February 27th, 2012
04:05 PM ET

Reporter’s Notebook: Viola Davis keeps it 'real'

Editor’s Note: Nischelle Turner is a CNN correspondent and appears on HLN's ‘Showbiz Tonight’

By Nischelle Turner, CNN

(CNN) - The day after the Academy Awards talk is usually filled with who won what, who wore what and who went to which party. But this year’s post Oscar chatter seems to be all about who kept it “real”!

The answer? “The Help’s” best actress nominee Viola Davis.

Before I even spoke to Viola on the red carpet, she caught my attention, her flawless skin poured in a form fitting, bold green Vera Wang dress, accented by a mega-watt smile.

I thought: "Wow she looks great"! Others were commenting on how great she looked too, and then I heard: “Oh my…she’s natural!”

The fascination with natural, African-American hair

I did a double take, and said: "Yes! She decided to take the wig off!"

She had worn her hair natural earlier at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon, and when she graced the cover of LA, Los Angeles Times Magazine.

But this was the Oscars, Hollywood’s biggest night!

Viola Davis: I’ve really stepped into who I am

I thought: this is a bold move.

“My husband said, 'Be who you are,'" says Davis. "Step into who you are. [And] I really have. I felt like this project forced me to step into who I was, the choice of playing a maid in 1963 with a broken dialect, and having to defend my choice...You’ve gotta be who you are and be very confident and bold in who you are."

Her husband, Julius Tennon, told me it may look bold, but she is sending a message that it is okay to be who you are: this is just who Viola is in her everyday life.

So it’s only –excuse the pun–NATURAL.

Praise pours in for Viola Davis' natural 'do

I have covered red carpets for eight years, and it’s very rare to see black women in Hollywood wearing their hair natural. Personally, as a brown girl who has had hair issues and wears a head full of weave, I was screaming for joy that this gorgeous woman who looks like me, had the courage to say to the superficial world of Hollywood: “I’m fine with who I am."

She may not have won the Oscar, but she got the “authenticity” award in my book.

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Filed under: Black in America • How we look • Pop culture • Women
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. ya Mammy

    Oh come the heck on Black Women have been wearing their hair natural for years...you all acted as if this is soooo new...give me a break...what you probably wanted to say was did she really come to the awards looking like a sambo! so i guess this will be on the cover of high end fashion magazines and now white america will show a softer side to african american women who are "natural" there is so much more that I want to say but hell I have cramps...thats natural too, right?

    February 28, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  2. Dallas

    I hate that women, especially women without stick straight hair, are taught to beat their hair into submission. I knew it was especially bad when I see girls with naturally straight hair using flat-irons. And I really don't like it when fashion reporters say this is the 'season' for textured hair, as if we finally have an excuse to wear our hair the way it's supposed to be.

    February 27, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Linda

    Viola Davis looked amazing at the Oscars. It is really a shame that people make it a huge event out of the fact that a black woman wore her her natural to the Oscars. Should be a given...Isn't there any real news happening out there in the world, CNN?

    February 27, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Yvette

    I think Viola Davis's hair looked amazing. She was always beautiful to me but even more so now with her natural hair. I don't care what anyone says, her hair ROCKED!!!

    February 27, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |