Reggie Bush Essence Magazine Cover Debacle


Okay ladies, so 99.9% of us will acknowledge that Reggie Bush is a sexy specimen of a human-being.  The February issue of Essence Magazine bore that fact out in all its bare-chested glory.  However, Essence apparently pressed a sensitive button with the sistahs by featuring Mr. Bush as their cover model.  Apparently, his relationship with the famed reality star/sex-tape queen/walking-spectacle that is Kim Kardashian caused a great deal of acrimony with a segment of the Essence audience.  The March issue ironically features our President, the progeny of an interracial romance, along with his phenomenal bride–our first lady (Michelle Rocks!).   It also includes an article addressing the Bush cover uproar.

Now the crux of the issue revolves around the now ageless question of why brothers, particularly those at a certain income levels  choose to date outside out their race.  An article penned by blogger Jemilah Lemieux recounts the seemingly endless list of black male celebs known for their interracial proclivities, including: John Legend, Kobe Bryant, Quincy Jones, and Keenen Ivory Wayans.  I would add to that list P. Diddy (J. Lo and Cassy), Pharrell ( Any Peruvian Model of the Moment), and apparently now Hill Harper (more about this one later).  

There is something organic that just burns in the belly of many of sistah when we see our men choose women unlike their mothers, sisters, nieces, and homegirls.  It just reeks of trying to attain some kind of status symbol based on the complexion of your arm candy.  Lemieux is right when she states that “Black men are our brothers and our lovers. We share a history…”.  It is in fact this history and the shared  consciousness that emerged from it that is largely the reason why many black men choose to date and/or marry interracially.

The beauty standards of America are based in an aesthetic of white or western supremacy.  The result is the what I have coined the The Brown Girl’s Dilemma: the predicament I and all black women face, as we receive a mediated messages of what is beautiful.  The message often directly contrasts what the mirror reflects, resulting in a schism that has had an indelible impact on the African-American community.  We as women internalized these standards  and have negotiated are identities accordingly.  Our men have internalized them, as well.  Thus, we have TigerTiger Woods y’all–a brother  (granted a multi-racial brother) whose has seemingly fetishsized his desire for the Barbiesque. 

Now, I am not one to judge a person’s love.  I truly believe that most interracial couples are legitimately together based on the purest and noblest forms of love.  Hence, this issue is intriguing to me because the reaction we as black women have to this is sometimes so visceral that its hard to negotiate what it means.  Accordingly, my heart and head were on fire when I saw Hill Harper (actor, writer, public intellectual) arm and arm with Nicole (nobody can pronounce her last name)  Scherzinger.  Harper, having just penned the book The Conversation: How Black Men and Women Can Build Loving, Trusting Relationships, has truly left me aghast. 

I, for one, am confused on what conversation Mr. Harper is having.   In reality, affairs of the heart are too complicated to be reduced to race, but I too am left asking what Louise Meriwether asked almost 40 years ago , “Black Man, Do You Love Me? (May 1970 Essence Magazine).

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1 Comment

  1. Very interesting points made! I did not know Hill Harper was dating Nicole S. This surprises me because after reading his book on black relationships I thought he was all about “rebuilding black relationships.” Guess not.
    I too used to experience this anger or irritation with seeing beautiful black men with women of other nationalities. Yet, what I have become even more intrigued by is the question: why are black women not dating outside of the black realm? There is this dedication to black men that black men don’t even have to black women. We hold onto the dream of a black family when I have to ask why are we not focusing more on just being happy with whomever is good to and for us?
    P.S. I didn’t even like Hill Harper’s relationship book. *smile*
    Good post!


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