The beautiful and insightful Leslie, of Naturally Leslie, will be contributing cultural pieces to CN.com weekly! Today will be the first of many fabulous posts. Check it out, and weigh in!

I came across this research paper by a student from Georgia State University (2004) entitled Emulated through Images: The Globalization of Misconstructed African American Beauty and Hip-Hop Culture. The abstract below gives an overview of the what the paper is all about:

From news coverage to entertainment, the media shapes, reflects, reinforces and defines the world in which we live. In publishing, theatre, films, television and popular music–industries largely controlled by white men–Blacks continually struggle for both a voice and representation. Many scholars write about the stereotyping of Blacks in the media (Meyers, 1999; Davis, 1989). Light skinned Black women with classic European features predominate in beauty pageants, music videos, and in the world of modeling. It is with respect to the world of modeling and music that this discussion will examine the globalization and commodification of Black female beauty. I will examine the historical creation of Black beauty in the United States and Europe and how theses misconstructed images play out globally.”

It’s kind of long but a good read. How do we reconstruct our own beauty within the context of the greater society in which we live? How do we grow to feel comfortable in our skin and celebrate our sexuality without conforming to or perpetuating pre-existing stereotypes about the oversexed Black woman? It’s complicated but an open and honest discussion is the best way to start. Check out the paper over here.

African American Beauty contestants from 1949 supported by a local pie shop
2008 Natural Beauty Contest from ymib

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