“somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff.” – “Lady in Green” from For Colored Girls, Ntozake Shange

When Jennifer Lopez wore that Donatella Versace palm-print silk chiffon dress to the 2000 Grammy’s Award, the fashion media went nuts. Big butts slowly became less a sight of aesthetic contention. Through much of her  career–her movies, music videos, stage performances and red carpets alike, J.Lo continues to be praised for her shapely lines. It ultimately took a Puerto Rican chick from the Bronx to make what Black women have long been berated for fashionable.

The same could be said for the hype around Jennifer Love-Hewitt, and Scarlett Johansson whose pretty-curvy-for-a white-girl bodies earns them the attention of the fashion press making these stars bankable sex objects. And lest we forget Kim Kardashian–the ultimate booty eye-teaser, whose stacked backside nearly rips J.Lo fury.

Should Black women be thankful or mad? I mean, after all, it’s not like sizable posteriors are new to global imagination–not since Sarah “Saartjie” Baartman became an 19th century exhibition for racist, bio-curious scientists and horny European men.

What is really at play when the New York Daily News releases a story branding big butts as the hottest trend of summer 2010?

Why are Black women’s bodies compartmentalized, picked apart, and celebrated on the bodies of other women?

Although we can argue Serena Williams and Beyonce are equally celebrated for their curvy bodies, it really isn’t the same admiration given to these women.

White women, and less curvy women of color are cashing in on the “new trend.” Butt pads are flying off the shelves, and suddenly mainstream fashion commentary considers how great the butt looks in a Marchesa gown. Even some Black women find themselves compelled to compete with secret butt injections and medication that adds weight to the derriere.

From our music, dance moves and our bodies, it isn’t surprising to see our stuff as Ntozake Shange describes near stolen, repackaged and gilded anew.

–Geneva S. Thomas

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  • Fox

    No different when they were going crazy over Angelina Jolie’s lips. We will survive as we always do *sigh*.

  • binky

    great article because it hit the nail on the head. I often wonder why non black women get praised for features that was (and still is) ugly if it was on a black woman to certain people…blank stares… but your right we shouldn’t get mad, let these chicks make it trendy because guess what things in hollywood and the media get old FAST! One day curves and big booty is in but the next they will be talking about thin and slender figures next when a new big star hit the scene so let them have their trend because REAL women make it a force

  • Diane

    I love this article. I think it’s so true. Black women attributes have are being celebrated on other women. I like to say I was born with my curves. My mom had a big butt with hips and my grandma has a big butt with hips too. As a child all the women in my family always told me that I would have a shape like my mother. In the second grade is when I started having trouble finding jeans to fit my curves. Like Binky said, “One day curves and big booty is in but the next they will be talking about thin and slender figures.” I have always celebrated my curves and I don’t need the media to celebrated it for me.

  • Once skinny and now full-figured, I’ve always had a “booty”. I’ve alwqays been proud of who I am and because my other features are not “black”, have been told what an “oddity” I was. I’m still proud of who I am and how I look. White women have always wanted to look like us without actually admitting it. Tanning, botox, collagen, implants are all done with a black woman’s look in mind. Oh well, just means we’ve always been in vogue!