Recently Kanye had a fashion call for women for his show during Fashion week and on his Tweet he called for “Multiracial” women only.
This started a firestorm on social media and at his casting call there were quite a few black women who showed up for the job and in protest.
One lady in particular who has not disclosed her name held a sign that said “‘multiracial only’ = lightskin only…you ain’t slick, Ye” and “‘we call them mutts’ – Kanye West”, and on her chest she wrote “they want black features but not black girls”.
On her Tumblr and on Instagram she gave the reasons she protested Yeezy in an open essay:
This is an indictment of not just Yeezy but the entire fashion and beauty industry in which there is a racialized hierarchy of beauty which is a ubiquitous symptom of the legacy of colonialism. This is a protest of a pervasive and dangerously toxic Ideology not Individuals. Regardless of whether Yeezy does choose to include darkskinned women in the end, the coded language of the casting call was clear and a part of a broader problem of colorism in the fashion industry.
Beyond Yeezy’s casting there are hundreds of castings for this upcoming NYFW going on where thousands of models are all hoping for a chance to walk down a runaway and for Black girls, the chances of being one of these girls is alarmingly slim and those chances go down depending on the deepness of the color of your skin. This casting call for “Multiracial ONLY” (not MULTIETHNIC which would still be fetishization) asserts that Black can only be beautiful when “MIXED” with another RACE. There is a history of wanting to dilute the Blackness of one’s children because of the longstanding stigmatization of Blackness.
ADDITIONALLY–the fetishization of women who are more than one race is alarmingly similar to Hilter’s pseudoscience of eugenics; the desire to create human beings who have select features to create a particular IDEAL image. As our IDEALS of beauty, perfection, normality all come from mass media it follows that a European Ideals has become the norm. To understand how we come to frame beauty, studying history and the origins of media such as literature will lead you straight to the origins of conceiving of white as beautiful and dark as evil and ugly (for more info: Shakespeare, Race, and Colonialism by Ania Loomba). It is clear that language is racialized and we can’t say it’s just words, or just write off the erasure and very targeted assault on Black women inside and outside of the fashion industry.
How often do you see a dark hued Black women on the cover or even inside a magazine, on television? This lack of representation is the reason the skin bleaching industry makes billions of dollars annually. The Dominicans will tell you, the Brazilians, Koreans, Filipinos, Jamaicans—the lighter you are the more beautiful you are considered.
YET AT THE SAME TIME, now non-Black women are paying thousands to have full lips, hips, and asses like Black women in a brutal and corrupt form of irony. It’s just facts that Black women are constantly told they are too dark, lips too big, hair to ghetto for in all professions only to see these same features or styles on non-Black women receive praise-(braids, gap teeth)-obviously the problem isn’t the style but the color of the women wearing it.
I want a world where Black girls see themselves and their skin no matter how dark represented as beautiful so the entire skin bleaching industry goes up in flames, that women and men stop carving up their beautiful noses. The history of the world is written into Black features and we need to remind ourselves that beauty comes FROM our Blackness, NOT in spite of it.
To those who are saying that DISCUSSING the very REALITY that colorism in the community exists “divides” the Black community…the divisions are already there. I know this because I am a woman who gets those privileges of looking “mixed” “Exotic” and these privileges have meant a matter of life and death for some Black people.
IT’s not just about fashion it’s about understanding how racism, and white supremacy dictates our understanding of reality. These are toxic ideologies need to be unlearned and #ITsAPROCESS and as to why my ti**ies were out–summer is ending and there aren’t going to be many more nice days like yesterday. That’s all.
Do better Ye!