By Leslie Pitterson
This week, when pictures of Beyoncé in Los Angeles for the Grammys hit the web, people seemed to have many questions. If they weren’t asking where Jay was or why Gwyneth Paltrow was her date instead of her hubby, the onlookers had one other thing on their minds: her skin.
Why is she so light?
Did she bleach her skin?
One article, though, seems to stick out. Today in the Daily Mail, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown wonders if Bey is setting a bad example. In “Why I believe Beyoncé is Betraying All Black and Asian Women,” she writes:
Her complexion and limbs were translucently pallid, her locks long, straight and blonde.
Now, racial mixing since the days of slavery means ‘Black’ Americans come in a whole range of skin hues, but in recent years Beyonce’s tone seems miraculously to be changing from dusky to peachy.
In truth, it is hard now to tell she is the daughter of an African-American father and Creole mother. It was three years ago that L’Oreal was accused of whitening Beyoncé’s face in a magazine advert, a charge denied by the company. But now there she is, looking like a willowy Caucasian.
Okay, let’s back up. While it’s one thing to note your preference for a bronzy hued Beyoncé, it is quite another to imply that she is purposely seeking to lighten her skin. It seems like the oldest trick in the book of back women’s criticisms to attribute paler skin to self-hatred.
Do African-American women continually see celeb examples of bleached skin? Sure. Our range of celebrities has certainly gone through it. But for Beyoncé (who has always been of fair complexion to begin with) to be blamed for having less of a tan than usual seems a bit harsh. The snap judgment seems to speak more about our underlying beliefs more than we’re willing to admit.
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