Kim Kardashian West is doing more to raise the profile of *ethnic beauty* than has arguably ever been done before.
I was inspired to write this post the second she posted her cover shoot photo for Love magazine on her Instagram account.
If you had asked me whether I would have ever admired “blackface” being used in fashion, the answer would have course have been a solid HELL NO! Due to the oppressive history behind “blacking up”, I am personally of the opinion that it has no place in the modern world!
Ms Kardashian West has proved me wrong! Her latest shots for Love magazine feature her bronzed to the max resembling an African American/Brazilian/Dominican-esque beauty.
If you pay attention to the detail in the image, you will see that her normally straight hair has been styled to resemble loose natural curls…..notably, not too dissimilar to her biracial daughters.
Her outfit is a stunning mesh of African tribal print in a 90’s style Prada two-piece crop top and high waist skirt ensemble. Although, looking at the fur accessories draped across her shoulders, she wouldn’t look out of place in an 80’s Whitney Houston music video! It all sounds so wrong, but it looks so right!
Now, I’m sure there will be controversy. I’m sure her haters will be jumping out from under their rocks to spew vile in her direction (the Instagram and Facebook comments are already pretty disgusting with many idiots questioning why she’d CHOOSE to look black?!), but I would like to argue that this intriguing visual is open to a variety of perceptions.
I personally choose to perceive this as empowering and uplifting the ethnic woman. My reasoning here is that this is probably the first time I have ever heard of a magazine altering a models/celebrities skin tone to look darker!
Think about the numerous controversies we’ve had in the past of Mrs Carter having her skin bleached out by lighting/photoshop…..
Or Nicki Minaj…..
Or Freida Pinto…..
You get my drift (note how most in the above list are from L’Oreal ads)……the media has been screaming for years that you need to lighten your skin to sell. The closer to white you are…….the better!
But here Kim Kardashian is….AGAIN! Breaking the rules and showing us that there are alternatives to conventional beauty. We all thought you had to be 6″0 tall and size 0 to be considered beautiful and taken seriously in the fashion world! But here she is…..
As a white woman (yes, I know she’s part Armenian, however that is still Caucasian) married to a black man and mother to a mixed race daughter, I do believe that this is her celebrating the black diaspora. After noticing some of her recent activism online, particularly in regards to her views on racism, I do believe that these images reflect her admiration for black beauty and her love for black culture.
Let’s also not forget that in 2014, Kim and her husband broke through another barrier by becoming the first interracial couple to ever feature on the cover of American Vogue. Something that still in this day and age is seen as taboo and is sometimes met with discomfort, made evident by the “controversial” cheerios advert which aired a short while ago.
To me…..this is a mother who is just trying to make the world a better place for her biracial daughter to grow up in. I remember the pain and frustration of being a young mixed race girl, never seeing myself represented and always seeing white as the standard of beauty, wishing I could scrub away my melanin in the bathtub. I’m sure this is something my mother probably would have done too if she could.
There are many reasons why Kim could have chosen to do this shoot. It’s incredibly artistic and definitely something that will “break the internet” again. However, I also think that this shot is futuristic.
National Geographic estimated that in 2050, the average American will look like this:
It has been predicted that eventually, all the human races will blend into one until we are all heterogeneous. And of course, if we all look the same……Will that be the end of racism? Will there be a new standard of beauty? Should we be looking to Brazil to see a future America/Britain?
None of us can predict the future! It’s a cool theory though, and therefore makes quite an edgy concept for a magazine spread.
Whatever Kim Kardashians/Love Magazines/The Art Directors/The Photographers thinking behind this visual was……the results are stunning! And as a mixed black and white woman…..I really feel as though this does represent my natural beauty and glorifies darker skin tones and natural curly hair. Especially seeing as a lot of mixed and black celebrities that we are currently looking to for representation choose to do the opposite….
…..And for all those who are saying “She just wants to BE black!”…….imitation is the highest form of flattery!
The Curly Cockney
*When I use the term “ethnic beauty”, I am referring to everything which looks different from the typical western standard of beauty, not just black, asian, latina, etc.