I guess we can all admit that all these reactions speak to a ‘discomfort’ in Miss Angola winning the crown of Miss Universe. One wonders at this because she isn’t the first black woman to win it.
I reviewed a few youtubes after the event and what I saw gave me an inkling into all the nervousness. I saw a woman having fun with her beauty, a woman who was in no way doubting that she should be there and comfortable with the idea of being judged as worthy of the crown. I believe this is the root of the discomfort. ‘If you are a black winner, act like you know it was ‘given’ to you seems to be the general consensus for black beauty queens, not that you took your place among the beauties of the world. Leila wasn’t arrogant, but relaxed with her beauty.
As an aside, I see a lot of bautiful black women around me but very few are relaxed in their beauty, there is often a hard edge there as if waiting for someone to come and accuse them. Are they psyching themselves up to accept looking beautiful, or is it the same ol' life beat down at work?
From start to finish there was a knowing twinkle and fun to Miss Angola as a woman she was relaxed with her beauty.
The other thing I noticed was that in many folks mind there was a resistance to the idea of now having to take black women seriously in the beauty stakes.
I was reading a few message boards and their comments before Miss Angola’s win. They noticed that she was there but very few put her in top 10!
Peoples impression of beauty and of beauty queen winners adjusts itself to the judges vote over time. Case in point, no one doubts that Miss India is always a serious contender in these Miss universe and Miss world pagents, when over a decade ago they would have made anyone’s top twenty list. We have learnt to ‘appreciate’ the beauty of Miss India (which by the way has been there all along), because India pulled off a back to back win at a Miss world contest (or was it Miss universe) a few years ago. When an Indian winner suceeded another Indian winner, well, we no longer take Miss indias for granted.
I also remember the first time reality shows like ‘American idol’ hit our screens. In the beginning no one could call the winner, we all sat glued to the TV, pitting our wisdom against that of others. Very soon a formula emerged and we started to pick our winners based on how we thought the judges would vote and it was all unconscious. When they did win we hailed them the real and undisputed winners and held our judgement as ‘independent’. But was it really!
I saw the message boarders do the same thing, that is pick winner who were the usual suspects. So they raved about Miss Ukraine, Miss Russia, Miss USA and they didn’t pick one black contestant but tokenized Miss Angola (so they weren’t blind to her beauty afterall!).
Anyway when she won, many started reassessing their judgement and admitting they could now see why she was Miss Universe. They could see 'this' and 'that' beautiful trait in her (which had been there all along mind you). So she could well have been veiled until the judges decision forced them to go back to their initial impressions which they discounted and buried in their subconscious bid to choose the winner according to the usual ways these competitions tend to go.
Of course the usual racists emerged with the usual stereotypes to keep things rooted in the past.
I wasnt too worried about them but am happy some folks were jolted into the place where they would have a 'quiet' reflection on how and who they judge to be beautiful!
You are the Pathfinders for your life
Black women need to understand that they are the pioneers in this new and exciting life of abundance and liberty they hope to enjoy. Many of you are having a hard time because you are looking to older others to provide guidance. These others either have stale and even dangerous advice for you or they are like many black mothers I see today who dont even know which way is up!
I live on the outskirts of London at this point and I often see young African girls left to fend for themselves. The mothers are there but being socially backwards, isolated, church mad and of course working low paying gigs, these African mothers dont have the vital and strategic information needed to help direct their daughters to a higher plane of living.
Yes I am being a bit harsh here but the gist of what I am saying remains true, many black mothers are so out of modern life, they have out of kilter prorities and funny notions in place that it is actually dangerous for these women to give advice to anyone! Many of the daughters understand this ,but when they look to others they still get offered outdated directives on how to take on life. See many black women are carried away by women who look together, have their hair 'did', wear expensive shoes and gold watches but they are still continuing the agenda of 'farming' black women for the work of the black community. These women have refused to come to terms with modern society but want to hold to black indignation and continue ancient feuds and keep ruminating on past slights. They still want an us versus them situation with black and white and they would rather die than allow a reapproachnment between the races. They are so emotionally attached to never ending the black-white feud almost as if they are sworn to it for eternity. This mindset keeps them and women who look to them for advice in emotional and social lack and limitation regardless of the rolex watch!
I have instructed a freind to let go of the emotionally draining battle she is having with her mother and just accept that she is on her own and going to have to rise to the task of finding her way through this world. She is going to have to be savvy, look for mentors and cultivate the necesary attitudes to enable people take to her and show her the ropes. Her mother is one of those who still talks about 'finding a man in church' lol, she could well be in a bubble for all the advice she gives and insists her daughter follow.
No wonder many black women fail, or they reach a career hieght and then make a false move. Most of our mothers never walked the corriders of power and werent privy to how things are run so even with the best of intentions they dont have the right advice for their daughters. For many black women who live in europe, we will actually be the first 'elder' generartion to pass on wisdom for living, to those coming behind!
I will expand this discussion in a future article.
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