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:
This past summer, I wrote about the “My Black Is Beautiful”documentary. The short film was shown on BET (of all places). Any who, the “My Black is Beautiful” is really a movement to empower young black women. In a society that works hard to make them feel less than, black girls between the ages of 10-18 need to know that they do matter and they are worthwhile. It’s hard for many of them to believe this when everyone (including black media) is telling them their hair isn’t long/blonde enough, butts not big enough, skin too dark, etc. So, despite this campaign being heavily product driven, I am all for what they are trying to do.
The organization offered limited free “My Black is Beautiful” Inspiration Kits. I was able to get one . It arrived in the mail last week. I just cracked it open and it’s a small kit filled with empowerment activities for young women. There’s a Vision Board and Personal Manifesto to post photos, quotes, magazines images, to redefine what beauty is. There’s encouragement to write a I heart Me list to write down the things young women like/don’t like about themselves and to work on this list everyday. The idea is that eventually they will have more good things than bad. There’s also information about how to start a journal. I think that journal writing is a good way for young black women to purge their oppression.
It’s a cute and thoughtful kit and makes me wish I had a daughter to give it to 🙂
The “My Black is Beautiful (MBIB)/Imagine a Future” documentary aired on BET (Black Entertainment Television), last week. The documentary looked at how white/black beauty standards affect the self-esteem of some black girls/women. The documentary is now available in full on YouTube.
I enjoyed the program, although I did have a few problems with it: (1) The irony that the documentary was shown on BET. If ya ask me, BET has contributed to the distorted images of black womanhood. I wouldn’t be surprised if BET played a music video filled with ambiguous looking booty shaking women, right after the documentary ended (2) I have mixed feelings that a blonde haired black woman showed the young woman around Africa. It seemed contradictory to me, but then again she was a hairdresser. I understand they like to experiment with different hairstyles. (3) Once again, black men/boys were left out of the conversation. It’s interesting how gendered this issue has become. I mean I get that women tend to be judged more harshly for our looks, but it’s hard to believe that black men have not been affected by beauty standards, as well. Whether it’s their own struggle with embracing their skin tone/hair texture, or how they interact with black girls/women who do/don’t live up to these oppressive standards (4) The program was wayyyy too short.