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For many years within our community, there has been a distinct definition of beauty that has penetrated our society. It has affected the way we view ourselves, and the way we view others, and has contributed to an increase of self-hatred.
Lately the music, fashion, and advertising industries have been dominated by women who are fairer in skin tone or of mixed origin. For marketability purposes, it is arguable that while these types of women represent a more universal race rather than a particular race in general, there are still notably less and less of the “Token Black Girl,” being seen.
Los Angeles Times staff writer Gerrick Kennedy said, “The exclusion of dark-skinned women as love interest continues to be an embarrassing oversight in the music industry, it does not help that rappers have made their disdain for dark-skinned women very vocal. I personally believe the whole process of casting video models is a scummy sex-driven affair. I think at the end of the day, rappers and directors are only following the status quo set by the entertainment industry.”
In an interview with Joy Daily, famed Internet blogger, hip-hop artists such as Rick Ross, Cassidy and several models discuss beauty and the industry’s “obsession with complexion.” Artist Cassidy suggested “a light-skinned girl gets more respect than a dark-skinned girl because they are closer to White.”
There lies the issue. While, the usage of multi-racial models is something that should be embraced because it celebrates all cultures, it should not replace or negate the visibility of dark skinned, beautiful models. In no way should skin tone equate with beauty. However, in today’s society it does. With videos such as Washington D.C. rapper Wale’s “Pretty Girl,” where over 20 female models were cast, and hardly any of them are of a darker skin tone, one begins to question why, in a song titled “Pretty Girls,” are there no dark-skinned women. It can be suggested by those outside of our race and our culture that perhaps, dark-skinned girls don’t fit the bill. Which, We know is completely false, however, our music industry, would not be the foundation for that statement.
Ultimately, the blame is passed around from artist, to casting agencies, to record labels, and to the types of women that actually come out to the casting. At the end of the day, when one is in view of an entire nation and world even, it is very necessary that they are careful with the images that are filtered into the community, because they can create harsh realities for some. As the influence that media has on our perception of beauty increases, it is important to increase the amount of visibility of all skin tones and races.