It took over 400 years but the day has finally come. Black women are finally considered attractive. It was announced today that People magazine named Lupita Nyongo the most beautiful person in the world. I guess now that a mainstream(white) magazine has said it–it MUST be true. Of course I’m being sarcastic, but I don’t believe the hype. I think many black women,in particular dark skinned women,will see this as a triumph. I personally think many dark skinned beauties are overlooked in the media. They love to glorify the mixed/biracial types. The ones that I consider “pseudo-black”. So the fact that a dark skinned,full lipped woman with natural hair is on the cover seems surprising. But there’s been quite a lot of hype around Lupita this past year. It’s due to her portrayal in the slave film,12 Years a Slave. She was very good in that film I must say. Although I’m tired of the “slave,butler,maid” films. But that’s another subject altogether. I don’t want black people to get too excited over this cover story though. I believe that Lupita’s beauty is fetishized by the media. There are so many white/latina/mixed women seen as beautiful in the movies that Lupita seems like an alien by comparison. The media portrayal of dark skin is always put in a negative light. No matter how beautiful a dark skinned woman might be,she never will get the praise a white women does. Or a biracial woman for that matter. As a matter of fact the last woman of color to make the cover of People’s most beautiful list was Beyoncé back in 2012. A decade ago biracial beauty Halle Berry graced the cover. I guess it was a slow progression until they got to a woman with dark skin. But the past years have been Kate Hudson 2008,Christina Applegate 2009,Julia Roberts 2010,Jennifer Lopez 2011 and plain Jane Gwyneth Paltrow in 2013. All average looking women in my opinion. Although I will admit that Lopez does have nice curves. But even having nice curves,nice butt and full lips are still more recognized in the media when they are on a non-black woman. A woman like Lupita should have been on the cover a long time ago. To be honest I think Lupita is hands down the prettiest woman they’ve ever had on the cover. But I think it’s just one moment in time. This fascination with Lupita reminds of when I was a kid in the 80’s with Grace Jones. The media was fascinated with this “tall,dark skinned African looking” woman. I don’t think it will last. In a system of white supremacy you have to make black people feel that they’re ugly,inferior and less than. There’s no way they will keep this trend going. It would throw a wrench in their system. You have to instill a sense of inferiority in people of color. This is what happens in films,television and magazines to keep the system going. Even Lupita herself has battled with issues of skin color. Earlier this year she was at an awards show and spoke from the heart.
She mentioned how she would pray to God that she would wake up with lighter skin, “I tried to negotiate with God: I told him I would stop stealing sugar cubes at night if he gave me what I wanted; I would listen to my mother’s every word and never lose my school sweater again if he just made me a little lighter, but I guess God was unimpressed with my bargaining chips because He never listened.”
That’s a very painful thing to hear. But it’s a reality that many young black girls have to live with. Black parents must instill a sense of pride in their children. So that they’re proud of their culture,race and heritage. It would be nice in the coming years if People magazine were to name Lauryn Hill,Kelly Rowland,Tika Sumpter,Lanisha Cole and Tomiko Fraser has the most beautiful. But…..I wouldn’t wait to long for that. I don’t think we should wait for validation from white owned publications to tell US what is beautiful. We as black people know that we have unique beauty all out own. I say congrats to Lupita. You are a gorgeous sista. But you were already beautiful as a young girl growing up in Kenya. Long before you ever knew about People magazine.