"... Except Being Black."

    " I was a young woman with an evolved mind who was not afraid of her beauty or her sexuality. For some people, that's uncomfortable. They don't understand how female and strong work together. Or young and wise. Or Black and divine..."  - Lauryn Hill

 

" I was a young woman with an evolved mind who was not afraid of her beauty or her sexuality. For some people, that's uncomfortable. They don't understand how female and strong work together. Or young and wise. Or Black and divine..."

- Lauryn Hill

On the fetishizing and appropriation of Black American culture:

Everything about being Black is in... Except actually being black, that is. Full lips. Large backsides. Tanned skin. Protective hairstyles. These features--unappreciated and devalued when present naturally in women of color--are glorified, fetishized, desired and applauded as "exotic" when present on non-women of color. 

From Donna Karan's 'invention' of "slicked-down tendrils" [better known as "baby hair"] during the debut of her Spring 2015 collection; To Kylie Jenner's cornrows...

When white women take on styles and even physical features--lips and backsides, just to name a few--which originate in women of color: These same features--previously ignored and minimized--become beautiful, exotic, desirable... Urban High Fashion.

In the famous words of Amandla Stenberg: "Don't Cash Crop on My Cornrows" ...

As black women, we are expected to be strong. Hard. Tough. Matriarchs. Unbreakable. And while all of these descriptions are ones that I would be proud to embody, I can't help but wonder why we're not also valued for our womanhood. Our vulnerability. Our need for support. Our fragility. Our desire to be loved.

Has the image of the black woman become so hardened by stereotypes that we've been all but forgotten?