Tuesday, August 05, 2008

I'm Confused

So the nice thing about being a dark skinned woman, who's lived her life as a dark-skinned woman, not-so-privately policed the portrayal of dark skinned women in entertainment, and even wrote her college thesis on dark skinned women (in African American literature), is that I always form a quick (and completely right, I'm sure) opin on all matters of skin tone.

But I have no idea what to make of this Tyra Banks as Michelle Obama photospread in Harper's Bazaar. Usually, I would be annoyed that once again, they've chosen to use a light-skinned model to portray a dark-skinned woman -- anyone who's ever heard me talk at length about the pointedly dark-skinned literary character of Shug Avery being replaced by a light-skinned actress in the movie version of The Color Purple, knows how I feel about this. But then they gave Tyra's Michelle dark-skinned daughters -- in an industry where you rarely, rarely see dark-skinned little girls.

Were conversations had behind the scene? I can't imagine that Harper's Bazaar is that enlightened. Maybe they just thought the kids were cutie-pies -- which they are. Maybe they were inspired by this month's circulation-dream: Italian Vogue.

We may never know, but I can't decide whether to be happy that they put dark-skinned little girls in the spotlight (for once) or to be annoyed that HB seems to think any old black people will do to play the potential first family, and that none of the family (save Obama himself) was cast from the right color spectrum. Sigh.

But on a funnier note, go here to see the hilarious take on crazy Tyra Banks playing the completely awesome Michelle Obama on Stereohyped. They also have more pictures.

One more thing: I hate to be like this, but how dope is Tyra's dress in this picture?

1 comment:

J said...

What is dark skinned? I am dark skinned but we both look different... could we be played by the same woman? (I think so.) I saw Michelle Obama in person and she is definitely lighter than me and yet darker than Tyra. Coming from the Creole family that I do-- anyone with brown skin was just a lighter hue but not necessarily a light skinned woman. Tyra has brown skin. She isn't light-- perhaps lighter. I love the pictures and you're right that her dress is extra dope. The girls are beautiful-- and don't like anything like Malia and Sasha. And you're right, Harpers doesn't know about our obsession with color-- or perhaps they do and it was intentional.