I want to share a point of view with you. But I need you to close your mind’s eye and empty it, if you can, of your prejudices and your perceived “preferences,” and read carefully what follows.
First, forget all that nonsense that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” While there may be a mustard seed of truth in those dull, uninspiring, shopworn words, it isn’t relevant, nor does it negate in any way, what I am about to say.
Are you beauty stupid or ignorant?
I want you to picture a supremely composed young woman.
Imagine her dressed elegantly and stylishly. (This is no wanna be “sexy” diva, desperately seeking after the wrong kind of attention.)
And although you haven’t heard her utter a single word, it is obvious by her dress and the very way she sits quietly there that she is sophisticated and cultured.
She speaks. You are not disappointed. Her voice is like a lullaby–you are lulled by the lilting, melodious sounds produced by her being. Her refinement is confirmed.
But there is more: Yes, with her words, she further reveals that she also has an astute and thoughtful mind.
Like a prisoner held against your will, you are captivated. And you are not the only one. Everyone else is too. She has that effect.
Now, open your mind’s eye and look: Did you picture anyone who even looks remotely like the young woman pictured above?!
I would wager that, regardless of your race or ethnicity–and if you are truthful–the answer is most likely a no or hell no, and not a hell yes.
Well, her skin is devil dark when white is always in and caramel is trending.
Her hair is too short, too kinky when giant, corkscrew curls are the coveted hair du jour.
Her racial heritage is decidedly undiluted at at time when negro blended with preferably anything else but negro is all the rage. (Yes, I said negro.)
She’s not a man. After all, Billy Dee W., Denzel W., Idris A., and Michael E. have never been accused of “redefining handsomeness.” Because a man of color with some arguable level of attractiveness, regardless of the shade of his skin or the length or texture of his hair, just gets to be swoon-worthy.
But if desirability is a heap, then a dark-skinned woman, especially a black woman who dares to be too dark and with hair that is too short and too kinky, is buried at the very bottom of that heap under the weight of beauty stupidity and ignorance and self-hatred.
We have all been carefully taught to be beauty stupid.
However, here’s a truth: Since this young woman came to Hollywood in 2013, she has been hailed as the woman of color who is redefining beauty. But I think this is total piffle, utter nonsense! If you do not believe me, Photoshop her skin caramel, add some big, curly hair, and change nothing else, you will not be able to truthfully deny this: Lupita Nyong’o is dazzling!
For me, Lupita cannot redefine what she genetically is: stunning. But she is a reminder that it is past time to dispensed with our beauty stupidity; our destitute appreciation of the infinite combination of qualities that can make a woman uniquely enchanting; and for us black people, our evident self-hatred.
Call to action: Are you beauty stupid? If so, what are you going to do about it?