actress

glamour magazine honors lupita n’yongo and laverne cox

“we plant the seed of possibility.” –lupita n’yongo

lupita coverthe 24th annual glamour magazine women of the year awards were held last night at carnegie hall, and our darlings lupita n’yongo and laverene cox are two of this year’s honorees.   lupita1lupita was STUNNING per usual wearing an all-white dress from chanel. in her interview with glamour, the actress shared these thoughts on standards of beauty:

glamour: you’ve received lots of attention for your looks. did you grow up feeling beautiful?

lupita: european standards of beauty are something that plague the entire world—the idea that darker skin is not beautiful, that light skin is the key to success and love. africa is no exception. when i was in the second grade, one of my teachers said, “where are you going to find a husband? how are you going to find someone darker than you?” i was mortified.

i’m so amazed and impressed by her effortless candor.  lupita disrupts the beauty matrix when she criticizes european standards of beauty directly to a mainstream magazine that upholds such values. her presence threatens the power imbalance and tells women of color “there’s room in this world for beauty to be diverse.”

glamour called emmy-nominated actress laverne cox, “the face of one of the biggest equality stories in 2014.” always armed with statistics and stories of an oppressed community, cox used her spotlight with glamour to cast light on the injustices perpetrated against the trans people. read her interview here and witness an true activist at work.

 

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viola davis defines herself

according to a new york times article critiquing television writer/producer shonda rhimes, viola davis is less “classically beautiful than kerry washington.”  the star of rhimes’ new show, how to get away with murder, stopped by the view to respond to the negative comment:

“I’m glad that Shonda Rhimes “SAW” me and said “Why Not.” That’s what makes her a visionary.  That’s what makes her iconic.  I think that beauty is subjective. I’ve heard that statement  (less classically beautiful) my entire life.  Being a dark skinned Black woman, you heard it from the womb.  And “classically not beautiful” is a fancy term for saying ugly.  And denouncing you. And erasing you.  Now…it worked when I was younger.  It no longer works for me now.  It’s about teaching a culture how to treat you. Because at the end of the day, you define you.”

19th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - Arrivalsclearly, one of the most beautiful things about viola davis is not just her physical appearance, but her eloquence.  watch how to get away with murder after scandal on thursday nights at 10 pm.

 

uzo aduba wins creative arts emmy

orange is the new black actress uzo aduba won the series’ first acting emmy last night during the creative arts emmy ceremony. she looked stunning as she accepted the best guest actress in a comedy series award for her role as “crazy eyes.”

uzo2 uzo3congrats sis!

girlhood

girlhood is a french film that debuted at this year’s cannes film festival.  the film depicts the lives of black teenage girls coming of age in a paris housing project, and unlike american films that seem to fetishize black women’s suffering, this film takes a more holistic look at the girls’ lives.

 

girlhood is scheduled to debut in the us next year.

my hair, my way, go to hell

french montana learned the hard way about messing with a black woman about her hair. after posting an instagram picture clowning tichina arnold’s gelled down edges, the actress snapped back with the toughest read i’m sure he’s ever received.ta and fm

hearing about this situation begged a larger question for me: why is there so much commentary and criticism around black women’s hair? for example, twitter is constantly ablaze about blue ivy’s hair. you’d think beyonce and jay z were depriving the child proper nutrition the way people feel the need to go in. then there was that whole gabby douglas fiasco.  the poor child couldn’t even relish in the glory of winning an olympic gold medal without folks talking about how her hair was poorly groomed. and don’t forget all those chewbacca memes poking fun at pam oliver during her super bowl coverage. according to the masses, she offended humanity by not having a fresh weave for the event.

add tichina arnold to the cast of sisters mentioned above, and there’s an undeniable pattern of black women being victimized by our community’s stringent standards regarding our hair. like most black women, i grew up getting my hair pressed, braided, pulled and curled, but must admit that i never enjoyed the experience. while it was a chance for me to bond with my grandmother who was a dynamic kitchen sink beautician, we certainly could have found other means to deepen our relationship outside of mild-grade torture.

with these experiences in mind, i’m extremely critical of any beauty standard in our community that 1.) removes people’s individual agency over something as superficial and insignificant as strands of hair and 2.) lacks a clear male equivalent.  the former plays into respectability politics and what black folks, in particular black women, must do to remain upstanding ambassadors for our race. dare to miss your appointment to get your weave tightened and you shall be outcast and ridiculed, fodder for social media posts that reach millions of people. the latter point connotes the role patriarchy plays in forcing women into a role where our appearance is grounds for widespread celebration or degradation — both defined by the male gaze.  it’s not surprising that french montana and not a sister posted the above photo of tichina arnold. it’s male privilege that gives him license to fire shots at a celebrated actress in such a public manner.

in light of yet another hair controversy, i have a psa for my beloved community: whether our names are blue ivy, gabby douglas, pam oliver or tichina arnold, we will do whatever we good well please with our hair. we invite you all to go to hell on scholarships if this fact displeases you.