The Whitening of Black Women Celebrities

Yesterday, on my favorite entertainment blog, images popped up of celebrities at the  MET Costume Gala 2013. Most were jokes about how terrible everyone looked. I mean the point is they are supposed to look outrageous, not a hot mess :)…But, what really caught my eye, was this photo of Nicki Minaj:

Nicki Minaji @ MET Costume Gala 2013
Nicki Minaji @ MET Costume Gala 2013

I was shocked at how pale she looked. It’s obvious she has been lightening her skin. It seems par for the course these days, that black women can no longer look black in the media. I wrote a bit about this in my latest zine issue. In the piece “the destruction of the brown skin diva,” I looked at the marginalization of the  black female soul singer, in favor of white ones (e.g. Adele).  Besides their music, black women are being white washed in other ways, and that’s how they look. They now have to be the white standard of beauty.  I have nothing against black women wearing blonde, changing hairstyles/colors, because some black women can rock the style. But, it’s a bit disconcerting when the majority of our black women celebrities, are blonde. It’s also disturbing so many are whitening their skin.

Nicki Minaji just a few years ago:

Nicki Minaji 2008-2009
Nicki Minaj 2008-2009
Nicki Minaj 2008-2009
Nicki Minaj 2008-2009
Nicki Minaj 2008-2009
Nicki Minaj 2008-2009

Nicki now:

Nicki Minaj 2013
Nicki Minaj 2013
Nicki Minaji 2013
Nicki Minaj 2013
Nicki Minaj 2013
Nicki Minaj 2013

As an almost forty-year old woman, sometimes it’s hard for me not to get suckered into this white supremacist imagery. So, I can only imagine the impact it’s having on young black women/girls. Our Lauryn Hills, are far and few these days. As a 90’s high schooler/young adult, I remember all the popular dark/brown women singers, at the time. Brandy, Monica, Tanya Blount, Brownstone, Jade, Total, etc. I remember when Lil Kim, was a cute brown girl. Their style was attainable to me, because they looked like me.  Because of the whitewashing of black women celebrities, black women must work even harder to provide alternative images for our young women.

UPDATE: just saw this new single cover for Tamar Braxton…sigh

Tamar Braxton
Tamar Braxton
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