"To uplift the Black woman is to uplift the world"- Akil
Brown Sistah Hosted by robt.shepherd
I want your respect, white man
Here is Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Guguletha Mbatha-Raw

Who Will Revere the Black Woman?

Gugu Mbatha-Raw was born Gugulethu Sophia Mbatha in Oxford England, 1983. Her name, "Gugulethu", is a contraction of igugu lethu, means "our pride" (depending on context) in Xhosa. Gugu grew up in the small town of Witney in Oxfordshire, before moving to London to train at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in 2001. Her mother, Anne, is an English nurse, and her father, Patrick Mbatha, is a South African doctor.

Now, in a new series Touch, the elegant beauty plays social worker Clea Hopkins opposite mega-star Kiefer Sutherland, and is making a big splash there, too.

Zimbio photo gallery

"To uplift the Black woman is to uplift the world"-- Akil

Has a new day begun to dawn for women of color?

Going by gains in the modelling niche of the high fahion showcase of Haute Couture, one might say so. But others warn, not so fast.

Old conceptions cling tenaciously. Deeply ingrained in many minds is the old image of female attractiveness sanctified and enthroned in the days of white male dominance and racist patriarchy. Not far from the southern belle, cotillion Lady style of gyneaolotry was the modern ditzy blonde, Marilyn Monroe image of helpless, dainty, child-like (blonde) goddess on a pedestal.

It was "only" a stereotype, to be sure. Even the southern belle sterotype has its debunkers, as in the Memphis expression, "I may be a belle [bell], but I'm not a ding-a-ling." Southern white women often resented being the "prisoner of the pedestal." But the sterotype's hold on modern psychology seemed unshakeable. That is, until recently.

I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.

Jennifer Hudson

Jennifer Hudson

Black is Beautiful

A few lonely souls dared to challenge the picture of lily-white, delicate beauty. Black is beautiful, came the voice crying in the wilderness. Women of Color are sexy, too. (So is black man!)

A beautiful overview of the progress in the modelling and entertainment fields by women of color I found by Shana Berg. While writing her novel, she consulted Dr. Laila Haidarali who gives considerable credit to the influence of Ebony magazine.

Ebony magazine is a Chicago-based publication that first appeared in November 1945. It was the first popular magazine geared at a specifically African American audience. Editor John Johnson, who died not too long ago, honed the magazine's editorial focus on African American success. During the 1940s and early 1950s, photographs of female models depicted African American women as feminine and well dressed, poised yet sexual, domestic yet glamorous. These were new associations in the public area of mass-circulated images and worked to challenge the common representation of African American women as physically unattractive, rural, unkempt and disorderly.

Yet, had not Langston Hughes foretold, (I, too, sing America) that "Besides, They'll see how beautiful I am, and be ashamed."

In New York City, Haidarali points out, Brandford Models opened in July 1946. Brandford was the first modelling agency devoted to black models. Progress seemed slow, but it was nevertheless progress. It wasn't till 1971 that Beverly Johnson was hired by Glamour magazine. She became the first black to be featured on the cover of Vogue magazine in 1974.

Another major milestone, (among other glimmers of light) on the catwalks of New York and Paris appeared a phenomenon -- the beautiful Naomi Sims, somehow light years ahead of her time. But she paved the way for others. A namesake eventually broke through -- Britain's Naomi Campbell. Along with other classy ladies, their beauty shone for the world to see. Naomi felt a duty to pour her energies and her own success into helping other young women of color achieve their dreams, too.

An early break through model was Dorothea Church, who found Paris far more welcoming in the early fifties than that US fashion scene. Later she told Women's Wear Daily: "For once I was not considered black, African American or Negro. I was just an American." The French fashion establishment "treated you like a queen," she said.

In the eighties, Detroit born Veronica Webb made the spotlight becoming the first African-American to have a major cosmetics contract. Webb appeared on covers of Vogue, Essence and Elle magazines and on the runway for Victoria's Secret and Chanel. Later, Tyra Banks suddenly hit the world stage and opened the door even wider, eventually conveying her modelling success into almost-Oprah heights of success and impact.

Now the list of minority models has grown. We cite names like Genevieve Jones and Joy Bryant and Alek Wek and Neferteri Shepherd. Would the promise of coming diversity actually come to pass?

Asian beauties like Kimora Lee Simmons found fashion's door beginning to open. Latinas like Jennifer Lopez successfully crossed over from modelling to acting as well. And in today's media spotlight, the popular fascination with interracial love and romance certainly has not hurt the careers of such white beauties as the eye-catching blond German sensation Heidi Klum, married (with children) to the suave-voiced crooner Seal.

Nor has it hurt the career of Brazilian Giselle Bündchen, whose stunning Vogue cover shot with Lebron James caught the world'a attention and generated a reverberating ripple effect (publicity-wise) for all concerned.

In the fashion lens these days are such rising stars as Aminata Niaria and Liya Kebede (both African-born) and in the wings we glimpse young debut seekers like the English Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Cue Shepherd (in America).

The future is, if not a sure thing, at least more hopeful than ever before.

Art for the Soul - I love this beautiful pinterest site by Desiree Johnson

Tyra Banks plays Michelle Obama

See Harper's Bazaar (and slide show). Let me quote, "From the runway to the Oval Office, everything is possible for Tyra Banks. Bazaar casts her as first lady while she reflects on being a model citizen and the politics of fashion." (feature by Laura Brown).

Charisma All Over - features Tamarva Butler. Another case of young black talent, shining and rising. You will lover her confidence and poise - she has potential written all over her. Let's have a NEW conception of black beauty. "When Africa Rises, So will the World."

Lusty sexy racialicious

Riva Tims - Majestic Life Church

stylish Riva Tims

Honoring Black Woman: smart & beautiful thru history

Do you love her? - treat her like a lady

Glory and Majesty - Black Woman in History

Healing our wounds from within - the gold inside you

The Sassy Peach - a touch of fashion and beauty

Still I Rise - Maya Angelou and inner strength

whiteman's eyes open - to beauty of Black Woman

Akira Kato on African Steatopygy women's HIP-ness

God using black women - a healing force for today

No turning back, no turning back - Affirmation. Courage.

Top sista sites - lotsa links (from 'In the company of sistas')

The moral power of a people - can one race affect history?

MODISTA - for blossoming minority fashion models

Tiger Lily Foundation - women's health (cancer etc)

Black Christian Women - EEW (the essence of their witness)

A hero for our time - American youth need Obama's role model

Bring Sexy Back - Carmen Barika (BSB): let your light shine

Moral Wealth of Africa - Edward Blyden foretells spiritual reserves

Maya Angelou - a "mother" for today's America - cherishing values and roots

Lift every voice and sing - the moral heart of American heritage

Today's Black Woman - quality site. much free info, inspiration, ordering.

Zion the strong, Zion the beautiful - You can't keep a good woman down

Is the Fashion Industry Racist?
College Candy

Naomi Campbell said in 2009, "You know, the American president may be black, but as black woman, I am still an exception in this business. I always have to work harder to be treated equally"

Everyone knows that the fashion industry can be bitchy, but now there are reports that it actually might be racist.

UK magazine The Independent recently ran an article about the lack of black and minority models on the runway.

Dee Doocey, a former fashion manager who's currently campaigning for diversity on the catwalk says she can't remember "being sent a model who wasn't white," during her days in the field "I don't know if it's racism, or just the fashion industry languishing in the doldrums", Doocey continues, "but it needs to change. Agencies only seem interested in leggy white blonde girls."

While none-white people make up about "30 percent" of London's population, they "don't even make up 1 percent of the models", a ratio that sounds like it might have a reflection in America as well.

One managing director at a London agency that specializes in ethnically diverse models illustrated the crux of the problem by explaining her difficulty in getting work for her black models.

"The racism you come across is not underlying, it's blatant" she reveals, going on to say that "People will say things like 'Don't send any more black models', and one designer even said black people didn't suit his clothes. And we're not talking about small designers here; it's all the big ones."

So not only does the industry want their models to be paper thin, they require them to be Aryan as well.

I'm sure there are people within the fashion world who fight for healthy and diverse models, but since racism and anorexia are still prevalent, those individuals have got to be in the minority.

People can defend the already self-important industry if they want, but as far as I'm concerned, intolerance ain't pretty.

A recent survey conducted by The Washington Post and the Kaiser
Family Foundation found that although black women are heavier than
their white counterparts, they have higher levels of self-esteem.

"Black women don't have the same body image problem that white
women do. They are proud of their bodies. Black men love big butts."

Tyra Banks

Bob Shepherd As an old white guy who grew up in the climate of Segregationism, I am a bit in awe of black people for holding on to values and character in an age when the rest of us seem to have lost it. Somehow they have INNER character. My wish is that all of us could learn from them. My own wife Linda was the first one who really helped me see this. I think women have a "sight" which helps them SEE sooner than their husbands. Who was it said White women will save the world (Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh maybe). Well, women, all women, are in some sense emotionally and spiritually superior.

I have to applaud black women for "standing by their man." In fact, they LIFT their men. No one has suffered more in American history than the black man. We whites should learn from blacks. I read a Jewish thing, they were talking about Sarah and Abraham. Sarah was higher status, than her relative (cousin?) Abraham. Yet she honoured him above her. She called him Lord. Truly the rabbis say princess Sarah was a woman of valor. That is how I see black woman. We whites have much to learn from the black people. They are Kings and Queens, in terms of emotional IQ. In terms of inner character.     (by Bob Shepherd 9/21/14)

Where have all the Black Men gone?
Shahrazad Ali urges strong black familes

Democrats support our veterans

Bob Shepherd
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