Equalizing The Standard Of Beauty In Entertainment

For today’s piece, I decided to revisit a subject I covered last year at The Uptown Lounge. The saddest part about it is, a year and a half later, we’re still having the conversation as if it were new…with no resolution.

A few weeks ago, Tyrese came under fire for a couple of statements he made in regards to his casting practices for his music video “I Gotta Chick” which features rapper Tyga. When asked about the lack of African American women  represented in the visual, he said that he had an open audition, and that the girls he chose were “the best.” A lot of black women took offense to that statement…and went on to write scathing articles about the inclusion of black women in music videos.

Initially…I took my normal “I don’t care…let the other girls be objectified for the lame comeback video…” stance but after some serious thought, I realized that people do generally look to the media to determine what is deemed “beautiful.” Whether you’re a fan of women getting oiled up and dancing seductively in front of cameras or not, the truth of the matter is, music videos are a powerful tool. If we’re not including everyone…will those left out be considered less than?

Take a few minutes to check out this short documentary on colorism in the entertainment industry produced by Joy Daily. The video features Melyssa Ford, radio Personality Angela Yee, Rick Ross, and Cassidy among others.

When I saw this video for the first time I was AMAZED. Once again, brown skin girls are at the bottom of the barrel. The documentary had a few interesting points:

  • Lighter skinned models are favored over darker skinned models for music videos and movies.
  • If darker skinned models are cast, they are not cast in leading roles.
  • People constantly talk about color issues but no one is doing anything to change it.

What is the issue here? We’re still stuck with a paper bag, light is right mentality. Cassidy mentioned in the video that its hard for videographers and directors to capture emotions in the faces of darker skinned models from a distance (what?) If that were the case, Gabrielle Union and every other brown skinned actress and model would NEVER book a gig. I think that’s an excuse for a mentality that is completely played out.

In our multi cultural society, there are HUNDREDS of examples of beauty. All of which are different. The question is when will we have the guts to step away from the norm and showcase real beauty? Is it even possible for us to change the standard of beauty? It would take a lot of work, but I think it’s extremely important for our children to see women and men that look like them. It all starts with dumping derogatory stereotypes, and getting to know and understand each other. It also requires making people accountable for their choices, and putting ourselves in positions to make decisions in regards to casting.

I’m a brown skinned woman, and I love it. I refuse to believe that there is no one else that feels the same way. Lets empower each other, and in turn empower ourselves. If we build each other up, it will be that much harder for outsiders to tear us down. What do you think?

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