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An Ode to Women of Color

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Serena Quintanilla-Perez

I learned for the first time what standardized beauty i was 7 years old. I turned the TV on her 18-year-old Britney Spears in a red latex jumpsuit with blonde hair and matte blue eyeshadow. Watching her symbolically shake her hips, Oops!… I Did it Again music videoa message was planted in my psyche: blondes, thin, and white are hot.

Over the next decade, this message was strengthened. Seventeen magazine cover, reality showand teenage soapAnd I wasn’t the only one who absorbed that clear instruction. Diaspora Co. founder Sana Javeri Kadri said he thought he was ugly when he was growing up simply because he had brown skin and curves.author Daniel Prescod While trying to resemble the actress who was his love interest on and off camera, he developed an eating disorder.

Looking back, whether I liked what I saw in the mirror, or lacked the confidence to audition for a lead role in community theater, or if I hadn’t seen anyone who looked like me at all, I would have been second. I guess you were guessing.She shared my cultural values ​​in music videos and on the red carpet, but thankfully I did — her name is Serena Quintanilla-Perez.

The “Queen of Tejano Music” singer had plump, wavy lips, wavy black hair, and a stretched butt for days.She didn’t fit the white American mold — yet she soaredHer warmth, charisma, and humility have captivated audiences in both Mexico and the United States, and seeing her popularity in both communities made them feel at ease and inclined towards Mexican-American culture. I was so excited.

Today, as the mother of a little brown girl, I am grateful that she has so many women. Selena Gomez, Zendaya, Yara Shahidi and maitre ramakrishnan — to make her feel represented and valued when she turns on the TV or radio. So, to celebrate the women making waves in an industry built for white men, I asked five women to share which key women helped them own their legacy. This is what they said…

Michelle Yeoh

“When I think of beauty, I think of battle scenes. crouching tiger hidden dragonwhere Michelle Yeoh Fly through the air with a sword. Her hair is pulled into a loose bun, revealing her look: dark brows, set lips, and eyes that kiss the corner like mine. I was 15 when I first saw the movie and was mesmerized by her face. I thought.She gave me a map of her self-admiration, which is not the same as self-love, but a step towards her self-love, after seeing Yeo accept her Oscar All at once, anywhere Last month, I played her speech in my mind. The most beautiful year awaits us all. — Taotai

rihanna oscar

“In high school, I found a way Rihanna I embraced her sexuality so powerfully. She didn’t let her cultural stigma stop her from dressing as she liked. At the time, the way we treated teenage girls was completely skewed. There was a lot of slutty shaming and the burden was placed on young women to dress a certain way in order to avoid being called into the office and covered in sweatpants. bottom! Rihanna has an attitude of living her best life and being second to none that applies to beauty and fashion that I admire and emulate. — Chloe Hall

Gloria Estefan

“My childhood dance troupe used to dance to Gloria Estefan. conga, ever since, I’ve been obsessed with her. Her performance exudes her exuberance, confidence and joy. This is the trait I try to convey in my career. It’s incredible to see more women of color in the spotlight and more representation. — Priscilla Vega

Zadie Smith Interview Magazine

Zadi Smith is an author I’ve been obsessed with since reading his debut novel in 2000. white teethSmith talks about not seeing herself appear in the media while growing up and how it really gave her the freedom to express herself the way she wanted. Similarly, I grew up without much consumption of mainstream media such as print and television. But I found that release too. I was able to spend less energy comparing how I fit in and instead carve out a path that felt true to me. — Skiye Patel

Issa Ray Insecure

“Issa Rae celebrates herself in a way that I love. She shines relentlessly bright in an industry that doesn’t have much room for dark-skinned black women. She’s also fashion forward.” – she 2018 Ebony Magazine Spread It will stay in my heart forever.I have a photo of me wearing it ombre coat Tilt her head while she looks directly at the camera. she has a gentle power. I feel like she’s powerful, badass, soft and sexy because of her. — Abbie Mallett

Who would you add to your list? Which Black, Latino, Asian, South Asian, Indigenous, Middle Eastern or Pacific Islander woman inspires you? Fangirl with us below. please…

P.S. “What did nine movies and shows with gay characters mean to me?” and raising race-conscious children.

(Photo by Zaddy Smith Sebastian Kim.)

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