The Rear View Mirror


Now before we go any further, I’m going to let all of the men who read the Mad (political) Scientist know that unless she just happens to be in a picture with President Barack or First Lady Michelle Obama or at some point talks about something I might be interested in with the same level of intelligence she reserves for talking about her fashion line, her latest movie, or the rather inane music she puts out, this will be the first, last and only time that you will see Mrs. Beyonce Knowles Carter on this blog.

But now that this disclaimer has been issued, I’ll move on to the reason why I have decided to illustrate this post with a picture of the creator of some of the most annoying dance music this side of Lady Gaga.

This is a post about image. To be specific, this is a post about how image can kill and how a young woman from England who longed for a career in music videos found that out the hard, and permanent way.

A few weeks ago, I read a column by Philadelphia Daily News columnist Jenice Armstrong about the new trend that’s sweeping the nation: butt implants.

No, I’m not kidding.

Apparently, something that me and most of my friends have been made fun of about our entire lives is now the rage for women of all races, creeds and colors. Thanks to the popularity of women like Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, Nicki Minaj and others, you’re envied if your derriere isn’t as flat as a pancake.

Because of this, women are buying special underwear, sticking pads on their backsides, or rushing off to the plastic surgeon to pay for something that they could get for free if they just hit the gym or took the stairs instead of the elevator.

(Anatomy 101: your buttocks are a muscle. You build it up, you get Beyonce. )

But hitting the gym or taking the stairs doesn’t produce the kind of results that will help you win that job in Beyonce’s Husband’s Next Video by next Tuesday. Besides, what happens if you find yourself reenacting the scene from “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka!” where the lead character finds out that nothing on the woman he’s taken home is real? Thus, better living through Brazilian Butt Lift becomes the next best thing. There’s just one problem with that: like most plastic surgery, it ain’t cheap.

So just like anything else, you can get it illegally if you think you need it.

And that reality brought 20-year-old Claudia Seye Aderotimi to America.

Aderotimi had done a music video in London when she met talent scout Tee Ali, according to the Sun newspaper. She wore the specially padded trousers that women who don’t have the badonkadonk needed for music video fame use to give the appearance of a fantastic fanny.

She was a dancer, so she could move. She wanted to be well-known, so she had the drive.

But she didn’t have the booty. And when she went to audition for another video and had to tell the truth about her curves, Aderotimi didn’t get a second shot.

So she came to Philadelphia for one. Aderotimi and three of her girlfriends came to the United States for a holiday. Two of the women went to New York while Aderotimi and her other girlfriend came to the Hampton Inn at the Philadelphia International Airport to see a man about a liquid silicone injection for illegal hip and buttock enhancement.

Aderotimi died Monday after complaining of chest pains and trouble breathing after the procedure.

Now I could go on about some of the substances that people are allowing themselves to be injected with in the name of the booty beautiful, substances that range from petroleum jelly to building caulk.

But this is a post about image, so let’s stick to that.

About a month or so ago, a friend of mine named Heather Faison wrote a post on her blog about an image issue that she was going through with some young girls she was teaching in Cameroon. She noticed that these beautiful Black children were walking around under umbrellas and using products to bleach their skin.

Why? Because they wanted to conform to the image that they saw in the fashion magazines. They wanted to be the long-legged white models with the long, flowing hair that they saw in mags like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Elle. Since they couldn’t do that with what they had, they were willing to stay out of the sun and poison themselves with skin creams to do the job.

I felt for Heather. So I asked if there was anything that we, meaning myself and the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists, could do to help. She said that if she had some printed alternatives to show them, that might help.

And to the credit of everyone in PABJ, they stepped up to the plate big time. I sent out a bunch of magazines about a month ago, and another bunch is leaving tomorrow. In fact, Heather might need help getting this bunch back to her place in Cameroon. When folks give you boxes of magazines, it’s no joke.

But one of PABJ’s members made a good suggestion: include something like a study guide with them because American magazines, even ones with Black faces, can send the wrong message. I didn’t think of that, but once it was brought to my attention it made sense.

You see, when America presents Black women, you’re more likely to see someone who looks closer to the models in Vogue. Even when I look at magazines like Essence or Ebony or Vibe I don’t see me.

Lots of women don’t. And we need to address that.

Hopefully it’ll happen before the next enhancement trend springs up….and the next illegal entrepreneur figures out a way to profit from it at the expense of another young woman.

(You notice that this stuff never happens to men? I’ll address that next post.)

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