Black Beauty

Tribal Beauty There is a belief that “beautiful” is “White” that many girls and women around the world subscribe and adhere to. The media portrayal of images that support this ideal has promulgated the American and European beauty ideal; pale to fair skin, long straight hair – blond is best – light eyes, slim nose, and a skinny figure.

Even highly paid Black fashion models such as: Iman, Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, Liya Kebede, Jourdan Dunn, and the ill-fated Katoucha Niane, tended towards having a slim figure, fair skin, and straight or, at least, smooth hair.

In other words, Black models have to be an exotic twist upon normative White features in order to be considered beautiful and employable.

Black Fashion Models

For the most part even the “passable” Black models are consigned to double bookings with a White model and/or to modeling exotica and “urban” fashion.

This has naturally led to Black girls and women being presented with a beauty ideal that they are genetically and physical incapable of fully meeting, though many people were willing to make money selling them “treatments” to get them a little closer to it.

In the U.S. specifically, many Black women were faced with a beauty ideal that did not resemble the reflection in the mirror. Many entrepreneurs began and sustained successful businesses based on selling the white ideal to the Black woman. Skin lightning became a common practice in the Black community

— Kathy Russel
The Color Complex:
The Politics of Skin Color Among African Americans

That’s a crying shame since – leaving all the societal ills caused by cultural self-image problems aside for now – there’s many, many different roads to beauty and/or sexiness and Black women who look like any of the myriad varieties of Black women can and have traveled many of them.

Women – Beautiful, Sexy, and Black

Phenyx Rose
Esther Baxter
Buffie “The Body” Carruth

Sadly, I have to point out that while these three relatively successful models: Phenyx Rose, Esther Baxter, and Buffie Carruth, are all beautiful Black women with darker skins, more classically African features, and figures of differing the “White ideal,” they do all possess straight hair either through genetics or chemical artifice. I could not find Black pin-up style models who didn’t have “good hair.”

They are each, however, examples of beautiful and quite sexy Black women who can’t “pass” as an exotic twist to the media and fashion industries’ beauty ideal.

Related Reading:

Cam Jansen and the Mystery of the Babe Ruth Baseball
Superpower: Three Choices for America's Role in the World
The Beauty Detox Solution: Eat Your Way to Radiant Skin, Renewed Energy and the Body You've Always Wanted
Women: A Novel
Fashion: A History from the 18th to the 20th Century

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7 Responses to “Black Beauty”

  1. Tariq zeyad Says:

    Very very beautiful pictures
    Thank,s
    My email adress (zeyad@mail2lovely)
    My facebook id name :Tariq zeyad

  2. John Says:

    “Sadly, I have to point out that while these three relatively successful models: Phenyx Rose, Esther Baxter, and Buffie Carruth, are all beautiful Black women with darker skins, more classically African features, and figures of differing the ‘White ideal,’ they do all possess straight hair either through genetics or chemical artifice.”

    Just so you know, there are white men, like me, who appreciate the natural beauty of voluptuous women with African features. They can be dark, light or medium – that doesn’t matter to me. Those women that you posted are beautiful.

  3. jonolan Says:

    Yeah, John. I gave up looking for models with natural hair. Black women’s hair as apparently became too politicized for that. I know my wife bitches about how the way she wears her hair has too much perceived meaning.

    BTW – you might like this post (NSFW) on another blog of mine.

  4. Ebby Lane Says:

    You’ve redeemed yourself here. Haha! This is so real and coming from a black woman who happens to wear her hair in its natural state, not seeing black models embrace this is disheartening. What is more disheartening is this ideal of beauty is heavy in the black community and black men have fallen for the Hollywood European standard of beauty. When I was dating, it was pretty interesting how many black men I came across that told me that they only dated white girls exclusively. And, I have no problem with interracial relationship, I’ve dated outside of my race, however when you date someone not because you like them, but because they are a certain color… I just cannot comprehend that. I digress, I agree with your post and am glad someone else noticed this.

  5. jonolan Says:

    ROFLMAO – yeah, well…I’m the White guy – older and Southern too – that is dangerous and rather disliked in the “Black Community.” I can speak intelligently and educatedly about Black women’s hair, both its types – my wife has 4c – and a lot of the sociopolitical statements it makes.

    Really though, when I started this particular rant, I wasn’t thinking about hair nearly so much as I was thinking about skin color, facial features, and more common body types. The hair part didn’t come in until I couldn’t find a Black glamour model (no point in looking for fashion models) with anything close to natural hair.

  6. Ebby Lane Says:

    Wow, the fact that you know the exact hair type is surprising. There are women who do not know the name of their hair type. Yeah, I got carried away about the hair because hair type is huge in the black community and though, naturalist have started a movement, mainstream has yet to catch on. And, don’t get me started on models. They do not represent the common woman for any ethnicity. For one, all of them are photoshopped and far from real.

  7. jonolan Says:

    Well, the only reason I know is because she taught me – though she claims 4b sometimes. I’m guessing she’s right on the cusp. It’s also almost a moot point since she’s been wearing cornrows – down to her but now 😀 – for a little over a decade.

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