Why #LessClassicallyBeautiful Is So Important

There's no doubt that Viola Davis is taking ABC to the next level in How To Get Away With Murder. The excitement surrounding her role was slightly soiled today, when The New York Times wrote a pretty offensive (and frankly racist) review of the show, congratulating Davis on her success despite being "less classically beautiful." If you're like me when you read those words, your eyes may have narrowed, and your head slightly tilted to the side. It's 2014 and clearly we all have a lot of growing to do still — or, at least, those of us that hold standards of beauty only by how thin your nose is, or how straight your hair can get, or how light your skin color appears certainly need to dial it back a notch and take a look around. Those words suggest that our beauty is measured on how similar we can look to Caucasians. Twitter is none too pleased, launching the #LessClassicallyBeautiful hashtag in response.

When Scandal first aired, I was hooked on the power, the lust, and the many handsome men that seemed to parade around Olivia Pope. I've always loved Kerry Washington from her off-beat supporting roles that span over a decade, but it was the importance of a lead role for a Black-American female on a prime time TV show that made me tune in on the first episode. I wanted it to do well; I wanted it to be the first of many shows that accurately displayed integration in America. When I was younger, I would tune into a show like Friends which allegedly took place in New York City and couldn't believe that in a city known for culture and diversity that there was never a black person even at a coffee shop. That's why the NYT review is so troubling — and why Twitter's response is so flawless.

Folks of all colors and genders took to social and began hashtagging "Lessclassicallybeautiful," often posting photos of themselves or their children who may not fit under the NYT's apparent standards of beauty.

What's absolutely hilarious about the less-than-favorable description of Viola Davis was pointed out on Twitter today:

In my humblest of opinions, I can't help, but point out that while the NYT article points out the stereotypes of black women in television being either sassy or angry they have blatantly just made their black female readers sassy AND angry. Good job!

Image: ABC