I guess this is another post for your girl cousins, but here goes …
I could scroll though it for days. I’m still trying to articulate exactly what it is about SO MANY BEAUTIFUL BLACK WOMEN ALL IN ONE PLACE that feeds my heart so profoundly.
So there’s Essence, the magazine for today’s black woman. Except I don’t read it. Well I do, but not for me. I read it because it is my job to study African American culture. You will find your mother in the bathtub with a stack of Elle, Vogue and Bazaar.
Those are for me. But not really for me.
I learned to read those with my AMERICAN filter on. I know that the skin and hair articles and advice and products aren’t really for me. When they say “dark” skin, theeeeey mean her. When black people say dark-skinned, they mean her.
All of this can be confusing if you are trying to talk foundation.
So I put on my filter and I ignore the parts that ignore me.
Essence, on the other hand, is is supposed to be all about me … but they aren’t. And that’s okay. I don’t feel inspired by the fashion styling or photography, but a lot of women are.
I don’t know if you have noticed yet, but my clothes frequently don’t match. And I’m a bit of an oddball when it comes to fashion. Essence made Suede Magazine for girls like me and I LOVED IT. But then it died.
But somehow in FYBB, the constant stream of natural relaxed curvy thin models non models light medium dark funky conservative famous anonymous black girls just DOES it for me.
Some things I know in my head. I know that the standard of beauty is set by the dominant culture. I know that. I know that black women have held it down for AGES. Our strength is legendary.
But every woman, sometimes, just wants to be feel … feminine. Desired. Cherished. For her beauty. Her beauty, not for her strength.
This is particularly true for the mules of the world.
And sometimes I think we try EXTRA hard to be sure that our brown babies feel beautiful. Books about your hair. And how beautiful brown eyes can be. Nobody wants to read a book called LAWD HA MERCY LET THIS CHILD HAVE SOME SELF-ESTEEM!
I know how important these books are, and I buy them. But I always throw in a healthy dose of Jack Ezra Keats. Some things can just make you feel, instead of telling you how to feel.
So I guess some things you know in your head, and other stuff you know in your heart. And this blog makes me feel beautiful in my heart.
In this day and age of “black women are scientifically ugly,” this Tumblr never fails to make me really feel like I’m one of the pretty girls. And I am stunned by the anonymous just as often as I am wowed by a model.
So I’ll cover Zaria’s eyes when I type in the URL, but I can’t let her miss the matter-of-fact parade of validation that shows her that a beautiful black woman is not the exception. It’s not one page in Elle. It’s not a “very special episode” where you learn to love your hair.
Black beauty? It just is.