“I like my baby hair, with baby hair and afros.”
“I like my Negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils.”
Those are probably the most decadent and provacative lyrics from Beyonce’s, “Formation”. Why? Because she was not only speaking to the masses and letting you know that Black is Beautiful but directly to Black Folk who make frequent comments on her baby’s hair texture and style and the size of her lover’s nostrils. The people who comment the most about Blue and Jay Z are people who look like Blue and Jay Z. We are the most offended by our hair texture and nose size.
We have been taught to hate our Blackness subliminally by the media and at times, within our own familial structures. There is a standard of Eurocentric Beauty that is upheld not just in our society but worldwide. There is an understanding that lighter skin, a narrow nose and fine features are what is considered beautiful. And the complicated topic of hair! Where do you begin with this tumultuous topic? There is a natural hair “movement” happening where Black women are embracing and wearing our hair the way it grows from our scalp. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, right? Oh, but it is. Hair has also been defined as a standard of beauty and straight hair has been a mode for upward social mobility within the Black Community. As a mater of survival, we have had to cover our scalps with toxic lye in order to take out the kinks that reminds us and the greater society of our Blackness. I can comfortably say that there is a huge change in the way society and our own communities have embraced our distinct kinks and curls.
But let us hone in on Beyonce’s visuals for a minute. Not her video but her. Her skin is a light shade of brown and hair is dyed blonde. She is a great performer, hard worker and is wildly successful. She might have contemporaries in her field who may be just as hard working and brilliant performers but may never achieve worldwide success because they may be a darker shade of Black but that visual has not been praised as brilliant and beautiful.
Beyonce is the epitome of what society upholds as beautiful but she wanted to remind y’all what she finds beautiful. She like her baby’s hair with baby hair and an afro. She likes her Negro’s nose with wide, Jackson Five nostrils. Those visuals are not what society considers beautiful but she covets it. With her influence, she is looking to debunk the myth of the American Beauty.
Don’t get too lost in all of the other lyrics that may not have too much of a political message. It is, after all, Beyonce. She is a Popstar not a Politician, not a Social Activist. She is a Black Woman who has experienced an amount of privilege because of her light skin and dyed blonde hair but she just wants to remind you to not let her “visuals’ fool you. She has that privilege today and she would have had it if she were alive 100 years ago in the American South. The visuals are to remind you that she is aware and she’s woke.
Hop on over to www.beyonce.com and watch if you haven’t seen the video already. While you are at it you can order a sweatshirt or a bag with a witty saying.