Another magical METRO moment happened this week when I noticed a Black woman in her 40s who’d paired her striking ethnic features with even more bold catseye glasses. Work those cheekbones, girl!
In a world where Black celebrities who’ve “made it” still get flack for being ‘too Black’ (think the negative reactions to Beyonce’s Black Panthers tribute), or a choice to wear dreadlocks at the Oscars unfairly earns comments about pot smoke (think Zendaya), Black women may feel pressure to downplay their best ethnic features at school and work.
ELLE magazine’s article about Zendaya was fantastic, by the way, if you want to know more about her other beautiful hair adventures (April edition, p. 252).
And then, unfortunately, when some Black women do become accomplished and are more accepted in mainstream society, we sometimes hear comments going in the other direction…
You know, those negative comments about their success being due to them not actually being full-Black: ‘Right, but I’m mostly okay with Beyonce because she’s mixed with something, right?’ Unfortunately, that’s a statement I’ve heard more than once in conversations with Black friends and relatives recounting times when they’ve overheard racist commentary about celebrities like Beyonce. Assumptions that some people are too successful or attractive to be Black leave us feeling demoralized…
But I was charmed, and felt empowered to see a woman with broad forehead, distinct high cheekbones and deep sienna skin — powerfully Black features, pair bold ruby lipstick with striking catseye glasses.
The black catseye glasses intensified her high cheekbones and broad, African nose. A look I might have blushed at and sheepishly avoided while picking out frames at the optometrist. (How many of us have put back a pair of jeans or a skirt because it emphasizes our curves too much?) In the end, this woman of color was wearing what she wanted to work, the way she wanted it, not making any political stance. After all, pairing colorful lipstick with strong ‘nerd glasses’ is only natural because it’s a great way to feminize or soften them.
But this did remind me of how Black women can show pride for their bodies and features in small ways everyday. This woman didn’t play down her African features, she absolutely ignited them. And at that, her efforts made a simple white blouse come off chic.
Tip: Check out Fetch Eyewear’s article on choosing the best glasses for more ideas about pairing new specs with different face shapes.
I hope this inspires you to take charge of your best ethnic features and enjoy them. You know, pick up and buy those glasses that show off your high cheekbones, or that this-makes-my-hips-look-skirt the next time. People may try to put you down, but you can always show them up.
Do you have a favorite ‘ethnic style’ moment?