Ask Morgana 226: Who’s beautiful?

afforms2

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A friend approached me recently and asked me why I did not feature more images of people with an African heritage. I pointed out that I had featured Harry Belafonte and Lena Horne, but she said that these had appeared here some time ago. My friend then passed over her iPad and asked me what I thought of the young woman shown in image 1 above.

“She’s beautiful,” I said. “Who is she?”

“Her name is Ana Foxxx,” my friend replied. “That’s one ‘n’ and a triple ‘x’.”

“Why have I never heard of her? What does she do for a living?”

“She’s a porn actress, hence the x-x-x!”

“Really?” I should have guessed, of course, as when it comes to porn X marks the spot and XXX marks the g-spot. But still, the more I looked at her face with its markedly African qualities, I was given cause to reflect that so many people who work in the porn industry affect a kind of sleazy glamour based on some fairly hackneyed stereotype fetishes. Ana is, on the other hand, very, very beautiful. I have to confess I was smitten.

It made me wonder, however, what I search for in an African face, and whether I look for the same qualities there that an African does, or someone from the African diaspora. Take the young woman in image 2 below…

fulani-woman

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… her ethnicity is Fulani, and she comes from Nigeria. Her beauty is clear, modest, and youthful, but am I looking for European analogues, to which the African elements are, for me, exotic touches? Image 3 is of a young woman who conforms more closely to European or American criteria…

dark-girl

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… and that is making the answering of my own question more and more difficult. Perhaps I should put that question aside and admit that beauty is indeed always a subjective issue. After all, every day I see people who are beautiful in their ordinariness, people whom I call drop-dead-next-door. They have no catwalk glamour, they have no porn-queen glitz, but they are beautiful.

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Images reproduced under ‘fair use’ provisions.

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