Few are as intimately acquainted with the professional politics of black women's beauty as Tyra Banks. The former supermodel and multifaceted entrepreneur has spent the last decade or so working to break down narrow perceptions of women's beauty (remember "You can kiss my fat ass"?).
But over the weekend Tyra tweeted a picture that made me raise an eyebrow. The photo depicts Tyra (un)dressed as Cindy Crawford.
It was amazing to be physically transformed into my idol, @CindyCrawford... #Fierce mole, hair & all! #NYFW #Tyra15 pic.twitter.com/ZnCb9WulHYThis could have been a touching tribute to a personal hero, but Tyra donning hair and makeup to depict a an iconic white woman gives me pause. My first thought was "why couldn't a black woman be her idol?" There are plenty to choose from. Moreover white supremacist society teaches Black women from the time we're children that the ideal is one we'll never be able to fulfill. Tyra here in light makeup an Cindy Crawford mole in tribute to her "idol" only reinforces that messaging.
— Tyra Banks (@tyrabanks) September 7, 2013
As it turns out, this image of Tyra is one in a series of photographs she's releasing for Fashion Week. So far all the portraits have been Tyra potraying white women which is unsettling, but perhaps she'll integrate by the end of the series.
What do you think of Tyra's photos?