Note from BW of Brazil: What’s going on? It’s a shame that I even have to ask such a question, but when you see more than a few black faces on magazine covers on newsstands in Brazil, it’s a legitimate question. And in the past few weeks I’ve had to stop and do a double take more than a few times when passing these newsstands. First I saw Anok Yai and Alton Mason on not one, but two covers for Brazil’s edition of Vogue magazine.
Then, there was Rachel Maia on the cover of Forbes Brasil magazine. Rachel CLEARLY understands the concept of being one of the few black faces in certain places. As black women are a rarity in the ranks of CEOs in Brazil, Rachel considers herself making up 0.4% of this universe. And she alones represents that 0.4% as she is the ONLY black woman CEO of a top company in Brazil.
Of course, although it’s been rather sporatic in recent years, we also have the latest edition of Raça Brasil, the country’s only magazine targeting the Afro-Brazilian population. This month their cover story is about black social media influencers.
And then there’s the newest edition of Marie Claire Brasil magazine featuring the stunning twin, dark-skinned black sisters from the country’s northeast. I was so blown away by their photo that I’ll have to save that for a separate post!
Not to get this twisted because the vast majority of cover photos still represent the European models, as usual, so the black faces are still a vast minority so I’m not gonna try to make this out to be some sort of revolutionary shift in standards of beauty, but it’s still worth noting. I will definitely be buying a copy of the twin sister models because they are absolutely stunning. More on that in an upcoming story.
For now, I can acknowledge that I’m not the only one who took note of a few more black bodies featured as cover stories. And for a Eurocentric Brazil, THAT’S still saying something!
The “New” Concept of Beauty
By Carol Lee Dutra
It’s not news to mortals that the concept of beauty until recently was imprinted on advertising, fashion catwalks, magazine covers, and the media in general, and which for centuries determined the standard for belo pessoas (beautiful people) with European features, rarely, if not at all recognized in the beauty of the Brazucas (Brazilians), which restricted this market to a few very mixed Brazilians of European descent. And in this concept that for centuries tall, slender, white and light-eyed people have dominated the advertising market as synonymous with being the most beautiful of the margarine commercials.
However, for some time now, the democratic internet and especially the economic growth of non-white people in the Black Money movement, who in turn started to invest in this market as owners of powerful brands and assuming positions of decision began to introduce in advertising, in the big fashion shows, magazine covers and in the marketing of beauty a growing number of models closer to the beauty of Brazilians – mestiços and blacks.
Fact is, the democratization of those who influence the look of the consumer and dictate what is beautiful has been the watershed in the advertising market and directing fashion to a simpler and sustainable way, and the pioneering black Digital Influencers have been putting in the heads of young blacks when it comes to consuming the slogan: “if you don’t represent us, we don’t consume”.
And, the combination of all these actions benefits to All Blacks of the World because it will be a path with no return on the appreciation of our beauty. Another relevant factor in the turn of the key of what it is to be beautiful and commercial is the circulation of big capitals in the hands of estrelas negros (black stars) who are investing in this market, and who inject fortunes in advertising and parades with the introduction of people who represent them, like the cool Fenty of the beautiful Rihanna, of the controversial but millionaire rap singer and stylist Kenye West, the genius fashion designer Virgil Abloh – creative director of the chiquérrima (super chique) Louis Vuitton and the cherry on the cake in this turn of events, the hiring of the British Vogue magazine – one of the main fashion publications in the world, of Edward Enninful, a Ghanaian-born black man, hired as creative editor of the magazine.
Reflection of this movement is the emergence of the new beauty, desired and sophisticated, after all what moves advertising is money in the parade, and if the money is in the hands of blacks, the doors of the advertising market open. And to illustrate the transformation that the TNM site is referring to, ladies and gentlemen get to know Anok and Mason – the models who are best friends off the catwalk and who have become symbolic of the changing marketplace of beauty and sophistication.
Anok Yai arrived from Egypt to cause the beginning of the revolution of fashion standards in Europe, and without ceremony or career time makes many veterans of the fashion world jealous for having already been on the cover of the main fashion magazines in the world and becoming a reference of beauty and sophistication for the first black woman to open the Prada fashion show in the elitist and almost snobby fashion week of Paris. And, next to Yai, Alton Mason, a basketball player’s son and dedicated to dance, shaking the fashion world by becoming the first black model to parade for the Chanel brand – how many decades did it take for an aesthetic standard to begin to transform and a non-white person to parade for a luxury brand?
We, TNM hope that, in fact, it is a definitive change and not a fad, after all consuming fashion or beauty, is not the merit of only one race, it reaches all mortals, therefore recognizing, employing and appreciating the various ethnicities as representatives of the beauty business should touch the scales that can balance, not only the opportunities in the industry of beauty, but in other corporative niches linked to any sector.
Carol Lee Dutra is a Graduate of Fashion Design.