Sunday 20 February 2011

SKIN DEEP


Over here the media are having a go – as they say – at Beyoncé for apparently trying to become white, or betraying her roots, or some ridiculous enraging nonsense like that. Essentially because the entertainer (let’s focus on that word shall we) dyed her hair blond and her skin looks a bit lighter in the photograph that they are running in the papers, she is open season for a good lambasting. Oh yes, this is the stuff that makes my blood boil ladies and gentleman, along with…well the list is long and I don’t have that much time this morning as the King has slithered his way under the coffee table.

As someone with olive skin, who is married (for all intensive purposes) to someone with brown skin, and with extremely close relatives with black skin, I’m here to tell you that skin changes colors; no matter what color you started out with. For instance, in winter, my skin color changes to this lovely shade of pallid yellowish gray - it's pretty hot. Call it a seasonal shift, or just got back from holiday glow, or a heavy duty full wattage flash bulb on a paparazzi camera - and yes, one's skin can look a variety of different shades. But somehow I don’t think Beyoncé is having Jay-Z slather on the bleaching cream late at night. She’s just freezing her butt of in New York and her skin needs a nice yacht trip in the Bahamas, cause that’s how B and J roll.

More importantly, what does it say about society when a woman – and an entertainer who is known for her hair and outfit changes galore; yes there is that word again - can’t dye her hair without betraying her race? Seriously, has the media truly become this base and preposterous? Yep seems to be the only answer to this question. This whole argument that people often throw around has always incensed me, the he’s not black enough, or she’s trying to be black, or he’s trying to be white – or yellow, orange or green – enough with the color! You heard it a lot when Obama was running for office, the he’s too white and he’s alienating the black population. Why, exactly? Because any answer to that question is going to be downright offensive to his race. How about he’s simply an educated, well-spoken man and let’s leave it at that. And what exactly would make someone ‘enough’ to their race – do they tick all the stereotypical boxes? Do they talk, walk, sit, dress and fraternize the way society deems appropriate to the color of their skin?

As for Beyonce, she dyes her hair and wears nice clothes, and runs with a certain crowd because she CAN. It’s not a betrayal to anyone, it’s a confirmation that people of any color can do anything, with anyone, at anytime and money opens doors – especially to really nice hair salons that can turn your hair any darn color you want. There is no – or should be no – monopoly on who can do what based on their race. That’s the kind of thing that simply reinforces that human beings want to divide and segregate as opposed to bring together. So tomorrow I’m getting cornrows, eating sushi for breakfast, slapping on a bindi, & chanting like a dutiful Tibetan while I attend a monster truck rally. Just because I can. You have a problem with that?


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