The Rise of the BBW (Beautiful Black Woman)

For the first time EVER, black women are overwhelmingly gracing the covers of some of Fashions top magazines. As a black woman and mother, I could not be more proud! I will be going out to purchase EVERY single issue I can get my hands on, and if it is not sold here in the US, I will have to make a few phone calls. YESSS Honey! I am so proud of these women. Rise up and proudly stand in your blackness!

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In case I haven’t made it clear, this is a big deal! HUGE! I am so excited, I can hardly get my fingers to cooperate. Be still fingers! This must be said.
For years, the Black woman has been referred to as a “BBW” which has carried the negative connotation “Bitter Black Woman.” We were told that we were not pretty enough to grace magazine covers because no one wanted to see our faces. We were told we were talented but not the right color to headline shows. We were told that we were loud and ghetto if we wanted to speak our mind. We were told we were unattractive and flashy if we wore bright colors. We were told we were unattractive if our skin was too dark. We were told our lips were too big to wear red lipstick. We were told our hair was too nappy to ever be considered beautiful. We were told that everything about us from the way we talk to the way we walk was unacceptable, and if we wanted to be considered alright, we had to consider acting white. And we said, NO!!
We said “no” silently under our breath when we were too weak to speak up. We said “No” in a low voice but loud enough to be heard when we started to resist and realized not only that we were not alone, but we had a great support system amongst ourselves that was willing to make our voice louder and stronger. WE SAID “NO!” when we realized that to remain quiet and passive meant that the next generation would have to take to the streets one day to continue the struggle of the proud and beautiful black women who came before us, if we were not willing to lift our voices now. And today, we can say YES!
Yes, we are loud, outspoken and opinionated and that does not make us ghetto, that makes us strong. We are selling out the largest stadiums worldwide, staring in the highest grossing action film of all time, making a name for ourselves in politics, and even wearing bright colors against our dark chocolate skin with red lipstick and our natural hair, because we are gracing not just any issues, but the September issues of magazine covers. The September issue is the biggest issue of the year. The September issue is the issue that has the highest advertising budget of the year because it sells the most issues, and is therefore usually saved for the most recognizable names, which historically, has not been a black woman.
I am so overwhelmed that I am almost in tears. No, if you go to a magazine stand, you will not see my face on any of these covers. But, when I go to the store to buy my copies of these magazines, I will absolutely see myself in every single one of these beautiful black women. I will see my friends and family members who struggled with not feeling pretty enough, smart enough, or good enough because the world told them in so many ways (TV, movies, print ads, etc) that they did not fit into the mold that they defined as beautiful. I will see my friends and family members who cried behind closed doors because they knew they were good enough if not better but the world refused to give them a chance. I will see my mother. I will see my grandmothers. I will see my aunts, and I will see my daughters and the generations of beautiful black women who have yet to grace this world with their presence.
Beyonce on the cover of Vogue (the first Black woman to grace the September cover)
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Rihanna on the cover of Brittish Vogue (also the first black woman to grace the cover of the September issue)
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Lupita Nyong’o on the cover of Porter
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Tracee Ellis Ross on the cover of Elle Canada
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Tiffany Haddish on the cover of Glamour
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Yara Shahidi on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter’s Young Hollywood Edition.
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Slick Woods on the cover of British Elle
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Issa Rae on the cover of Ebony
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Naomi Campbell and Adwoa Aboah on the cover of Love
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Zendaya on the cover of Marie Claire
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Lauren Harrier on the cover of The Sunday Times
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These women endured in an industry that not only dominated, but perpetuated the stereotype that black women were not good enough to star in the leading roles, or be anything more than the help unless we were willing to take our clothes off. They rose to the top in spite of this perception while people made flippant comments that they were expected to just let roll off their shoulders and be dismissed as an innocent slip of the tongue. They stood out front and served as the spokeswomen for all of us women who get up and go out into this world every day as we have for years, saying “love me as I am because I am more than enough.”
Thanks to hashtags and campaigns like #Blackgirlmagic, #theblackmancan, #melanin and many more, black men, women, and children all around the world have been able to see and share positive black images of black culture that is more than needed in today’s world. In a time when the “president” of the United States is focusing more attention on reversing everything his predecessor did because he is a black man, than he is on reuniting families that he ripped apart, we need to see positive images.
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In a time where the first lady can wear a jacket that reads “I Don’t Care” across the back while visiting children who have been ripped from their parent’s arms is considered a fashion statement,  while her predecessor was ridiculed for wearing a beautiful dress with her arms exposed simply because she was a black woman, we need to see positive images.
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In a time where the president calls a man who spent $100 million dollars of his own money to open a school for underprivileged youth and provide them with bike’s “dumb”, we need to see these positive images.
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In a time where a man is ostracized for kneeling during the national anthem whose full version includes “…No refuge could save the hireling and slave From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave…” because he was protesting the killing of unarmed black men and women, only to have the narrative changed to say that he was protesting the individuals fighting wars for freedom, we need to see positive images.
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We need to see these positive images because we have been told for so long that we are less, just because of the color of our skin. We have been told that we are not good enough, just because of the color of our skin. Our accomplishments have been down-played, just because of the color of our skin. We have been forced to accept injustices while our men and children are murdered in cold blood by those who swore to serve and protect all, then told that we were wrong for saying “Black Lives Matter”, when it was clear that the actions of those who swore to serve and protect “All” were saying through their actions that “All lives matter” but ours.
As a black wife, I know how difficult it is to watch my husband go out at night, reminding him to be careful because I don’t trust that he is protected by those who are supposed to serve and protect, and I am not supposed to say so out loud.
As a black mother, I know what it is like to be told I am having a boy and to be excited and nervous at the same time because I know that the world that sees him as cute and adorable now, will only see him as a black man when he gets older.
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Emmett Till was only 14 years old when he was accused of whistling at a white woman, then pulled from his uncle’s home in the middle of the night and tortured before being murdered and his body disposed of. Today, the woman who made this false accusation not only admitted that she lied, but walks free while many black women fill beds in prisons today for stealing food to try to feed their families, and the sign intended to memorialize Emmett Till’s death is riddled with bullets every time it is replaced.
As a black woman, I know what it is like to work my butt off and do just as great a job as everyone else, only to learn that I am making far less for doing more. I also know what it is like to sit in a seat and have to accept it, almost being dared not to make a fuss if I want to keep my job.
So yes, this is HUGE. This is a historic moment not just for black women who were once told they weren’t good enough to be on the cover, but for black people as a whole. Stating so is not a form of reverse racism as Lebron James was accused of when he shared this subject via Instagram expressing how proud he is of these women and simply said “my daughter is watching.” Or anything else one might try to argue to steer away from my point of this being a great moment that black people and all people should be able to celebrate. This is a historical moment that we can celebrate as women, applaud as a people, and be proud of as parents.
As the backbone of their families, black women have been the stars in their homes for years, supporting each other as sisters in the community, and raising all children with the understanding that it takes a village, with little to no credit. We have supported our men when they were tired and beaten down, even though we were too. We have worked harder just to be recognized as equal, often overlooked when we clearly did more. We have given 200% with no recognition, because that is what we were capable of, and now, our efforts can no longer be denied.
I am a black woman, mother, daughter, sister, wife, and friend, and I proudly stand in my blackness.
The P.I. Woman

 

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