Yesterday I woke up to a headline on nydailynews.com that read, “Protesters are planning an anti-Beyoncé rally outside NFL headquarters on Feb. 16 in Manhattan, the same day tickets for her “Formation” world tour goes on sale.”
I continued reading the story only to discover that former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, and several other Americans were outraged and majorly offended by Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance accusing the lyrics of the song for being “anti-police” among other things.
I also heard through the grapevine that some white women also had issues reguarding Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance citing feelings of exclusion. Of course if you google “white women and Beyonce’s song Formation” tons of articles will pop up explaining this sense of “exclusion” that I’m referencing.
Now let’s talk beauty. You know there is a tie in right? After reading all of the stuff that I mentioned above and especially the part about exclusion a few experiences came to mind. The first experience took place in a makeup boutique. I was speaking to a white woman who also worked as a freelance makeup artist about race.(What a surprise!) I was trying to explain how women of color have always been excluded by cosmetic brands because of the lack of color options, marketing materials, and makeup artists that work for the brands at various retail locations. We went back and forth, and she struggled to hear and believe my argument until I took her on a “special” field trip around the store.
I took her to every brand, pointed to the model advertising the new products, and asked her what she saw. Of course her answer was the same, and at that moment a light bulb went off in her head, and she got my point 100%! The sad part is that what she saw was just the icing on the cake! Women of color are mostly absent from anything beauty related in the mass media.
The next experience that comes to mind is a time when I had the wonderful privilege to do wedding makeup for a beautiful, smart, and successful African American bride and her mother. I arrived at the salon, set up my kit, and got to work. Of course I started asking the bride questions about how her and her husband met, and when he popped the question, etc… The story was wonderful, she was happy, mom approved, but one thing stuck out and haunts me to this day. She told me that she met her husband on a dating website. She explained that after having a few not so great experiences, she decided to give her husband a chance. He was Asian, and her first experience dating outside of her race.
She explained to me that she had read a study that explained using data from three of the most popular dating websites in the country, that black women and Asian men were the least desired. Now I am no expert on Asian men, but I know a lot about my fellow sista’s, and I couldn’t help but think about all of the negative stereotypes that surround us. I also could not help but think about our lack of representation or misrepresentation on television shows(love and hip hop, Atlanta housewives, Scandal, etc) fashion shows, movies (#oscarssowhite), magazines, cosmetics companies, corporate and academic settings, history books, etc and I understood how based on this lack of good representation and thus people’s perception, folks would not have us first on their list to date! Now back to Beyonce’s Formation.
It’s pretty simple really. Beyonce’s song, video, and Super Bowl performance all ended up being a drop in a bucket towards helping women of color and especially black women be represented as who they are. Our natural hair textures, all 1,347,567 of them, nose and lip shapes, skin tones, and curves were all celebrated UNAPOLOGETICALLY!! As an American who is often ignored do you have any idea how amazing it was for once to be recognized in a positive way?? It was freaking epic!! For one performance on one Sunday, I was not ignored, embarrassed, stereotyped in a negative way, or invisible. I ask my fellow white female Americans, should you really feel excluded?