Tag Archives: tyra banks show

Love Me, In All My Shades

Some black women would go to extreme lengths to hav

Some black women would go to extreme lengths to have her complexion

Latisha, from the 10 September 2008 episode of the Tyra Banks Show, is allergic to bleaching creams. But because of her desperate need to lighten her skin, she put generic liquid bleach to her face. I remember feeling outrage when I first watched this episode at 15. What could possibly make a woman loath her colour so much? As she told her story, of how people told her that she was pretty, “for a dark girl,” I realised that I had experienced similar events. When people say things like that they make it seem like some sort of achievement to be pretty because I am dark, but can we really blame them if our definition of beauty is the opposite of what I am?

A beautiful black woman, according to mainstream media, is light-skinned. The hip-hop culture constantly promotes, “yellow-bones”, women of lighter skin. There is a general consensus that besides being viewed as more physically attractive, black women who have fair skin are favoured over “red-bones” or darker people. There are less cosmetic products that go with their skin tone where there is a wide-range for those of lighter skin and white people. Sometimes some cosmetics companies do not go beyond the darkest shade white people can achieve.

Colourism is very pertinent in our society today, besides being a recent and controversial topic. The term is applied to the discrimination between different shades of black people, where people (of all races) give preference to or discriminate against black people of a different shade. This problem keeps growing what with recent the recent boom in skin bleaching products.

As we are still hanging about in the dust of apartheid, it is important to realize that racism is not over. Just because laws enforcing racism are gone does not mean that the people who enforced, made and supported those laws stopped. White people are still favoured over black people in the media, and the black people we have in the media to represent us are mostly light-skinned. And it is no secret that they are favoured over darker people. It is wrong for people to be seen as more beautiful than others purely based on the colour of their skin.

In 2008, while her show was still on, Tyra Banks had an episode where she interviewed women who bleached their skin and asked them why they did it. Though her mother told Latosha she was beautiful, she also told her that, “being lighter brought [her] beauty out more.” She holds the same mentality and bleaches her own children.

I conducted a survey among black UCT (University of Cape Town) second year students, all on the brink of adulthood and therefore, the most susceptible to colourism. Most of the girls admitted that they did not like when their skin went darker. The image of black women presented in the media –of light-skinned women is what we come to naturally associate with as ‘beautiful’. One of my fellow students, Nyasha*, said that she did not hate her skin tone, she just did not like it when it got darker; it made her feel less beautiful. Another, Anele* said that her mother always told her to stay out of the sun and bought her bleaching cream when she refused. The boys admitted that they thought that light-skinned girls were prettier but, there were some really pretty dark girls as well.

I realize that most of my comments are generalizations and do not hold true in some cases but at the same time, they are generally true. I also believe that the image projected by the media to us needs to change and that black women need to be uplifted so that they can stop harming their skin and their children’s. The message we are giving to the younger generation, when we bleach our skin, is that they are not good enough as they are. We are teaching them to be ashamed of their skin colour. This message is wrong and bigoted; and it needs to change. That is why I find women like Tyra Banks, who constantly promote women and especially black women to love themselves as they are, so inspirational.

It is wrong for anyone, to feel insecure about their skin colour and wish to change it, especially in this day and age. But they are victims of society because, as I have said before, lighter-skinned women are put on a pedestal and as Tyra says in that episode of her show, “darker-skinned women need images of themselves in the media to feel beautiful…” because if all we see is light skin we are bound to see that the way we look does not fit into what society deems beautiful. And it will not be long before we wish to change it to fit the norm.

*All names have been changed.


Tyra Banks: The Supreme of the Supers

From: howmuchdotheyweigh.com

From: howmuchdotheyweigh.com

Tyra Lynne Banks is an African-American model, author, actress, TV personality and philanthropist. She was born on the 4th of December 1973 in California, in the US. In 2007 she was named as one of the Times: 100 Most Influential People in the world.

She was the first black woman to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated Magazine’s Swimsuit Issue . Her rise to fame stemmed from this success as well as her appearance on the same cover the next year. She was also the first black woman to feature on the cover of GQ and in 1997 she was the first black woman chosen for the cover of Victoria’s Secret Catalogue. She was a Victoria’s Secret Angel from 1997 to 2005.

She started her own production company, Bankable Productions. Productions include The Tyra Banks Show which premiered 12 September 2005. The show was aimed towards young women and dealt with issues they face as they grow up and enter the world. Through the show, she reconstructed the meaning of ‘beautiful’ emphasizing that real women are not perfect and ridiculing the air-brushed image we’re fed through mainstream media.

After a picture of her looking over weight was released and circulated in the media. Tyra came out in that same bikini, during her show and told everyone that she emraced her curves and that women everywhere should.

She won, in 2008, the Daytime Emmy Award for The Tyra Banks Show and again in 2009. Oprah Wimphrey was among the people who believed that Tyra’s show was a constant inspiration for girls everywhere, and that Tyra herself was larger than life.

Another production by Bankable Productions was a movie, The Clique, based on popular teen novel series by Lisi Harrison.

From: laizalounge.com

From: laizalounge.com

As a philanthropist she established TZONE programme in 1999 aimed towards leadership and life skills development. She also funds the Tyra Banks Scholarship funding tuition for young African American girls at the prestigious, Immaculate Heart High School she attended.

From: antm411.com

From: antm411.com

The most successful TV show she produced with Bankable Productions was the Top Model franchise. Starting with the American counterpart, America’s Next Top Model, the brand has grown to epic proportions with Top Model shows in Asia and Europe. For America’s Next Top Model, she is creator, executive producer, host and head judge.

Her first novel, Modelland was on the New York Times Best Seller list in October 2011. It is a story about four girls accepted into a prestigious modelling school in the world of the book’s namesake, Modelland.

From: madelinesfashion.blogspot.com

From: madelinesfashion.blogspot.com

Despite much criticism Tyra Banks is inarguably on of the most influential women today. she has used her celebrity for good and is a role model for both young and old, women and men alike. She has delved where no other super model had before and opened doors for young women who like she once did, wish to be Top Models.