Ask Morgana 226: Who’s beautiful?
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…
… 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…
… 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.
Images reproduced under ‘fair use’ provisions.