Beyonce and The Limits of Beauty.

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( At 30-years-old, 15 years in the music industry, 16 Grammys and countless awards, accolades and starring roles in films later, Beyonce Knowles Carter is finally named “World’s Most Beautiful Woman” by People magazine. 

When I first learned of the title gifted to Beyonce I was nonplussed. It made sense. Kind of like when Halle Berry or Angelina Jolie is named “World’s Most Beautiful Woman.” I said a small congratulations in my head and continued about my work day. 

But no sooner than I was over King B’s new title did the blogosphere erupt with comments and criticisms. Peculiarly, it wasn’t over the fact Beyonce was named “World’s Most Beautiful Woman.” It was over nothing else than skin color. 

When Beyonce covers a magazine the substance of the interview does not matter as much as the high definition of the pictures. Pictures so clear and  glossy you can count the pixels and decide what was used to make up the light tone of this Black woman. I understand the scrutiny. The L’OREAL Feria ad from a few years ago set this skin color, tragic mulatto, “she must hate herself” dialogue in motion. But no matter the public outrage from the Black community, and Black women especially, one thing has remained through it all, Beyonce is still a Black woman. 

It matters not if Beyonce’s race and ethnicity were as ambiguous as Mariah Carey’s or as evident as Alex Wek; Beyonce is a part of the African Diaspora and that’s all that matters. The fact she’s celebrated as a world beauty is something all women of color should be proud of, not something we should dissect because a magazine that caters to the fair-skinned other tried to make their cover girl more appealing to their base demographic. 

People is trying to sell magazines. Putting Beyonce on the cover sells magazines. I’m sure if Beyonce looks more like Lily than LaKeisha that will sell more magazines too. 

I’m tired of Black women judging each other and tearing each other down for that which may or may not be in our control. I highly doubt Beyonce, as powerful as she is in the entertainment industry, gets final say on what her image looks like on the cover of a magazine she is not the CEO or Editor-in-Chief of. I know she’s a King and all but even a King has limitations. 

The point is, “The World’s Most Beautiful,” Beyonce is being celebrated by the world. Her beauty is as undeniable as her talent. Who cares if People rather see her a shade beneath cafe au lait than as the torched top of creme brulee. 

Having seen Beyonce up close and personal on a recent trip to New York I can attest she is not that light. But she’s not that dark either. She’s still a Black woman. No matter where Mrs. Knowles Carter falls on the color spectrum she is still a Black woman to be claimed. A Black woman who feels beautiful in her own skin, “more beautiful than [she’s] ever felt, because [she’s] given birth.” Beyonce is a beautiful Black woman who is “confident” and has “embraced [her] flaws.” A woman who like any woman wishes she could change one thing about herself. 

Of all the things on Beyonce I doubt the thing she wishes to change is her outer epidermis appearance. I don’t think she craves less melanin for a lighter pigmentation. Granted I do not know her and I could very well be wrong, but just like Michael Jackson at the end of the day knew he was and would always be a Black man — no matter how altered his appearance (physically or technologically) — I believe in my heart of hearts Beyonce will always embrace the Black woman inside herself despite other people’s hang ups. 

As a community we should be proud one of our own is recognized even if for many, the majority, her beauty, Beyonce’s beauty, is limited by what she is. 

Staff Writer; Nikesha Leeper

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