Classical Black Beauty
By: Sierra Walton
Back in September, New York Times TV critic, Alessandra Stanley wrote a review about Shonda Rhimes and her television productions. Despite Stanley's labeling of Rhimes, calling her an "angry black woman", what really caught my attention (and the world's attention) was her statement about How To Get Away With Murder star, Viola Davis. The NYT critic used the phrase "less classically beautiful" to describe the talented, gorgeous, multidimensional and two-time Oscar Award Winning Actress.
It was almost impossible for me to remain calm after reading her review. The classification of women of color was starting to become irritating. When is it going to stop, I thought as I scrolled through backlash tweets of several black actresses such as, and other black women. The most beautiful and inspiring thing happened on Twitter. Beautiful women that were different hues of brown began to retaliate by posting pictures of themselves with challenging tweets using hashtags like #lessclassicallybeautiful and #classicallybeautiful.
The beauty of all these gorgeous, brown women coming together to the defense of Viola Davis and themselves, made me realize the importance of knowing one's beauty. It is tiring to see that black women are continually being labeled by society, which has it's own standardized views of beauty in comparison to that of European connotations we've been born into. Enough is enough. Women of color obtain different dimensions of beauty, rather than just physical appearance. We are multidimensional. We craft things from the remnants of what the rest of the world thinks is useless, and we turn it into treasures that the world then tries to mimic, because we make it pop culture. We are pop culture. IT is time for us to reclaim what's been renamed, and redistributed to make it seem like it's original, but has really been derived from us.
No longer will women of color ignore phrases like "less classically beautiful." I would not expect someone as simple-minded as Alessandra Stanley to understand the complexity of the different dimensions of beauty of black women. It's something that most cannot grasp, and those that cannot fathom it tend to copy.
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