AFRICANGLOBE – Over the weekend I had an accident and now have to stay practically the whole day in bed. Then I began to appreciate the beauty of the Black women of my list of friends, really for all of them being so stylish, creative and inspiring to me. I feeling like putting all of them in one album, spending the day publishing the photos as according to those that were interested in the proposal and giving the OK in the proposal thus beautifying the news feed with all those little queens who are little represented by the media, that few see themselves in magazines, novelas (soap operas), walkways. That despite the great beauty they possess, few are recognized as such and few serve as a reference of beauty for children and young people of this country that exalts the Eurocentric standard.
I was going through the albums of each to choose the pictures. During this viewing I was realizing how almost all of them have suffered with embranquecimento (whitening), just as I have also suffered.
The oldest pictures showed women with cabelos escovados (Brazilian Keratine Hair Treatment).
Then photos began to appear that revealed the revolt against the imposed whitening. A revolt that certainly happened from the inside out and that was infecting other and other and other queens. The photos show eras and while the picture of a particular year showed cabelos escovados (Keratin treated) and huge hair, the photo of another year showed very short hair with the caption “me libertei” (I liberated myself). In other cases the cabelos escovados, straightened and flat ironed were traded for beautiful braids or dreads.
The queens began to make a point of showing that they were loving their hair that was there being reborn and that there had a while since even knew anymore what they looked like without the chemicals. Old photos show an oppressed beauty and more recent pictures showed a free beauty. Black powers (afros), pink afros, braids, turbans, negras loiras (black blondes), negras livres (free Black women), Black masters of themselves and dictating their own rules and being beautiful.
From one photo to another the twinkle in their eyes was different. From one photo to another it was possible to see that the queens were taking consciousness of the power that they have.
Empowered Black women, proud of their culture and their origins. Black women who have learned to say “NO” to the slavery that wants to impose a standard of beauty that is not ours and wants to oppress our beauty, the beauty that is born with us, a slavery that has as an objective nos embranquecer (whitening us).
I realized that those pictures were also sending a message to the racist society that does not accept the texture of our hair, or the tone of our skin or our physical traits, or our culture.
In the photos, I realized that those turbans, curls, braids and afros were “screaming”:não somos pardas, nem mulatas, nem morenas. Somos negras e com muito orgulho de nossa beleza e cultura (we are not mixed/browns or mulattos or mixed/light-skinned/browns. We are Black and proud of our beauty and culture). We do not allow being whitened anymore.
After all, we are all Lupita.
By: Laura Astrolabio
Brazil An Inconvenient History