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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

From The Archives: The Absence Of Colour

Written By: Annameka Porter-Sinclair—As a Jamaican born black woman, brought up in the UK, identity has always been an issue of interest. Growing up in a muli-cultural environment, that is now it’s own entity as a conglomeration of cultures, where communities fight for their individually and the government press multi-culturalism, in order to understand and accommodate the ethnic minorities need to hold on, to their pre-defined roots of origin, how does a the Black British woman find her sense of self, in a metropolis that has evolved as one culture, London.

In a country that fundamentally attained it’s supremacy through exploration and discovery of new land and civilisations, where it’s economic development and technological geometry is structured and build by many cultures, how does one find ones self without looking back, at the trail of hurt and injustice that brought my ancestry to the Caribbean or looking out on today’s news at the black on black violence in the UK, where second generation Caribbean youth and African youth conflict.

With hurt behind you and conflict in the present, highlighted by the media, I long for a distraction as do many, some take up artistic expression, whether music, drama, dance or throw themselves into their profession, marriage, religion, whatever, I can only speak of what I have observed, I see a lot of black British seeking for a sense of self, clinging to their culture, in a media drenched environment that caters for the white British demographic.

So how do the twenty something black British women define herself outside from her career or loved ones? Read the rest of this article by clicking on the "Read More" link ...

A great aspect of being a woman is our innate desire to focus on beauty, the physical self. Media representation of the black woman is limited in the UK, there are few and far between main stream magazines that feature black female issues or even commercial’s that cater for ethnic female cosmetics and beauty products, let’s be honest pantene isn’t for afro hair, the physical definition of beauty of the black woman is silenced in the media only showing black females with European features or build, ask Naomi Campbell how much work she gets, and how much more work she would get if she took out the European hair extensions and contact lenses and kept the afro, don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with women experimenting with beauty, because that’s what we do, it’s the lack of physical definition of real solid black beautiful women in a media rich consumer marketing society.

Will somebody please think of the children! What’s left to define our physical beauty? Parents can look for black baby dolls for their children, but the problem is they have to go out and look for them, while day time TV is full of white baby doll sets, enticing children making them desirable. So what can we the young black women do about this beauty issue that is being fed not just to the adults but to our future black women of tomorrow?

First we must see our myself as spiritual beings, this will always help to deal with this issues of consumer racism, there is an element of racism within ourselves as black women, was it because our parents brought us white baby dolly’s and stories of Snow white and Cinerella portray as blonde and brunet beauties and the absence of the black princess’s doesn’t even put black beauty in our minds or hearts as children. Whatever the cause we must get rid of that absence, and contend with this lack of media representations, in our lives and not simply accept them as truth. Black women are beautiful with beauty needs, which should be represented in mainstream society as normal. A friend of mine that brought this truth to my attention, told me the story of when she moved to the midland of England and was in a town that had three major supermarkets that were national known and respected but had to travel to Birmingham to buy black hair and beauty products, she was outraged, she said ‘I am I not a customer, why shouldn’t the store stock what I need, like the European women cosmetic’s’ I agree with her, why should black women accept that void from consumer society. Is it stating that one race is superior to the other? If we all have a right to be here on this planet as equals shouldn’t there be equal representation of our needs? This can have negative implications on our self worth as black women, why should we be left out; we are beautiful and have beauty needs.

Yes black men don’t have this big an issue, but black women do in my opinion, fundamentally we would love to focus on inner growth for beauty, the spiritual aspect of our humanity, where we have strong influential black women like Oprah Winfrey or if we focus on the physical, beautiful women like Naomi Campbell. As the modern black woman our job is to get a healthy mix of the two to bring about a definition of true black beauty.

Spiritual strength is needed in the black women search for true beauty, as there is little physical media representation that don’t nullify authentic African feature and bone structure as beautiful, yes we should fall in love with our spiritual self but then also our physical self by seeing ourselves through the right eyes, the divine eyes of your creator, what that means is to realise that the western economy and media’s pessimistic connotations toward authentic African features is worthless and define our physical beauty self from the inside out regardless of the media image we see.

Yes that’s all well and good saying that, but what if you’re not a spiritualist. A woman physical beauty is paramount, this is an important part of the female self aside from the inner beauty, we love to titillate and court our potential partners with physical beauty. I believe essentially beauty is about confidences, look at all the vibrancy of colours, the paler they are the less attractive to the eye, it’s the same with beauty, true beauty is bold, look at nature and the way each seed claims the soil and grows, its knows its place in the universe, is to be nurtured by its environment and grow in strength, there is an undeniable and definite claim that all nature makes, if put to words I believe would say ‘I am here’ and ‘I belong here’ and ‘I am entitled to every good thing this environment can give me to grow in strength’ and that I believe is beauty, the black woman should, realise that everything she is, is more than enough for the world and all aspects of her should be celebrated because it is just as beautiful as the European counterparts of the human race, step up was confidence in black beauty ladies and claim your soil, and most importantly grow and grow in strength and confidence, this is a beauty not yet truly embraced and intergraded by the western society, because it so different.

(Originally Published In March 2008)

(About The Author: Annameka is a talented actress, versatile by nature, with a passion to push into the unknown with confidence. Her interest in acting started at a young age. Annameka was spotted by a talent scout at her primary school in South London and was invited to be on the cover of a BBC children’s magazine. It was at that moment she fell in love with the camera. She attended the Helen O’Grady Drama Academy where she gained several acting certificates in performance. She later studied drama, film and media studies at the BRIT School of Performance Arts & Technology. Afterwards she joined the Shoe String Theatre in South London. On the 4th of July 2006 she graduated from Staffordshire University with an honours degree in film production and music. During her studies she co-founded Gangsta Fish Productions, a student production company.)

(Photo Credits: © Jason Rusnak/iStockPhoto) (Model Used Solely For Illustrative Purposes)


Divalocity said...

Women of African descent have this same problem all over the world. I truly believe that we need to stop looking for acceptance from others and truly start embracing and loving our selves. When each and everyone of us starts to love and see the humanity within, only then will others. Your wasting your time on people who want to dehumanize others for their own benefit.