I got a chance to check out the movie Barbershop: The Next Cut this past Saturday; I was pleased. I enjoyed the cast, the message behind the film, and I especially enjoyed the barbershop talk. The discussions in this movie were real, unfiltered and essential. They were about men, women, politics, race, social media and a whole other slew of things that peaked my interest. However, there was one particular discussion, touched on briefly by the cast, that stuck out to me - black women, their weave shenanigans and black men's love for women who resemble Kim Kardashian. One sister in the shop raised a good point and made a few comments pointing out that some of our men don't appreciate our natural attributes. The discussion then turned to actress/model Lupita Nyong'o, her hair and how most men wouldn't want their woman rocking that hair style because it doesn't represent the typical standard of beauty in America. Some of the men disagreed and implied that they could appreciate a woman with Lupita's characteristics. This made me think. Do some of our men suddenly have a strong affinity for the cocoa and our kinky locks? Are they finally waking up? This discussion reminded me of an article I wrote a couple years ago. See an excerpt below.
According to social media, quite a few men are in love with Lupita's looks. Coming from SOME men, I find this hard to believe because we live in a society where her attributes (dark skin and a short natural hair-do) are not the criteria for beauty. Most of our men are suckers for long hair and light skin. I'm not blaming the brothers for their inflexible interests because we all have been socially constructed by music, television, social media, and some magazines to believe that lighter skin and long hair equate beauty. As kids, the media shaped our views of beauty and had us believing that long flowing hair and slightly tanned skin were the things to like. If you didn't have a parent reinforcing and praising other images of beauty like afros and coffee-colored skin, you were not conditioned to appreciate the type of beauty Lupita brings to the table.
There is an abundance of Lupitas working in Wal-Mart, pumping gas at the gas station, in the hood, riding the bus, etc. Therefore, if men are really into Lupita and her features like they claim to be, then they would date someone who resembles her.
I wrote the piece above because at the time I felt some of our brothers weren't keeping it real. I knew of a few men personally who wouldn't look twice at most of the girls who possessed dark skin and kinky hair but claimed that they were Lupita's #1 fan probably because she was trending at the time. Fast forward two years later, and a lot of people seem to be amazed by these African characteristics. The world seems to be catching on and celebrating different hair types and all the shades of our people. Is the appreciation for our culture real or are some people still on the pro-black bandwagon because it's popular now? I truly believe that some of this new found love is due to having more brown skin women portrayed in the mainstream media. These days commercials feature black women with natural hair and dark skin tones. Seeing more images of ourselves constantly can influence our views in a positive way, and it gives other brown skin women the courage and confidence to celebrate their beauty proudly.
Nowadays, there are several blogs dedicated to just black women and natural hair and paraphernalia being created that celebrates our beauty and uniqueness. Hell, now the hair stores even sell kinky weave and faux dreadlocks! I am truly amazed by it all.
Ya'll know I need that swimsuit above, right?!! It comes from Bareswim.com, and it's available for pre-order now!
I am loving the era that we are are currently in, and I pray it continues. I am so glad that our little girls have women in the media like Lupita Nyong'o and others to make them feel beautiful and give them hope. Black people come in all shades of brown, and we have many different hair textures; this is what makes us beautiful. We are diversity at its finest!
P.S. - Shout out to the women who don't need the media's permission to love themselves, and shout out to the men who have been down with the sisters before it was cool!
- One chocolate girl - Samjah Iman