It wasn’t long after a picture of 7-month-old Blue Ivy made its way to the Internet that the slander started. Facebook and Twitter posts  lamented the fact that Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s daughter was starting to look like her father. There were mean-spirited jabs about her inheritance of his “big lips” and jaws, and prayers that a “wide nose” wasn’t in her future. Here are only a few of the comments I saw online:

Beyoncé really screwed up, having a baby by Jay-Z. His nose and lips are never going to look right on a girl.

Let’s pray Beyoncé’s genes kick in as B.I.C. gets older. All the money and talent in the world won’t take away from having Jay-Z’s features.

Nappy-headed kid. Wish Beyoncé had married a nice-looking man instead of Jay-Z.

The criticism of full lips, “nappy” hair, and wide noses in our communities is weighted. Some people would have you believe attractiveness is subjective, but the truth is our collective view of facial features is tangled in the web of racism. In our social imagination, European features set the standard for what’s beautiful, rendering broad noses and big lips ugly.

Writer Akiba Solomon also tackled the issue in her article for Colorlines, “On Baby Blue Ivy Carter and the Alleged Ugliness of Blackness.” She writes:

I knew if indulged in even a smidgen more about this little girl, I’d find myself walking among stunted souls who traffic in the idea that the full lips, large eyes, broad nose, and dark brown skin of a Jay-Z is inherently ugly […] I hope, in our media-saturated, appearance-obsessed society that is still so wounded by white supremacist aesthetics, baby Blue will find peace and joy in the simple act of living, no matter what she looks like.

Demetria Lucas echoed Solomon’s sentiments in a piece on Essence.com, “Real Talk: Do We Believe All Black Is Beautiful?”:

If some of us are very honest, we’ll acknowledge that there are only certain “black” physical features that we as a collective find attractive. Curves? A blessing and curse. Full lips? Eh … depends on how full. Broad nose? On women, not at all. On men? Some get a pass, but not Jay-Z. Kinky hair? Not so much. There’s a reason most black women “prefer” perms, and even a lot of natural girls spend an inordinate amount of time and product trying to reconfigure their coils into curls.

It’s fair that some people simply don’t view Jay-Z as handsome. But when the public excoriates a baby for developing potentially “black” features, it’s our self-hatred that’s rearing its ugly head.

What are your thoughts on the Blue Ivy backlash, Clutchettes?

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  • alasia min

    All the people getting on blue ivy for her hair are likely self-hating black people. First off, while you can detangle curly hair, you’re not supposed to necessarily comb it.

    The backlash is nothing but racism. If black people didn’t judge themselves by European standards, this wouldn’t be an issue. Oh wait, but they go around bleaching their hair(and not to copy melanesians), getting nose jobs and wearing weaves to look more white, i.e. Tyra and Beyonce. Black men also have a self hate issue with talking bad about black women and dating white women for the wrong reasons( apparent black men and white women ahem the shortest lasting time period in terms of interracial relationships.)

  • jesposito

    I am sorry, but Blue Ivy is not a cute baby. I have known a lot of CUTE black babies. Thus, this is not a racist remark, just an honest one. But just like her mother who has had plastic surgery to enhance her looks, so can this baby can do when she grows up.

  • ItNoMatter

    I love her hair but truth be told she is not the prettiest in the whole world and I am not saying that because she is black. also don’t think anything is wrong with her lips or nose she is not perfect no one is. I also think that the whole racist thing is not really happening, I am black and I have never been made fun of because of my skin. I also think that Blue Ivy is very cute with her adorable clothes and how she matches with her mom.