Cultural Influence: Black Women Controlling The Conversation
Posted By: Sofía Montiel on March 24, 2023 |
Every eye is watching how the Black woman moves, and that is exactly why she holds a unique place in society as the reigning influencer of culture. For decades, Black women have been overlooked and excluded from having a voice across industries, but now they are changing the narrative and controlling the conversation.
From sitting at the executive tables of male-dominated career fields to amplifying representation in the media, the Black woman’s voice is significant. Whether it’s in fashion, business, beauty, music, television, and beyond, Black women validate the trends that even other communities look forward to following.
“Black audiences spend more time with media than any other group in the U.S., with content engagement that consistently drives breakout hits and trending topics alike,” a Nielsen report on representation stated.
Although every Black woman isn’t in the spotlight or recognized for their influence, these particular Black women are holding it down in the public eye, making back- to- back headlines as they challenge norms and shift the culture accordingly.
For years, Rihanna has been known for making bold statements in the media. She has started trends that are now followed by many other female celebrities. Rihanna is a factor in controlling the conversation as she uses her brands Fenty Beauty and Savage X Fenty to diversify its industries. Fenty Beauty, along with other Black women-owned beauty brands has brought Black women into the conversation of making sure there is a true “nude” for melanated skin tones.
To add to RiRi’s influence, her Savage X Fenty line has amplified gender and body inclusivity, opening doors for the LGBTQ+ communities and plus- sized fashionistas. Through the layout of her fashion shows, Rihanna has demanded the world to pay attention to the unique differences of individuals who don’t meet the typical standards of white society. Her efforts in diversifying these spaces have pushed other large fashion brands to do the same, forcing them to embrace culture, larger features, and communities of color.
It’s almost as if the world was mad for a second when the Black Girl Luxury trend took off. The trend, pioneered by Black women such as Patricia Bright, placed Black women in a light that society tried to exclude them from.
Bright and other Black women who drive this trend have normalized a lavish lifestyle of happiness, financial freedom, and traveling that for years has mainly been experienced by their white counterparts.
“…Being black is not a trend. It’s great that everyone is more aware now, but we’ve always been here, even if everyone else wasn’t seeing us,” Bright told Glamour in a past interview. “However, I love that black girls now see themselves represented by models and brands as that’ll boost their confidence.”
Once Black women got into media spaces, the narrative began to change for how they were portrayed on television and in movies.
The Black woman filmmaker who didn’t get behind the camera until she was 32, is a history-making writer, director, and producer. Ava DuVerney has used her skills and platform to tell the stories of Black women and Black culture, and reflect them on major Hollywood screens. Black women filmmakers like DuVerney validate the experiences of Black people and use these narratives to influence the world to respond differently to the raw culture of Black people.
“I’ve been in a lot of spaces where I’m the only woman, the only Black person, the only person of color,” DuVerney said at the Toronto Film Festival in 2020. “Now I walk in, like, ‘why am I the only one? What’s wrong with you? Why don’t you have more people here?’
Selma, one of DuVerney’s most well-known films, starring powerful Black talents including Oprah Winfrey, Lorraine Toussaint, Tessa Thompson, Carmen Ajogo, and Niecy Nash, told the story of the epic march Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his followers made from Selma to Montgomery.
Black women, having curvier body types, larger features, or darker complexions have previously been ignored in areas like ballet, modeling, and even being featured in music videos.
Lizzo is all about body positivity and you better not mess with her girls. The award-winning singer and musician has made her message clear in the industry since the beginning, welcoming her plus-sized dancers onstage, she has influenced the culture to embrace the reality that everyone is not the same, and old standards should not dictate who gets to showcase their talents to the world.
Although Lizzo has heavily influenced the music industry, the singer had to address the public who accused her of making music for white listeners, however Lizzo set the record straight explaining that she draws inspiration from Black music from the 1970s and 1980s. She described her music as “funky” and “soulful.” Artists like Lizzo are using their talents to bring back the originality of the Black musicians who paved the way.
Symone D. Sanders
Author and democratic strategist Symone Sanders-Townsend, 32, brought her bold passion for social justice to the world of politics when she was appointed the youngest presidential press secretary at age 25. The former Senior Advisor and Chief Spokesperson to Vice President Kamala Harris, shifted her passion to host her MSNBC show SYMONE, where she discusses controversial issues of present-day America. She brought the perspective of the younger generation to juvenile justice and policy conversations.
“I am motivated by the simple fact that someone fought, marched, cried, prayed and spoke up so that one day I would be able to do the same for the next generation,” Sanders-Townsend said in her bio. “I also know that when I show up — whether it’s on tv, to a meeting or at my fellowship at Harvard — no one is going to bring the same perspective. So it’s my duty to show up as my authentic self every single time.”
SOURCE Black Enterprise
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