This might sound silly, but I have a few people on my Facebook newsfeed who I basically rely on for all the new viral videos, memes, or articles. Whenever I see their name, I’m basically certain that whatever they post or share will be at least somewhat relevant to my interests. I look at them as my “woke” friends, and by ‘friends’ I mean people I’ve met at some in my life and likely no longer talk to. But that’s okay! I feel like these people and I have a weird sort of bond where even though I don’t actually talk to some of them, we still connect with our mutual appreciation of staying active and “woke” with current events.
Because I don’t follow celebrity news or use Twitter, its likely I wouldn’t even have known about this if it wasn’t for one of my “woke” Facebook buddies sharing an article discussing the issue.
Here is a link to what actually happened:
In summary, this “fan” tweeted this picture to Rihanna, which shows her photoshopped as a “white person” with a caption saying that “…this is undeniable proof that the whiter the more beautiful.” Rihanna proceeded to block her and supposedly anyone else who tweeted her the picture. After skimming the “fan”‘s profile, it seems highly likely that they are a troll looking to start arguments and controversy – but it worked. The fact that others retweeted the same picture would mean that others genuinely believe it, which is both humorous and disappointing. Quite honestly, the photoshopped picture of Rihanna is creepy, ghostly, and unnatural. Also, how many White celebrities these days are actually that pale? Isn’t being “tan” now a long-standing “trend” that is being maintained throughout our society and media? – or does this “trend” not apply to people of color, whose naturally beautiful colored skin are discounted?
The original tweet quotes “the whiter the more beautiful” which is not only horrifically racist and untrue, but also perpetrates the notion that White beauty is more highly prized than that of colored. These ideologies have been around for a long time in America – with the “standard” of beauty being Western.
This article from 2014 is titled “5 Disney Princesses Reimagined As Caucasian”. Maybe this author was feeling left out because not every Disney princess was portrayed as white? It wasn’t enough that most of them were stereotypically White – let’s “reimagine” the rest as White too! Just like the Rihanna tweet, there are so many problems associated with this.
The fact that this article is serious makes me want to gag. For example, under a rather ugly picture of reimagined “White” Jasmine (from the movie Aladdin) is the caption:
“This image shows us that Aladdin would have been just as amazing, if not even better, with Jasmine as a Caucasian princess.”
Um – what? “If not even better”? The implication in this sentence is basically that White is better, which is disgusting and wrong. It’s so important for children (and grown ups) to have role models and celebrities to look up to that mirror them in looks and ethnicity. It helps us feel comfortable in our own skin and better about how we are an how we look. The fact that it is acceptable to Whitewash celebrities and influential Disney characters highlights a major problem in our society. A problem stemmed from institutionalized racism, cultural appropriation and a lack of initiative from White America to address and solve the issue.
What do you think about Rihanna’s tweet? What about the “reimagined” Disney princesses?