This past week I was curled up in my bed watching a slew of music videos from the 80s and 90s. At first not paying attention to anything else but the ol’ school beat and catchy lyrics, I started to pay attention to all the young ladies in the music videos. I began to realize that either the actual singers or the girls in the background all had one trait in common—they looked like real women. Attractive women you could see out at night on the town, or running errands around the city. A variety of complexions, features and sizes. The more I noticed this commonality, the more I appreciated and began to compare it to modern day times.

From the newest sensation in the rap game, aka Nicki Minaj, to the video vixens making a name for themselves, nowadays you see women in media who mimic live dolls. Not necessarily throwing shade on these women’s images, but it is a domino effect that’s happening as more and more women are beginning to look like this. Back in the day, girls who dominated the game, such as SWV, Aaaliyah and Total, had natural talent to match their natural beauty. They rocked their natural length hair and embraced their full figures, and this made them feel relatable to the audience who were watching them. Not saying that these women did not have trends they embraced, but it was more along the lines of a similar haircut or a nail design, not necessarily implants or any type of plastic surgery.

Nowadays, media translates to real life. There is a thin line between what is done in entertainment and what is set as a blueprint for other young women. What are we telling young ladies when every woman we see is changing herself. Implants, injection, extensions, tummy tucks . . . the list can go on as to the numerous tricks you can use to change up your appearance. Yes, developing confidence should always start in the household, but when it doesn’t, young ladies begin to want to be like the women they see the most when they turn on a music video or an award show. This can also trickle down to young men, influencing them to want to have the same lifestyle as these rappers and leading them to try and find a girl like those they see on tv, or even encourage their current girls to fit that mold of all the women in the media. Some young ladies see that this certain look can bring them attention and so they start chasing ways in which they can look as “perfect” as possible.

It’s important that we know who we are as individuals and embrace it. I’m not necessarily talking about natural vs. perm or make up vs. fresh face, etc, but you should wrap yourself around whatever you personally like as an individual. Define your own beauty and make others gravitate to you. I’ve been hearing more and more women of color openly discussing plastic surgery to change their look, while, in reality, most plastic surgery is being done by women who want to have our natural traits.

So what are your thoughts, Is authentic beauty out of style?

-Ellisa Oyewo

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  • FunkyHairChic

    Authentic beauty will never go out of style. I believe the vast majority will prefer authentic beauty or “doll-beauty” any day. I can’t tell you how many polls, articles and interviews I’ve read with men chiming in on what they prefer in a woman. Most have said, in so many words, less is more.

    Nicki Minaj is an entertainer first. I don’t care for her “look”, but I know this is what is selling for her. Naturally, I believe she’s a pretty girl, but as long as she’s in the spotlight, she’s going to give the media what they expect.

    As a teacher, I see our young girls emulating her all the time. The contacts, the thick weave and eyelashes, caked on makeup, you name it they’re trying it. But Minaj is not trying to be a role model, she’s selling records. I think she couldn’t care less about the message she is sending. Her marketability is strong right now. But I’d like to believe when the concerts are over, the album-release parties end, and the music videos are a wrap, she goes home and removes her facad and becomes authentic again. *minus the butt and breast implants*

  • not a barbie

    when i get sick of being called ugly, i just go fake. a weave and some heels seems to do wonders for my street image, lol!

  • don

    Too each its own I say. But, if asking, I believe Nicki Minaj is proof just how far the [rap] game has changed, and not in a good way. Back in the days when things were real, Minaj would’ve been laughed off the airwaves with her extreme fakeness. Nowadays, not only is she embraced but heralded which is mindboggling.

    As a man, I promise that natural beauty is STILL the best thing going for sistas.

    Enjoyed the read, Oyewo.