or is he… as we Jamaicans like to say: ” ‘im jus a fallah fashun! “

We all consider ourselves attractive… or at least want others to consider us attractive. There are billions of dollars spent for products and surgeries, by both men and women, regardless of race, creed, ethnicity, region and religion, in a personal effort to attain a semblance of what is considered attractive by the society at large. This begs the question: what is considered to be “attractive” by our particular society? Obviously, since our dominant community is eurocentric based and their influence is indeed worldwide, then European features are presented to us in daily images, whether on t.v. or in print, as the standard to which attractiveness is judged and therefore to be attained.

Straight hair (preferably blond), pointy nose, thin red lips, blue or light coloured eyes, white complexion, red cheeks, slim body, large but firm breasts, flat butt and long straight legs is the measure of perfect eurocentric beauty. Now most people in the world do not conform to this ideal image, however any combination which includes as many of these traits as possible, moves one up on the attractive-ness scale.

We see the effects of this within the black community. Black women sporting straight hair or weaves, with red lipstick, red blush on their cheeks, white powder to lighten their skin clour… and some even going so far as to wearing contacts to make their eyes lighter. Take a look at any fashion magazine, or magazine in general for that matter, which features Black models and/or female celebrities like Beyonce, and you will observe that the lighter the Sister and the more European features she displays, the more attractive they are considered… so the more prominent they are. Look at the cover of any issue of O magazine. Oprah’s skin tone is always “lightened up” with bright red lips, long straight hair and airbrushed to look thinner and firmer than she really is. I remember the buzz around the July 2008 issue of Italian Vogue which featured “Black” models. Click on the image below to see a preview of some of the pics. It’s interesting what is blatantly portrayed as black beauty.  

One of our more popular posts here is “Do Black Men Respond To Natural Hair”, which brings to mind the documentary produced by Chris Rock called “Good Hair”. It has been estimated that Black women spend an estimated $9 billion per year getting the kink out of their hair!

Growing up in Jamaica, I observed the issues around colourism in a neocolonial eurocentric society. Light-skinned women and men, with predominant European features were considered more attractive and therefore desirable. They were referred to as “Royals” or “Brownings”. Jamiacan reggae singer Buju Banton’s first hit in 1992 was a song entitled “Love me Browning”. Conversely, African features such as dark black skin, woolly hair, a broad nose and thick black lips were considered ugly. Here is an excellent and informative article about the issue of colour in the Dominican Republic where Sosa is from entitled: “Black Denial”.  

So really it’s no wonder that Sammy Sosa feels that to be considered more attractive, desirable and therefore acceptable by the society at large, including the Black community, he needs to lighten his skin and wear green contact lenses. Although the obvious poster child for this mindset was Michael Jackson, if we are honest with ourselves, most of us are complicit in some way in making it a “fashun”.