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Is the Face of Black Beauty Changing?

Ever since “12 Years a Slave,” actress Lupita Nyong’o has held the world’s attention. Some say she’s extremely beautiful while others (namely Blacks) say she’s as average as other Black girls. This article says Lupita is changing the face of beauty. While I agree that she has ushered the beauty in diversity to the forefront, I also find the acclaim a bit offensive. So, are they saying that darker hued women weren’t seen as attractive until she came on the scene? Just last week, a co-worker told me that she thinks Grace Jones is gorgeous. I disagree with that, but it made me question what makes a person beautiful in another’s eyes, especially when it comes to other races. At one time, I remember thinking that the more European- or exotic-looking a Black woman was, the more she was seen as beautiful. As I got older and exposed to more cultures, I started to appreciate differing features that made one’s beauty stand out. Now, I see beauty in just about anyone whose body has not been abused to the degree of malformation/discoloration. It makes me wonder…. was it the blatant desire of the slave master on the big screen that caused others like him to release their repressed thoughts of a Black woman’s desirability, or is it really that the contrast of Lupita’s dark skin against her brilliant smile, her stylish natural hair and physical build that has others taking notice?

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