theater sales even increase as more people rent films that have received nominations or awards.
Who do you think will win?
We knew the roles would be pouring in for Viola Davis after her name generated much Oscar buzz for her performance in “The Help.” Now, she’s stepping in an entirely new direction by starring in fantasy film called “Beautiful Creatures.” The movie, which hits theaters on February 13, takes place in a small southern town and centers around a teenaged boy (Alden Ehrenreich) who finds himself falling in love with the new girl (Alice Englert). This girl, who is unlike anyone the town has ever seen, is a “caster,” or sophisticated type of witch, struggling to accept not only her supernatural powers but whether she will be able to use them for good or evil. (Apparently, it’s not a choice but more of an assignment.)
So, where does Viola come in? Well, she’s Amma, a keeper of the casters’ history who helps the leading character come to terms with her destiny. Check out Viola and her cast mates describing the movie below.
Does this seem interesting to you? Do you plan to check it out when it hits theaters in February?
From The Grio
Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis and newcomer Danai Gurira dazzled on the arrivals carpet for the 19th annual Elle magazine Women in Hollywood Celebration held yesterday at the Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills. The yearly awards ceremony honored a bevy of iconic women this year, and drew a throng of supporters who cheered on those awarded.
Read more at The Grio
We tweeted yesterday about Urbanworld Digital, but, even bigger, the 16th Annual Urbanworld Film Festival kicked off last night with the opening film Being Mary Jane. Starring Gabrielle Union (number 22 on The Root 100) and written by Mara Brock Akil (number 51, who also wrote Sparkle, Girlfriends and The Game), the BET Networks movie is about a single TV news anchor (Union) making a way in her personal and professional life.
Before the movie, however, there was the red carpet (we snapped a quick pic of Gabrielle Union for the cell phone, along with the dozens of photogs and reporters who showed up for opening night). In addition to Union, Akil, BET CEO Debra Lee, Tika Sumpter, and other stars and notable names turned out for the event.
Though Urbanworld has been around for more than a decade, it’s still hard work to finance and organize the event.
“It’s definitely a comprehensive labor of love,” said Gabrielle Glore, the festival’s executive producer and head of programming, who spoke with us over the phone just before opening night. “No one is getting rich off these festivals. Not even the big ones.”
Among the big ones are, of course, Sundance, the Toronto Film Festival, which got a lot of attention this year because Kristen Stewart made her first pre-scandal debut, and Cannes. For all of these festivals, publicity — for the films, for the event itself — is important. Last night’s media turnout no doubt drums up a good deal of attention for the festival.
But more than that, sponsors are important to Urbanworld. “It’s all about sponsors,” said Galore. HBO is Urbanworld’s founding sponsor; BET is its presenting sponsor. “It lets people know that there’s some credibility. The sponsor piece is critical.”
According to Glore, it’s the marketplace that determines the level of sponsorship. “The years that have been more difficult in terms of funding, it’s about what’s happening in the marketplace,” she told us. She says they’ve already started working on the slate of sponsors for next year. The sponsors help determine festival activities, like the digital events and labs.
In addition to that, the festival operates on a strict budget.
“We’re lean and mean and we have money to make it happen,” said Glore.
Historically, Urbanworld has showcased some big-name movies. Collateral, starring Jamie Foxx and Tom Cruise debuted there. Night Catches Us with Anthony Mackie and Kerry Washington opened there two years ago. And there were the showings of both Barbershop films and Secret Life of Bees, among others.
Though many of the movies that the festival screens aren’t necessarily blockbusters on the level of Twilight, they are successful (as that list shows). More than that, they give famous actors the chance to attach themselves to indie projects that they’re passionate about. And it gives filmmakers a chance to show their work in a theater, something that many of them might not otherwise be able to do.
“We definitely don’t characterize ourselves as a black film festival,” said Glore, while acknowledging that many of the films they include involve African American artists. “There’s a cross-cultural sensibility that reflects what America looks like.”
Which is very good for enlisting sponsors. ”Companies want to align with brands and with what’s the future,” Glore adds.
Among the other films showing this year are Won’t Back Down, about reform at an inner city school starring Viola Davis, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Rosie Perez; The Girl is In Trouble a crime movie starring Columbus Short, boasting executive producer Spike Lee and directed by Julius Onah; and the closing night film, Middle of Nowhere, directed by another Root 100 honoree, Ava DuVerney, who was the first African American to win the director’s prize at Sundance for this movie.
For the complete Urbanworld schedule, click here.
As celebs age, they become beautiful, gorgeous, glamorous, and plenty of other adjectives. But, behind every female black celebrity was once a young girl who was cute, sassy, and full of dreams. Here are 15 pictures of well known female black celebs when they were young.