Monday 1 February 2010

"With hair they cover theirs with wigs like mops/And
faces they plaster like earthen pots/Even bleaching their skin/For white is not the colour of the land”
- Ayeola Mabiaku

These lines from Mabiaku's “
Black Beauty Gone” mourned the loss of the African beauty, using the African woman as a metaphor, but for this article it portrays where the image of being black and beautiful has gone.
This controversial topic of black/african beauty, has been nagging my mind for some weeks now,maybe this evaluation is based on my religious viewing of model search M-Nets Face of Africa(yes the same show which discovered Nigerian model maverick Oluchi)as its finale(which is taking place in
Lagos) approaches iv found myself in countless discussions as to which model should take the grand prize. Now for anyone who has ever watched this show, u would know its not your conventional beauty search and that the winners,for the sake of being politically correct, are rarely ever classed as the most beautiful of the crop by d average onlooker.

Now this got me thinking, what does this choice of beauty imply, seen as this lucky girl goes on to represent africa on the
fashion runways of the world.There are two schools of thoughts, I have received through my discussions.
One is that its a model search and not a
beauty pageant hence the appreciation of a beauty that's quirky and different(this usually translates to unattractive) While the other school of thought is of the impression that this so called quirky look is how d western world wants african beauty to be portrayed,under the guise that this quirky beauties are genuine un diluted african beauties as opposed to say Adaeaze Igwe(Yobo) who represents, the now common trend of western diluted versions of african beauty, due to their over subscription to hair extensions,toning products,Mac make up and coloured contact lenses

However being a subscriber to all these vices personally ( please read Brazilian weave and
mac make up addict)I find myself agreeing, that black beauty is beginning to look a lot like Bierge. And u my dear reader imply the same , every time when we list Beyonce,Tyra Banks,Lauren London asBlack beauties, we subsonciously insinuate that lighter skin is more beautiful.
I'm not saying these women aint beautiful, in fact I remember many a times screaming Beyonce every time the "who is the finest destinies child" argument came up.All I'm saying is why don't we reach that same conclusion with a native hair patted and make up free celebrity, if ever there is one(now people not Eryka Badu! That would just be hypocritical).

Now if we african female pinoquos were to be honest, the Brazilian weaves, mac make up and
fake eye lashes would go, (ok let's not get ahead of ourselves let's start with taking a short break) and we would show our natural beauty in all its kinky and patchy glory. And celebrate once again those differences that make our beauty different

This brings me back to my question what is black beauty, well again I have gone round in circles, as this question would b hard to answer especially as the african woman has many faces, there is edgy the indian/arabic facial features of the east( found in the Sudan, kenya,somalia) hovering above the beautiful curves of their darker
black bodies, then we have the more rounded facial features of the west above the more curvy and lighter toned black bodies. African beauty is diverse.

So i say, black beauty is not defined by the texture of our hair,the shape of our nose,the colour of our eyes or the darkness of our skin. Its defined by the gracefulness of our walk, the strengths of our backs as we carry our babies and our families through the rigours of life, and our ability to look our best amidst this all.

By Miss L.C


  1. Yeap I totally agree with you L.C, I have always wondered what they see in those skinny babez that is so fine, but I guess they are exotic to foreigners.
    At the same time, I do not like the manufactured looking light skinned babes that tend to compete for pagents, although I think Agbani Darego is stunning!
    Most african men prefer thick women with full boobs and hips but for some reason this is never reflected in such competitions. I dont quite get it myself!

  2. exactly! African beauty is very diverse but that aside it has become something that it really isnt

    Full boobs and wide hips yeah? except everyone believes it looks better on a light skinned, green eyed sista with golden highlight and red pout

    Music videos n all that...
    Oh well

    I guess nothing ever stays the same

    So you cant really define beauty

    its supposed to change afterall
    nice post babes


  3. Very interesting post. I do agree that a lot of us tend to subscribe to those vices i.e Brazilian hair, too much pancake etc etc and that the Beyonces and Lauren Londons appear to be the generally accepted standard of beauty. It's kinda sad actually but na life!

  4. Feel free to pull out the guns now but, personally, I don't think Beyonce is 'beautiful' in the right sense of the word. 'Sexy', yes, kinda. 'Well made-up', mos def. But I think that for one to claim to be beautiful, one has to be able to walk out on the street with no make-up on and still cause some unfortunate brotha to end up on the floor 'cuz his unfocused ass was too busy staring to watch where he was going. I mean, sure in today's world beauty is defined by surgery and make-up and what not but we gotta admit there's still some babes that cause accidents with bed-head and not so much as lip balm on.


  5. I totally agree Fierce. Look at the babe Nikky Minaj, she was so pretty before, but now shes had every sort of surgery possible, and now she looks like a plastic doll about to break! we base beauty on artificiality, how long is ur fake hair, fake nails, fake eyelashes, fake boobs, and now even ass i hear!!

  6. it's nice to see my poem being quoted on this blog

    Aye-Ola Mabiaku

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