Pt3: Would a dark-skinned Rihanna be successful?

Rihanna, Halle Berry, Beyonce, Eva the Diva, etc….would they be as famous if they had darker skin?

Why is Rihanna the current IT girl?

1. Her voice.

According to her fans, Rihanna’s voice is greatly improving. They claim that she sounds ALMOST as good as the pretty bland voice on her CDs (I admit, besides her voice her third album is a great listen!). I’m sure that you can name many, MANY darker black singers who have more talent, so why did Rihanna get shoved to the front?

2. Her style.

Apparently ‘Rih-Rih’ is a fashion icon. Her image has been moulded from Victoria Beckham, Fefe Dobson, Beyonce, Pink, etc, etc, etc. I always thought that icons were one of a kind, but now ‘swaggerjacking’ seems to be the latest thing to do. Other dark-skinned stars follow Rihanna’s hair style, ‘unique’ clothes, and ‘bad girl’ attitude, so why don’t they get the same shine?

3. Her love interests.

Rihanna has been romantically linked to many different men, such as her mentor Jay-Z, the Hollywood actor Josh Hartnett, and her ‘friend’ Chris Brown. How can a darker woman get enough media interest in her relationships if the masses believe that she is unattractive? Exactly, she can’t.

4. Music.

Now every time that I hear a Dance song, people find some way to relate it back to Rihanna. One minute she is the Princess of Pop, then she’s linked to R’n’B, and then Dance. And dark-skinned stars seem to find it much harder to cross genres because they’re always labelled as R’n’B or Rap. Lighter women can dye their hair blonde or a light brown and pass under the radar, just as some of them used to during the slave era.

5. Controversy.

I’m sure we all know about the Chris Brown versus Rihanna situation in his rented car. Before that was Rihanna ‘getting close’ to her mentor Jay-Z. She’s even spoken about being bullied at school for being lighter than her peers. Controversy leads to media attention which then (hopefully) leads to sales, and it works for her. It doesn’t work for dark-skinned black women. For example, the Destiny’s Child (4 member) debacle. Besides Beyonce always singing lead, the fall out pushed her even further to the front, which pushed the dark-skinned Kelly Rowland further into the background. Even when Kelly fainted on stage people barely blinked, but Beyonce tumbling at her concert was on mainstream news stations.

So…would Rihanna still be successful is she had dark skin like Megan Goode, Jazmine Sullivan, or Nia long? My answer…No way! Her image has been moulded into the ‘European ideal’ and her darker roots have been pushed aside. First, people seem fascinated by Rihanna’s white grand-mother, and it’s only now that her black grandparents (congrats on their 50yrs married) get some shine. How can dark-skinned black starlet compare with that? She can’t! Second, Rihanna’s light green/blue/hazel eyes are something to greatly admire. Those dark-skinned women and their boring brown eyes can’t compete with unless they get contacts. Third, Rihanna’s light skin, which gets lighter and lighter all the time because America isn’t as sunny as Barbados…Yeah, sure. Unless dark woman is willing to bleach her skin, she’s been screwed over again.

Nowadays, a beautiful dark-skinned black woman doesn’t exist. When we do have a starring role in films, we’re portrayed as Big Momma, Rasputia, or Madea. Why can’t we replace the Halle Berry emerging from the ocean? Why can’t we replace the countless Jessica Simpsons gracing the media? Why can’t we replace the exotic Aishwarya Rai? When do dark-skinned black women get to step into the light?