But every now and then I come across a black woman either in real life or one who is "of note" and I am reminded that some of us aren't so quick to believe the hype. Some of us were able to find love, respect and admiration despite not being *prized* by white men.
This is Academy Award-nominated actress Viola Davis. She is 43 and from South Carolina. She is a graduate of the prestigious Julliard School and won a Tony for her work on Broadway. She has received numerous awards for her work on screen and on stage. By all accounts she is a highly successful black woman. For the past six years she has been married to actor Julius Tennon. For all those slow kids out there that means she got married at 37 years of age. Here are some qoutes about their relationship:
"Tennon impressed Davis on the very first date. He had the kind of absolute integrity she craved, and had almost stopped hoping she'd discover in anyone. He was a single father for 16, 17 years; he raised his children by himself, as well as pursuing a career in acting"OK, let's start right here. Julius was a single father of two children when he met Viola. He was also an actor, trying to pursue a career with children on his back. Despite being "left" with two children, he didn't seem to harbor hatred and ill-will towards black women. He found a black woman he was interested in and took her out on a date. She was OPEN and RECEPTIVE to dating this man. She did not shun him for the failure of his previous relationship. She also was *LOOKING* for integrity. She did not expect it to just appear out of nowhere.
"So he has character. He's a good man. And he endeared himself to me because he was different from anyone else I dated, because he was extraordinarily emotionally available and kind and generous.""
WAIT....what?? A negro male with character. Notice how she said that he endeared himself to HER. She also said that he was emotionally available and kind - she did not harp on how much money he made or how he could "protect and provide" for her. He was a NICE GUY and she found THAT endearing.
"It makes a difference to have a life—to have a life that's healthy and loving. It allows you to do what you do, and not work from a place of chaos ... She's proud that their relationship is a true partnership. It sustains her in many ways, tangible and intangible. "I can absolutely say that I'm happy," Davis adds, "but I also have to say that a responsibility comes with that."This is from an article in which one of the producers of a play she was in (Lynn Nottage's "Intimate Apparel") spoke about her marriage and what she PERSONALLY WITNESSED between Viola and Julius. Responsibility in a marriage is very important. Viola understand this. She knows that she must "show up" and be part of her relationship, too. He is not ultimately responsible for HER happiness by himself. Smart woman.
"But in marriage, she says, "doubt is imperative. You have to understand you aren't always right."
Well look what we have here. A black woman admitting that she doesn't know every got damn thing and is willing to lay down her sword.
Not once has she said anything about how much money he makes. The fact that he is NOT PERFECT (i.e. has lived a life) is part of the reason she LIKES him. Go figure! A woman looking at a man in his totality and not just what he did wrong.
"The fact that he's an actor makes it fantastic. But also, it's the kind of person you marry. The temperament. Like when you marry someone, you've got to choose well. That's how it starts. I married a man who has lived a life, so he's more than just what he does. He's a man of strong character. The fact he understands it's very difficult to get with someone who's outside the business who understands it. It's very difficult. The paranoia, the unemployment, the whole instability, the hours...all of it."
Now, I didn't want to point out the obvious but I will anyway. Viola Davis is a DARK black woman. She is probably one of the darkest black females in the media. She has full lips, a wide nose and wears her hair straightened/pressed/weaved or whatever. She looks like a lot of black women I see on a daily basis - professional or not. When Viola was up for anOscar she got virtually no play on the black entertainment blogs. Everyone loved talking about Taraji P. Henson, but hardly anyone touched on Viola. These gossip and entertainemtn blogs are typically run by black women. Why were they not parading around this GORGEOUS couple as a testament to black love. Viola was at event after event for months and there was hardly any interest in her.
Could it be that black women are "turned off" by a dark couple like this. Do they somehow not represent "black love" the same way biracial Barack and Michelle Obama do? OR Beyonce and Jay-Z?
For all the clucking black women do about black men not wanting dark black women, they are the FIRST to say that a dark black woman is not attractive enough for a dark black man. Think about all the "shade" black women have thrown at Pauletta Washington. It's not that she's dark, they say, it's just that she is not attractive. He should be with someone prettier or more "on his level".
Oh, and I forgot to mention that Julius is an actor who has appeared on television and in movies for years. He has had "access" to nonblack women for years. He chose Viola out of all the other women he had "access" to.
So to recap: a successful, educated black woman dated a semi-successful black man with two children. They married and have been together ever since. Did she "lower her standards"? No, because she said he had the qualities she was looking for. Those qualities were not "x number of degrees", "light brown skin", "6'2", "well-traveled," "speaks multiple languages", "no kids", "all about me".