Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Dash of Brown Sugar


Last year, during Black History Month, I posted "The Colour of Beauty" to help raise awareness to the lack of diversity in the fashion industry and to address society's ideas of what is beautiful - 
            "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..." (February 5, 2012) 
Due to the fact that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" I suggested that we - as women - should  initiate another "Black is Beautiful" movement in order to open the eyes  of others; this was merely an idea last year, but it appears that such an act may really need to occur within today's society. 

Recently, "some 24 labels displayed their latest designs at the Rio de Janeiro Winter 2012 fashion week,... and as in previous years the models were overwhelmingly white. Yet Brazil, home to 190 million people, has the world's second largest black population after Nigeria. Organisers refused to address this perennial lack of racial diversity, although in the past they claimed that 'there is no racial discrimination' in an industry known for its preference for eurocentric standards of beauty. For the first time in June 2009, the Sao Paulo Fashion Week (SPFW) — Latin America's premier fashion event — imposed quotas requiring at least 10% of the models to be black or indigenous. It acted after strong pressure from black groups and Brazilian prosecutors who blasted the SPFW's longstanding bias towards white models. Previously, only a handful of black models featured among the 350 or so that sashayed down the catwalk — usually less than three percent. 'Unfortunately, in 2010, a conservative prosecutor removed the quotas'...;" (Times Live, January 14, 2012) as a result, onlookers only got to see a small dash of brown sugar on the runway.


Nothing seemed more fitting to this post than
Harlem Sweeties
Langston Hughes

Have you dug the spill
Of Sugar Hill?
Cast your gims
On this sepia thrill
Brown sugar lassie, caramel treat
Honey-gold baby
Sweet enough to eat.
Peach-skinned girlie,
Coffee and cream,
Chocolate darlie
Out of a dream.
Walnut tinted
Or cocoa brown,
Pride of the town.
Rich cream-colored
To plum-tinted black,
Feminine sweetness
In Harlem's no lack.
Glow of the quince
To blush of the rose.
Persimmon bronze
To cinnamon toes.
Blackberry cordial, Virginia Dare wine
All those sweet colors
Flavor Harlem of mine!
Walnut or cocoa,
Let me repeat
Caramel, brown sugar,
A chocolate treat.
Molasses taffy,
Coffee and cream,
Licorice, clove, cinnamon
To a honey-brown dream.
Ginger, wine-gold,
Persimmon, blackberry,
All through the spectrum
Harlem girls vary
So if you want to know beauty's
Rainbow-sweet thrill,
Stroll down luscious,
Delicious, 'fine' Sugar Hill.

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