Like many of you, we’re still fuming about Alessandra Stanley‘s tasteless New York Times op-ed depicting Shonda Rhimes and her Black characters as the “Angry Black woman.” However, another upsetting statement made by Stanley was labeling Viola Davis “less classically beautiful.”
“As Annalise, Ms. Davis, 49, is sexual and even sexy, in a slightly menacing way, but the actress doesn’t look at all like the typical star of a network drama. Ignoring the narrow beauty standards some African-American women are held to, Ms. Rhimes chose a performer who is older, darker-skinned and less classically beautiful than Ms. Washington, or for that matter Halle Berry, who played an astronaut on the summer mini-series ‘Extant.’”
What does she mean by less classically beautiful?
Classically is defined as traditionally accepted and I’ll make the correlation Stanley is stating Davis is not the “traditional” standard of beauty and will not be accepted by mainstream America because her skin hue is a few shades darker than Kerry Washington and Halle Berry, who is biracial. With that statement Stanley reiterates the notion that Black women, more specifically dark-skinned Black women, are not as beautiful as Blonde hair, blue-eyed, fair-skinned women. As if we all aspire to the white standard of beauty.
While Stanley maintains her stance saying the article is praising Rhimes and Davis, I’ll maintain my stance the article is more damaging than ever. Not only is it racist and diminishes the talents of Rhimes and Davis, but also it suggests to young Black girls unless they are fair-skinned they are not as beautiful. As if we need more examples of colorism aiding to divide and conquer the Black community.
Check out the many beautiful responses under the hashtag #LessClassicallyBeautiful