Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Colour of Beauty


I believe every shade of skin color is beautiful. Of course, at one point in history one of the most undesirable skin tones, was black. In the 1960's, an empowering cultural movement - "Black is Beautiful" - occurred in the United States by African Americans aiming to dispel the notion in many world cultures that black people's natural features such as skin color, facial features and hair are inherently ugly. (Dr. Stephan doCarmo) In American culture, the prevailing idea perpetuated by the media, was that "black features are less attractive or desirable than white features.The idea that blackness was ugly was highly damaging to the [black community]...According to figures compiled by the Essence market research team, African Americans spend 25% more of their disposable income on personal care products than the general population." Although, the "Black is Beautiful" movement occurred decades ago, it appears that such a movement may need to occur again. 


The Colour of Beauty is a shocking short documentary that examines racism in the fashion industry. It raises numerous questions, but most importantly it questions the color of beauty.
What is the colour of beauty?

Its shocking to believe that today such a question as, is black beautiful, still lingering on; it perplexes me. Black has always and will always be beautiful just as any other skin color. The fact that agencies rarely hire black models, but when they do they want them to look “like white girls dipped in chocolate,” is astonishing; such a discussion as this is appropriately timed. Black History Month is here. To pay tribute to all the beautiful black women who have made history (whom some may have forgotten), I am sharing the stories of just a few noteworthy black women who represent so much.....  

Billie Holiday
was an extremely influential vocalist. "Her vocal style, strongly inspired by jazz instrumentalists, pioneered a new way of manipulating phrasing and tempo."  

Josephine Baker
was multi-talented; she was a singer, a dancer, an actress, and a civil rights activist.  Her sassy style and relentless attitude shaped her career and helped pave the way for future women. 


 Cicely Tyson  
is a successful American actress who help break the racial barriers in the film industry. She has made history, and she is actively making history; her career began in 1957 and it continues today.

Lois Mailou Jones  
was an influential artist who inspired many during the Harlem Renaissance.  

 Bessie Coleman 
 was instrumental to the portrayal of black women; as an aviator in the 20th century Coleman fought against racial and gender discrimination. She is well known for being the first female pilot of African American descent and was the first African American to hold an international pilots license. Her legacy is empowering and her career truly emphasizes that "the sky is the limit."


Madame CJ Walker
was one of the first self-made African American millionaires; she was a successful  business woman who developed and manufactured health care products specifically for black women. 

Ethel Hedgeman Lyle
assisted in improving the social stature of women; she organized and help found the highly esteemed Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., one of the very first black sororities founded by black college women. Her contributions to the black community was essential to the advancement of sisterhood as well as public service. 

Thyra Edwards
 embodies “the spirit of American womanhood.” Edwards was a world lecturer, journalist, social worker, labor organizer, women’s rights advocate, and civil rights activist—an undeniably important figure in the social struggles of the first half of the twentieth century. 
(Gregg Andrews)


Mary Church Terrell
was well distinguished; she was one of the first African-American women to earn a college degree. Also, she was an activist that worked towards the betterment of blacks.

Feel beautiful and look beautiful in your own skin tone. If you don't already own a pair of nude shoes, it's time to buy them; nude shoes appear to still be running the runway.  (spring/summer 2011) 
Nude shoes look great with various looks. If you want to go for a romantic look or a more edgier look, it can be done with the nude shoe. 
 However, women of color may find it difficult to find nude shoes or they may not know what to do when shopping for nude shoes - buy one that matches your skin tone. Although, light colored shoes may look great with some outfits, it's best to wear your own skin tone, if you want that bare skin look. 

Here are images of my nude shoes: the top image shows the shoes that I wore with a dress of similar color; the bottom image shows the shoes that matches my skin tone the best.

There is a world of shades; so when it comes to nude shoes, shop around and find the right shade that best fits you (if your looking for the bare skin look) 

 A poem worth reading; it reiterates the beauty in women, overall. 
Phenomenal Woman

by Ma Angelou
"Phenomenal Woman"
from AND STILL I RISE by Maya Angelou,
copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou.
 Random House, Inc.

Pretty women wonder were my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.
Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
The palm of my hand,
The need for my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

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