‘I’m Not a Beautiful Black Queen, I’m a Joker’: Viola Davis Offers Powerful Words for Dark-Skinned Woman Who Has Never Been Called Beautiful

When Instagram user @RoyalWhoopi1979 candidly shared a message to followers about not feeling pretty in her skin, she likely didn’t foresee capturing the heart of EGOT-winning actress Viola Davis.

Royal Whoopi shared a now-viral video with a long caption expressing sadness about her struggles with self-confidence.

Viola Davis encourages a young woman
Viola Davis encourages a young woman after she goes viral online. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

“You guys are right. I am ugly. I’ve finally come to realize that. The only person in the world that said I was beautiful was my mother,” she said in the video, adding, “I never forget that. I was young, she said, ‘I know you think my daughter is ugly, but my daughter is beautiful.’”

In the caption of her post, Royal Whoopi reiterates that no man or woman has ever called her beautiful, only her mother.

She concludes her caption by saying, “I finally accepted. I’m not gonna say I’m gorgeous. Fabulous beautiful I’m not in that category. I’m not a beautiful black queen. I’m a joker. Do you wanna see the inbox right now I’m ugly. I’m ugly to you guys, and you guys are right.”

According to the woman, she has received direct messages from men solely to tell her she wasn’t attractive. After sharing the heartbreaking video, Viola Davis, who detailed in her memoir “Finding Me: A Memoir” her journey to embracing her own concept of beauty — one that celebrates her stunning Africentric features — offered her support.

“Sorry sis. I don’t see ugly. The only ugly I see is in the hearts of the people who called you ugly,” said the “Woman King” star. “Hurts, eh? I know. BUT….accept this: there is not another YOU. Anywhere in the world….no other lips, nose, skin, hair, voice, honesty…..You are divinely sculpted and crafted….You will move through this world, and another beautiful soul will see you. That other soul….will be you.“

Other celebrity voices like Beyoncé’s mom, Tina Knowles, actresses Octavia Spencer, Taraji P. Henson, Niecy Nash, and more joined theirs with the “Fences” star, creating a chorus of affirmation.

According to writer Ebony M. Smith, a columnist for The Harvard Crimson, her story is not an isolated one.

“Black women have been called ugly for longer than we’ve been deemed human. Black girls live in a paradoxical state where they’re too ugly to be loved, yet too sexualized to be cherished,” she said in an op-ed, adding, “When I was 12, being ugly meant people did not care to understand me or hear me.”

Smith further elaborated that Black women navigate a unique space between femininity and masculinity, one that often denies them full access to either. For Black women, being labeled ‘ugly’ carries a deeper significance — it signifies a lack of recognition as fully human, rendering them incompatible with “the Eurocentric construct of gender.”

Since being catapulted into the public spotlight by a caring movie star who hopes to lift her in sisterhood, Royal Whoopi has received thousands of positive comments, telling her to stay positive and that she is indeed a beautiful woman.

Her Instagram page has over 25K followers, and she has been inspired to post and write. She promised to share with her followers an offering titled “Story of My Life from 1986-2024: Being Ugly for a Black Woman.”

Royal Whoopi 1979 says she will share more of her story as a black woman. (Photo: @royalwhoopi1979/ Instagram)

One of her favorite surprises since going viral has been a post by content creator, Derek Handz and his Handzon Multimedia group that made her the “Beauty of the Week.”

Royal Whoopi said that post made her “break down,” and about 90 posts later, she now believes she is beautiful — and thanks everyone who has been a part of her self-discovery.

Back to top