The multi-talented Jill Scott glows on the October 2012 cover of ESSENCE magazine. It seems as if the natural hair trend is really catching fire and Ms. Scott is simply gorgeous in tasteful and flawless makeup with fabulous accessories. Stunning.
How many times do black people have to address the issue of dark skin vs. light skin...good hair...bad hair. It's so sad and so unbelievable by people who are not black, regardless of whether black American, Black Hispanic, Caribbean black, etc.
If the truth be told, the problem of self-hatred and skin color envy is so deep and pervasive. If the truth be told, it goes beyond blacks. The desire for blonde hair, blue eyes and light skin is prevalent throughout the ethnicity spectrum and damages the psyche of many not naturally born with those genetic traits. It's easier and perhaps more damaging to blacks who are farther away from Nordic blonde, but others are suffering also.
This madness will continue until people start really loving their natural selves. It's okay to recognize beauty in others but when you do that while hating yourself, the cycle continues. Some of comments from blacks in this video make me angry and sad --- in that order. We know better, let's do better. And to my dark girl sisters, you are beautiful. Know it. Own it. Be it.
For children of all ages, here is a fabulous Sesame Street video in tribute to loving one's hair. Even if your hair is not straight or blond, love it, okay? The earlier we learn this lesson, the better off we'll be. Smooches...
All I can say is that it's about time! I can just image how beautiful the editorials would be. Take a look at the mock covers below. I’m salivating as I type..
Mock covers commissioned by Paris based makeup artist and photographer Mario Epanya.
Epanya comments, “...black women in Western magazines didn’t correspond to African beauty. Women in Western magazines frequently had light skin, fine features, and long hair. Today I think black women want to re-appropriate their image and don’t want others to dictate what is beautiful and what isn’t. Beauty is diverse and today we aspire to more diversity of choice. So when I got the idea to create the covers, I said, why not?”
As you may or may not know, the international Vogue catalog includes Vogue Nippon, Vogue India, Vogue Australia, but no Vogue AFRICA.
How do we get the movement started? I WANT VOGUE AFRICA! Who’s with me??
Before Beverly Johnson, Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks and Iman, there was Naomi Sims. No, she didn't just make cosmetics, wigs and hairpieces, Ms. Sims has been credited as the first black supermodel. That is why her transition from this world without the appropriate acknowledgement by the news and fashion industry, is appalling. Ms. Sims succumbed to breast cancer at 61.
As a teenager during the black pride era, I recall seeing her beautiful brown face on the cover of many magazines and in advertisements. She was elegant and seemed to glide down the runway.
The pioneering Ms. Sims, who would become an entrepreneur and author, paved the way for ethnic models. Initially, she suffered much rejection because of her dark skin but she persevered and became the toast of the fashion industry.
Thank you, Ms. Sims. You blazed a trail that many take for granted today but I thank you for giving little black girls and black women a reason to walk tall and proud. Ashe'.
Meet Ataui Deng. You've seen her in several fashion magazines and ads. You've probably thought she looks a lot like Alek Wek. Well, it's reported that she's the niece of Alek Wek although I find it strange that I've not found a photo on the internet with the two of them together.
Be that as it may, this young woman from the Sudan has taken the fashion industry by storm. Her long legs and luxurious dark skin photograph well in the creations of some of the fashion industry's top designers. Deng continues the legacy of beautiful African supermodels started by trailblazing Somalian beauty, Iman.
OK, this wasn't intended to be a Michelle Obama double play blog post but fashion icon and business woman Tyra Banks dresses as Michelle Obama in a fashion spread for Harper's Bazaar magazine. It's an interesting twist and shows just how much the Obamas have impacted international culture.
While we fully expect Mrs. Obama to be the next First Lady; if she's not, she's proven that she definitely has style and flair.
1977...The Apple personal computer first goes on sale...STAR WARS premieres...Everyone gets SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER...the TV mini-series ROOTS mesmerizes the USA...and...
"Miss Universe Crown is Won by Black woman"
That was the headline in newspapers around the world on July 17, 1977. And indeed it was true, for Janelle Penny Commissiong of Trinidad and Tobago had become the first black winner in the 26-year history of the pageant.
On the night of Saturday, July 16, 1977, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, the memories of Evelyn Miot (Miss Haiti 1962 and first black woman to make the semifinals); Anne-Marie Braafheid (Miss Curaçao and 1st runner-up in 1968); and Gerthie David (Miss Haiti and 1st runner-up in 1975) seemed to inspire Janelle.
During each phase of the competition, she moved closer and closer to doing what no woman of color had done before...to claim the title of the most beautiful woman in the Universe.
"I felt like a ray of sunshine was around me" is how Janelle described the feeling that night.
When Janelle was announced as the new Miss Universe, Trinidad and Tobago went wild. It was another Carnaval in the streets, and Trinidadian television aired repeats of the pageant for days. The 24 year-old Caribbean beauty, daughter of a Trinidadian father and a Venezuelan mother declared that she "believed her election would contribute to erasing racial barriers." Proud of her victory, she noted, "Beauty belongs to all people; it has no racial or geographic boundaries."
On the way to winning the title of Miss Universe, Janelle became only the second Miss Universe to win the Miss Photogenic Award as well.
Janelle Commissiong was born in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad to a Trinidadian father and Venezuelan mother. She migrated with her family to New York at the age of 13. After graduating high school Janelle attended the Fashion Institute of Technology before returning to Trinidad in 1976.
She traveled the World as a goodwill ambassador afterwards, and decided to take a cash prize instead of a contract with Paramount Pictures (one of her Miss Universe prizes).
If you are a black American, chances are you've seen and read JET magazine during your lifetime. For the life of me, I can't remember not having JET or EBONY in my household. Both magazines have done an excellent job in capturing and recording news and history of black people from around the globe.
One of the trademarks of JET is the Beauty of the Week which is a centerfold photo of a woman in a swimsuit, usually a bikini. The men I know usually flip to that page first and then read the news. A post I wrote back in November about one of the JET Beauty models led to a comment by one of the JET photographers, Jacquie Riley Thomas, who took offense to the word 'cheesy' that I used in my post.
Ms. Thomas thought I referred to the photography as cheesy; which is far from the truth. I do think that whole woman in a swimsuit concept is cheesy. I've often wondered, and I might as well write it here, why there aren't any men centerfold models in JET. I know Johnson Publishing Company produces a swimsuit calendar called JET Brothers so a male centerfold is an easy change.
When JET does decide to make that move, here's my short list of guys for the JET Brother of the Week centerfold. Let's see…in no particular order: Terrell Owens, Shemar Moore, Boris Kodjoe, Dustin Brown, the UPS guy that delivers to my office, Harry Lennix and Michael Jai White.
I could go on and on about the sexual objectification of women but that's not really the point. Until men are used as JET centerfold models, no matter how nice the photography, I will continue to think the concept is cheesy.