…Because NO one can do it quite like we do…

6 Mar


A couple of days ago, I was logging onto the web to access my email when I saw this picture of a young brown girl. She was clearly a model, though I wondered what had happened or what she had done to make headlines on almost all popular websites that cover news. The Headline read: “White African Queen”, and upon seeing this well I just had to read on. There was a picture, followed by a byline that said, “Numéro magazine used a highly bronzed blond-haired, blue-eyed white model in one of its fashion editorials entitled ‘African Queen.'”


Eurweb.com wrote about the photos: “The model, however, is a white girl…in blackface. In fact, she’s in blackbody, with dark makeup covering all of her exposed skin”

Here she is, 16 year old Ondria Hardin, the white model from North Carolina who the magazine chose to cover up in bronzer calling it “Celebrating African Beauty”

Here she is, 16 year old Ondria Hardin, the white model from North Carolina who the magazine chose to cover up in bronzer calling it “Celebrating African Beauty”

Hmmm….where or how could I begin to tackle this one? I searched and searched reading blogs, posts, articles, and comments to try and get a feel for the way others were feeling about it and well, the quotes kind of speak for themselves. Some thought the controversy was BS, while others completely agreed with the thought that these photos were racist and exploitative.

Staring at this image, trying to decide how I personally feel about it, I recognized that I agree with many in that this could be considered as blackface, that it is highly offensive, that if they wanted to celebrate African beauty they could have used an actual African, white skin or brown,and that the fashion industry is continuously exploitative and racist towards people of color. My main consensus though, is that this girl, Ondria Hardin, she just cant do it tthe way we do.

You see, being of color is a culture all its own. Completely different from anything else. And having dark skin, well, if you have pale/white skin and have ever been discriminated against because you were weak, disabled, female, blonde, heavyyset, just imagine being black on top of that…things get a tad more complicated.

What’s more, is that upon seeing this photo I almost immediately laughed to myself because when I was growing up, having dark skin was a bad thing. It was better to be light skinned, and it was best to be white. There’s a old saying that runs deep in southern rooted families that says,

“If you’re black get back. If you’re brown, stick around. If you’re white, you’re all right”.

This saying developed way back beyond the 60’s and Civil Rights and Rosa Parks. It carries through to 2013 because well, not many people have proven it wrong. In a few of the Ethnic and Gender Studies Classes we examined whether or not children recognize race. We found this video that reveals the way children are socialized into categorizing certain races as good and others as bad. This is disturbingly what we came to find:

Kids on Race


Children not only know race, they are learning, being taught somewhere, that to be a brown child is to be bad. They dont want it. They are, essentially, growing up unconsciously hating a huge part of their identity! If you’re black, get back.

Kids on Race Cont.


Ironically, people with lighter skin, though I do not want to generalize it is mainly white people who tan. All of a sudden, they want to be darker! They use bronzing lotions, tanning beds, cancerous sunlight…all this to get darker. Ain’t if funny how life goes around?

At the end of the day though, while conversations about racism, prejudice, could go on forever, I maintain that if the magazine editors truly wanted to celebrate African beauty, they should have hired a true African woman rather than insulting the African people as a whole by painting some other girl’s skin; because no one can do it quite like we can.

Beauty like this cannot be replicated with bronzer...sham eon anyone who thinks otherwise.

Beauty like this cannot be replicated with bronzer…shame on anyone who thinks otherwise.


One Response to “…Because NO one can do it quite like we do…”

  1. Mark March 7, 2013 at 10:53 pm #

    Great concluding paragraph. I couldn’t agree with you more.

    Quite a long break in between your posts. I realize you’re busy, but try to publish more consistently. Not every post needs to be lengthy. Seize the opportunity set up by the structure of the class by using the workshop time productively.

    On a technical note: you should begin to Tag and Categorize your posts, as this makes them more noticeable to Google and thus more likely to be deemed ‘relevant’ and turn up in search results if someone is using key words in a search related to your topic.

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