Viola Davis - Photo credit  www.imdb.comOlder. Darker-skinned. Less classically beautiful ….
This is how The New York Times TV critic Alessandra Stanley described Viola Davis in an article about Shonda Rhimes’ newest series “How to get away with Murder” . Viola is a beautiful and incredibly talented actress known for her work in Doubt, The Help, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby series, and many more. In ‘How to get away with Murder’ Viola Davis will be starring in an interesting and complex role of Annalise Keating, a formidable criminal defense lawyer and law professor
Less classically beautiful -What does this even mean? Compared to whom? It is true that black women featured in media are often lighter skinned. But that should not define what beauty or ‘classical beauty” is; neither should lead roles be limited to light skinned women. Beauty comes in all shades, shapes and sizes
The #LessClassicallyBeautiful hashtag is trending on Twitter now. Women and men are commenting, sharing pictures and taking New York times to task for the piece.
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4 Comments

Minister Ambe Nkanwi Fokwa September 22, 2014 at 10:11 am

What I keep wondering is where are they getting their standard from. The “classic beauty” of the black race has always been dark skin. Reasoning the reverse is only possible if you have “white” skin because classic means what was before that has been evolved from into the modern. A black woman who is less “classically beautiful” would have to be “fairer.”

Gail September 29, 2014 at 4:41 am

You are all hanging the Times’ critic out to dry. She is simply stating the obvious, which is that Viola is not the homogenized prototype we’ve all been shown in TV and movies over and over again for decades, and have come to except as the standard. I will admit that I found myself cringing at Viola’s closeup shots, which by the way bare zero resemblance to the obviously enhanced photos shown here and across the web. WTH, if the intent is to keep it real. Recognizing that I was disturbed by Viola was a good thing. It made me aware that we’ve all been manipulated by Hollywood casting, and how discriminatory the perfect and unlikely appearance of most leading ladies (and men) have in essence prejudiced us against ourselves…. the average looking American. Bravo Sondra for breaking the rules, and keeping it real. One more step towards collective self-acceptance. #lessclassicallybeautiful

J October 3, 2014 at 7:00 am

I haven’t read the whole context of the author’s remark. but having seen Viola play her recent role. I have taken note of hair and makeup… With much better understanding of Shonda who likes to keep the audience in suspense but lives little trails of what to expect. I think the author was referring to Viola character… in as much as Annalise is portrayed as a strict person. She’s a character that is 75% bad and 25% good but has a smart way of portraying her self as being professional.
Unlike Olivia Pope who is dressed from hair to makeup as a likeable and relate able character. You fall for Olivia despite her being the badass!
Drama course101 dress the villain badly. The Nigerian movies (back in the days) use to overdo this. But it will be a giveaway if they did do it nowadays. Things have evolved. but now they dress the villain in a subtle way. not giving away too much ….
Viola is beautiful but her character Annalise isn’t a classic beauty for a main character… for reason’s best known by Shonda… Can’t wait as the plot unfolds… Annalise is worse than a badass but a Tsuanmi of terror. Notice the black intern is dressed way much better than Annalise (Viola).. No one could play this role than Viola. Yes Annalise isn’t a classic beauty…Shonda you are at it again.. thumps up.!

J October 3, 2014 at 7:15 am

oops just read the article
less classically beautiful than Ms. Washington, or for that matter Halle Berry,
But the author compared her to Kerry and Halle. These women are well known to be beautiful. If all three were lined up for pageant who do you think will win?
Yes, there are lots of stereotypes out there and she’s being honest.
Unfortunately our vanilla sisters don’t endure this candid comparison. Subtle backhand slap.
On another note when trash press commenced.. Vanillas took the motto well am being talked about. free publicity…

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