Gabrielle Union Talks About Eurocentric Standards Of Beauty and The Importance Of Representation

Gabrielle Union has been in Hollywood for a number of years. Always the ageless face in many of her roles, she’s a beauty in every sense of the word.

In a recent interview, Union spoke about how she’s experienced certain issues throughout the duration of her career when she wears her natural hair. This is because, on many photo shoots and film sets, makeup and hair stylists aren’t necessarily well versed in how to care for and style black hair.

This can be an awkward and uncomfortable situation to be in. Union explains: “There’s a larger conversation with people of color when it comes to our hair and our skin color. People will try to lighten our skin tones and alter our hair, which says a lot about how we feel about ourselves versus how people feel about our blackness and textured hair. We need to showcase the fullness of beauty.”

There is a certain standard of beauty that centers around European features. To look as European as possible: straight hair, lighter skin, and a more angular nose are often sought. But this isn’t the naturally existing features of people of color, more notably of black people.

Union uses the situations with both Solange Knowles and Lupita Nyong’o, which recently made headlines. Both women had their natural hair altered via Photoshop on the covers of two completely different magazines.

Gabrielle explains that this type of thing happens to her all of the time, that her skin has been lightened to such a degree that it made her look over-exposed.

Union says that she’ll notice and people who know her will notice but other people won’t. She believes that getting rid of the Eurocentric standards of beauty can help to rid this notion that beauty only looks a certain way; that women of color need to be altered and prodded in such overt ways to fit some type of beauty barometer is harmful and inaccurate.

Natural hair and dark skin can be gorgeous and professional and versatile and everything else that we so often attribute to other, more widely recognized aspects of beauty. Black women don’t have to be made to look like white women in order to be beautiful.


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