Why black women can’t represent


Nicole Biredu, aspiring model

Do you think the standard of beauty in the media has changed or do you think we still have a long way to go?
I feel that it has somewhat changed, the media are trying to embrace people of all different colour, shape and sizes. Even so, I believe that it is only to a certain degree. There is still quite a way to go

Fenty Beauty recently came out with 40 foundation shades for light and dark-skinned women, which is amazing. Mention a time where you struggled to find the right foundation shade or any other beauty product to match your complexion. How did you feel? Do you think more needs to be done?
Yes, not being able to find the right foundation shade has been an issue for me in the past, especially with the higher- end brands as most of them featured very light tones. I had to buy my foundation from specific ethnic company’s such as Mac. This was quite frustrating as I had a limited choice. I do still believe that a lot has to be done, all companies, especially designer higher- end brands should embrace darker foundation/beauty tones, I feel that it shouldn’t only be ethic specific brands.

How would you like to see Black beauty depicted in the media in the next couple of years?
Simply for all skin colours and undertones to be embraced equally, whether it be in magazine spreads, on the runway or commercially

Lastly, what are your thoughts about the Nivea billboard for fairer skin in Africa?
I find it quite bizarre that an African country, which is filled with individuals of all colours, would imply that having ‘fairer skin’ is the way forwards to looking beautiful. If ethnic countries cannot accept darker skin tones, then it makes it harder for the rest of the world to. You should feel comfortable and beautiful in the skin God created for you

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Sarah Owusu, artist

If you could describe your skin complexion, in two words what would it be?
I would describe my complexion as rich and ebony

Growing up, did you encounter any challenges over your complexion and how did you overcome it?
Growing up, I didn’t encounter any challenges with my skin complexion until I started a new primary school after coming back from Ghana after a few years of schooling there. Some of the children would sometimes refer to me as “blick” and what’s saddening about this is that the few children who were saying this were black children. Fortunately, although hurtful, it wasn’t something which bothered me much it wasn’t anything that I had to overcome

Do you think the standard of beauty in the media has changed or do you think we still have a long way to go?
The standard of beauty has slightly improved but I definitely would not say it has truly changed. I think the only reason why the media is more inclusive of more skin tones now is to meet their “diversity” targets but not because they believe that a black woman is truly beautiful. Often also, you find that a mixed-raced girl would be used to sit in for all black women in some commercials when that isn’t a true representation of what a full black woman looks like. I feel there should be a fair representation of every type of woman in the world from the fairest white to the deepest shade of black. Then, we could say that the media has truly changed, when every woman can watch most commercials and see herself in the models

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Fenty Beauty is now offering 40 foundation shades. Was there a time  you  struggled to find the right foundation shade or any other beauty product to match your complexion.
I highly commend Fenty Beauty for launching their brand with 40 shades right away because that confirmed to me that larger brands purposely leave black, Asian and minorities out of their brands, not because they’re “testing” out how their first couple of shades will do but because they do not feel we’re important enough for them to include us, nor are we their “target market”. 

Lastly, what are your thoughts about the Nivea billboard for fairer skin in Africa?
Skin bleaching is a serious epidemic which needs to be banned not only in Africa but across the world. Having lighter skin is unfortunately an ideology which sits in the subconscious mind of many black women and men. This is not by choice, but rather that our minds have been infiltrated with the notion that “white is right” for close to 500 years now and this in turn determines the actions of many black people which leads them into thinking that whitening their skin will brighten their futures (literally), improve their overall quality of life and unfortunately make them more “beautiful”. This also ties into the inferiority complex that having lighter/white skin automatically makes someone more important or above oneself, when this is far from the truth.

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1 Comment

  1. by Nana Dokuaa on 12/29/2017  5:47 PM Reply

    Beautifully written article. I am so glad you have touched on how difficult it is for us black women in this eurocentric obsessed world. What breaks my heart is that is that even in Africa ( the motherland) , woman are going through the same struggle. Well done for addressing this issue.

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