other Jamaican’s as it was once I stepped foot on American soil. But my forehead was the bane of my existence ever since I could remember. My hair is soft, yet so finely coiled that some hair dressers believed that it would be courser than it really was and is. And my lips, they poked out as if
swollen from my small face causing me no end to the embarrassment one got from having an appendage that one couldn’t hide, out there for the World to see.
A large part of my realization that I was hiding the most physically beautiful parts of me was ushered in by the great mainstream media who found a way to make my features, on the one hand, vulgar, and on the other hand revered. This will all make sense in a second.
When a rapper speaks about the Black female form, and his desire for her body, it can come off as vulgar and tasteless even while we dance around and recite the song lyrics, the nature of these words aren’t always the best things for us. Take for instance some song lyrics that are popular right now.
“She got her booty cheeks on my Louie Sheets
She can do it on a pole, but can she do it on me
Her flexing ass, let me see you flex that ass
I don’t call I just text that ass about special bags
Python, all good no ice on
Nothing but shaved pussy in my iphone”
Tyga, Do My Dance
“Black girl with a big booty
If she a bad bitch let’s get to it (right away)
by Chris Brown
The imagery in these lyrics saw a woman with a large posterior, who’s only way into a man’s preview is through sex. These images have been repeated about women in general, but Black women specifically for years in hip hop and other musical genres. Her ass is what distinguishes her from other ethnicities, but her body is so overly sexualized that she is reduced to her sex organs and buttock. She exists for nothing more than a man’s sexual pleasure and the under current in most of these songs is that only
through sex and sexualization is the Black woman ever going to make it in society and the entertainment world.
Jason Derulo and Chris Brown both reference social media and a woman’s only way of getting famous on this platform is only by taking sexually explicitly pictures or videos and posting them for all to see.
“Patty cake, Patty cake
With no hands
Get me in this club making wedding plans
If I take pictures while you do you dance
I can make you famous on Instagram”
Jason Derulo, Wiggle
But why would these images make me more aware of the beauty in my African shape and
features, they wouldn’t, but they do let me know that my body is desired, and even if it is in a perverse way, most women want to be desired. If I could just find the line between vulgarity and sexual empowerment, I could find the love for my body, ignoring the singular focus on me as a sexual object I could then find power in my femininity. While doing that, I began to notice mainstream America’s reaction to my body in its entirety. While there isn’t a great deal of praise for a Black female Artist who is well built, with a nice round back side, or big lips, there is a great deal of it for non Black women who happen to have the same attributes.
Take for instance Angelina Jolie’s lips, and Jennifer Lopez’s bottom… these two women are practically worshiped for having the attributes typical of most women of African descent. While growing up and watching as these women, one mega talented and well deserving of her critical acclaim, and the other just moderately blessed with talent, but overly blessed with a large derriere, it was clear that they weren’t being praised just for talent. They had physical features similar to mine, but while I was hiding mine, trying not to be seen as overtly sexual, they were getting rich and famous because of theirs. So why hide behind moderate clothing all the time? I don’t anymore. And I'm not ashamed of my big lips either. I paint them pink and red, and illuminate them with gloss. They deserve praise these things, and I won't be afraid to show them anymore. If my features are beautiful on others, then they must be even more beautiful on me. Because on me they are not out of place... they are not anomalies.
While still fighting to gain respect from men, and society, I have personally accepted that I have full hips and thighs, my lips are plumped and my hair is coiled beyond belief. If I were just a little lighter, I would
be seen as more beautiful, so why not claim it now? I won’t let the media steal from me the inherence that I’ve received from my ancestors. They didn’t have riches that weren’t stolen…nor a palaces in the sky… nor oil deep in the Earth… but what they did have were these large lips that are perfect on Angelina, and Jennifer Lopez's round ass that is being idolized by Vogue, and I won’t be denied my right to see myself as beautiful and as one of the originators of the lips and ass craze.