Here's Why Viola Davis Wore Her Natural Hair Texture in Widows

Both onscreen and off, Viola Davis knows how to turn her hairstyle into a statement. As Annalise Keating in How to Get Away with Murder, she removed her wig to reveal her natural hair, and history was made. And on the red carpet, Davis has turned heads with her gorgeous natural afro. Now, her latest moment in hairstory is thanks to her upcoming film, Widows.

In the new movie, Davis plays wife-turned-robber Veronica Rawlins — and she does it all in her natural hair. According to Variety, director Steve McQueen encouraged her to leave her hair natural, just as her character would have. “I said, ‘Your own hair is beautiful — just wear it that way,’” McQueen explained to Variety. “Veronica is a wash-and-go kind of girl.”

That simple answer surprised Davis, who says she's found that Hollywood typically prefers her to sport loose waves and sharp edges when it comes to her hair. "You’re always taught as a person of color to not like your hair,” she told Variety. “The kinkier it is, the so-called nappier it is, the uglier it is.” And so she didn't take the direction to wear her hair natural lightly.

But according to Davis, Rawlins's hairstyle is more than just an indication of another busy mom onscreen; her natural hair is another opportunity for black women to see a version of themselves represented in a film which could be potentially Oscar-winning, considering the talent and clout of Davis and McQueen. “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,” she says.

Her hair is just one way Davis kept her character realistic. As the actor explains to Variety, the movie focuses on a more authentic kind of woman than audiences are used to seeing in blockbuster action films. “People try to be too nice with women,” she says. “They keep them pretty. They keep them likable. They cater to male fantasies. They cater to the male gaze. This film didn’t do that.”

Widows hits theaters in November 2018.

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