28 July 2013

Celebrity Skin Color

I noticed. Beyonce's skin has changed. I googled it and found images and articles observing the same phenomenon.

While I fully acknowledge that images are able to be photoshopped, I still believe Beyonce has lightened her skin. And then I saw these photos. Totally a reality. I cannot judge her or others who have done the same. I've never been in their shoes. But I can evaluate the effect it will have on my African-American daughters.

One article states:

"...every woman of colour has an important social and cultural history that cannot simply be bleached away or denied by the use of hair straighteners. That's why I passionately believe that Beyonce's ignorance of how this betrays her heritage is so insidiously damaging to all people of colour..."

"Today, Hollywood may love Halle Berry with her light brown skin tone, but obviously black actresses by and large don't make the A-list."

"The truth is that though things have slowly been changing for the better, skin still matters, and on the whole, the world believes it is better not to be dark."

"Surveys in the U.S. have proved that, all things being equal, the lighter skinned that people are, the more chances they get in life, and the more respect they receive..."

"So why do these attitudes persist so long after independence in the 21st century? Academics studying these trends say it is because of globalization and the emergence of 'international beauty' prototypes based on the looks you see in fashion magazines and films..."

".. these idols are shallow and do not understand how frivolous choices affect and undermine the self-esteem of women and children of colour." -www.dailymail.co.uk

So what does all of this mean for my family? Well, I suppose it means less media in our home. As of now there is almost no media in front of the children. They are all under the age of five and are not yet interested. In the future there will have to be a discussion about why some people choose to lighten their skin. Maybe it will come with the same conversation as why some people will judge them based solely on their skin color. Though I accept that people have the right to alter their bodies however they want, I do wish those in the spotlight would consider the effect their alteration have on others, especially children and teens.

The same article states:

"The young daughter of one of my relatives even tried to scrub her 'dirty' skin off with a Brillo pad, such was her loathing for her natural colour..."

"My little girl Ciara is 13, her hair is curly and I don't let her straighten it, and she had a beautiful toffee- coloured skin tone... she has seen Beyonce and she is telling me she hates her hair and wants to lighten it and straighten it."

Unfortunately this is all too common. Precious African-American daughters are being brainwashed into the slavery-spawned idea of "lighter is better", and instead of combating this falsehood with the truth of their natural beauty, society bombards them with a full arsenal of you-are-not-good-enough. I, like all other teens, grew up with body image issues. I cringe to imagine my darlings having to add skin color and hair texture issues on top of the already overwhelming weight of teen troubles. It is our job to do all we can to prepare them for the imminent onslaught. Waiting until it becomes an issue will not do. Start now. Start when they are babies. Build them up so high that no one can tear them down.

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  1. my full AA daughter's skin is barely darker than my biracial son (they have no biological relation). Now, she has kinky curly hair and he has super soft curls, so that is a big difference.
    I think that God makes every different skin color. I am as pale as can be, but ya know what...I try to get as much sun as possible because I like how I look with darker skin. I think it can be a personal preference. Just my opinion.
    Just because someone tans or bleaches their skin, doesn't mean they are denying their racial heritage.

  2. Now THAT is a VERY good point. I never thought about it in flip view. TANNING. I don't purposely tan now since I researched just how life threatening the suns rays can be, but I used to be a tanning bed junkie. I now disagree with it, but having once been in the mindset of changing my skin color will make me more beautiful, and having this realization you've brought me to I can understand just a little bit why someone would want to change their skin color. I still disagree with it, be it darkening or lightening, but your comment has opened my mind to understanding it better. Thank you!


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