I decided I was sick of having to get up early on Saturday mornings for hair appointments and sitting for hours for a style that lasted only a couple of weeks.
I also wanted to give my hair a break from chemicals.
Sometimes I wear braids or curly wigs when I want a fuller/longer look, but I keep my own hair happily kinky.
Like most black women, I went through a ton of products after going natural. Eventually, I started using SheaMoisture. The products are pricey, but have been great for my hair.
Recently, the company aired the commercial “SheaMoisture: Break the Wall.” I had to laugh when I saw it, because the commercial looks at what black women often talk about..our small “corner” of hair products in stores.
Some folks have found the ad patronizing. Poor black women have to go to the ethic aisle, as if there is something wrong with that. And/or think it’s just a way to attract mainstream (white women’s) dollars. White women won’t feel “scared” to go to the ethnic aisle if the products are in the regular “beauty” aisle.
I was shocked when I saw this new picture of singer Elle Varner:
Why in the blue hell would she downgrade her look from a cute brown-skinned/naturally curly-haired quirky girl, to another cliché blonde haired/skin bleached black female singer. I find it amusing as black women celebrities are doing this, Hollywood’s current love affair is with a dark-skinned/short-haired African woman (Lupita Nyong’o). This is why women of color should never listen to the Hollywood Industrial Complex. It will have you all f*cked up.
Recently, Cameroonian/Nigerian artist Dencia, was criticized for promoting her skin bleaching line–Whitelicious:
*sigh* In an imperialist white supremacist patriarchal (thank you, bell hooks) society, there is an agenda to keep darker skinned people oppressed/and to make lighter skin people feel they have an advantage. The point is to make folks of color feel bad about ourselves so that we (1) buy products, and (2) don’t question/keep the status quo in tact. It hurts my heart that so many folks of color have fallen for the okey-doke and/or contribute to the problem.
This is not just an issue with Black American women or African women, but a global problem. All across the world, folks of color have bought into light/white is right:
It’s disturbing how pervasive this has become… It takes a lot of strength to resist this brainwashing. It’s hard for many folks of color, as they are browbeaten/bombarded 24/7 with images that light/white is better.
Here are some folks whose mission is to deconstruct the rigid beauty standards of women of color/women in general:
I’m sure most folks have heard/seen this racist ad courtesy of Las Vegas.com…If not, here ya go:
The Sapphire stereotype is an image mainstream media loves of black women. They can project all of their hatred of blackness/women on this caricature. The loud black woman rolling her neck with long acrylics at her customer service job, dehumanizes black women who work in these positions . The Sapphire stereotype has been around forever.
As noted on the website, For Harriet: celebrating the fullness of black womanhood:
“Hard, strong, emasculating, overbearing and controlling are all characteristics of the traditional Sapphire stereotype. Sapphire was created to threaten the power of the black male and to place a negative gaze upon any black woman who dared to critique the horrible conditions black women had to face. The Sapphire stereotype was popularized by the character, Sapphire Stevens, in the mid 20th century television show Amos ‘n’ Andy. Today Sapphire has evolved into the angry black woman. This stereotype is probably the most popular characterization of black women today. This woman is always yelling, starting fights, and insulting men. Reality television is perpetuating this stereotype more than ever by highlighting fights between black women and failed relationships with black men. This stereotype has become such a popular way to view black women that our first lady, Michelle Obama, who exudes grace and class has been classified as a modern say Sapphire.”
I agree with the blogger’s sentiment. It’s obvious the images of black women have grown worse due to the presence of Mrs. Obama. There seems an urgent agenda to degrade and tear down the self-esteem of black women/girls. They can’t have other black women/girls thinking they can achieve all that Mrs. Obama has, now can they? Mrs. Obama was also initially portrayed as an angry black woman/Sapphire. The early criticisms included: her not smiling enough, her words “for the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country,” and her insistence on being viewed as equal to her husband. It’s not surprising that Mrs. Obama has now been regulated to background status. Now she is loved by the masses, because she no longer posses a threat. It’s obvious she has been forced/coerced to soften her style. White feminists have criticized this change, but it just show that they have failed yet again, to look at the complexities of women of color lives. It’s a thin line Mrs. Obama teeters on, as the first black First Lady. While I wish she would do more, I understand. In any case, this commercial shows that black women must be diligent in resisting these stereotypes. These images are being put out there to destroy and colonize our minds.