Are you ready for your close up?

Image

Welcome 

I am sending out a casting call into cyberspace. Those of you who have been following the blog for a while know that I am in the midst of creating a documentary about marriage in the Black Community. 

I am looking for people with unique stories to add to my film. 

  • Couples who have been in successful long term marriages or other committed unions.
  • Men and women looking for love
  • People who been married several times
  • People who are vehemently anti marriage
  • Individuals who wound only date/marry a very specific type of person – be it race, status, nationality, interests etc.
  • People who have set up dating agencies/events for people of colour

The tone of my documentary will be  empowering and respectful. My film will bear no relation to the many reality TV shows on our screens. 

My budget can only accommodate individuals living in the United Kingdom. I intend to cover the US with the sequel 🙂 

If you have any questions or are interested in taking part email me: suddie@sudelicous.com 

Please spread the word 

Thanking you all 

Sudelicious 

Revolution of one

Welcome

Unfortunately, I haven’t returned refreshed from a holiday in the Maldives. Life is still hectic but most importantly the desire to write has returned. Many thanks for bearing with me.

I have written about love before but usually I focus on relationships and romantic love. During my hiatus I have been dwelling on the power of self-love. Once we have peace within ourselves we increase the probability of finding contentment within various aspects of our lives be it a job, family or relationships. I do believe that having that approach to life is a revolutionary act because it is the only way that we are truly free. Only by placing our internal desires ahead of societal or familial pressures do we get to exert free will. That is the battle, the challenge for us all.

Every day, we are bombarded with images, which leave us with a sense of inadequacy. I don’t have the right car, house, lifestyle, body or job. The point of advertising is to create a need where there really isn’t one. If your car is still running, you don’t really need a new one. Our internal happiness is not related to our external appearance. Contrary to popular belief, finding true love is not dependent on being a size eight with a DD cup size. We follow this shallow nonsense because we desperately want to believe that there is a clear cut path to happiness. That we can somehow buy our way out of sorrow, doubt or pain. That we can pin all of our happiness onto one thing, I will be happy when I get that new job/partner/lose a dress size. Focusing on the superficial is the original avoidance technique. We can run as fast as we like but we cannot run away from ourselves.

Societal pressures forces us to conform not just to materialism but to prop up an existing pecking order. Race, gender and sexual orientation are all social constructs designed to uphold White patriarchy by spreading insecurity and fear to ensure conformity. If young Black men are continually told that they face unemployment and incarceration, the hope is that this information will take root in said young men and the majority will not fight against what they believe to be inevitable. If we tell young Black women that only light skinned Black women are attractive and that women of darker hue are of no value, the hope is that Black women will be locked in a battle to be ‘The fairest of them all’. This mentality pits Black women against each other, encouraging some to damage their bodies with lightening creams and pass this self hate to future generations. In short this is just a smoke screen to distract people from living happy, contented and most importantly authentic lives.

This is where self love comes in. Love is not just warm and fuzzy; it has a steely element to it. If you have love for yourself, you have the ability to exercise discernment. Not everyone will have your best interest at heart. It takes strength to know who to follow, to ignore, to let enter your life and who to walk away from. None of this is easy but it is all very necessary. I refuse to engage with or financially support Black male artists who promote negative beliefs or stereotypes about Black women. Likewise I will not support Black women who publicly bash all Black men as I was raised by a loving Black father. I will not allow people of other races who wish to be disrespectful about my colour or gender to affect me. That is to give the ignorant far too much power and control. They do not affect how I feel about myself, I do. Their agenda is to reduce me to a negative stereotype and to prevent me from having the courage to live and love freely. Trying to cajole or force another’s validation is a fool’s errand. Perhaps I am wrong but I find that intolerance is usually fuelled by insecurity. Rather than working on the aspects of their lives that need to be improved, they find someone who they can feel superior to. It is virtually impossible to be liked by someone who does not like themselves.

So why is love a revolutionary idea. Simply, it is the only way in which we are all free. If we truly believe that we are ‘Fearfully and wonderfully made’ (Psalm 139:14) who do we have to prove anything to? I know that this is not an easy concept to execute. On a daily basis I flit from lioness mode to a quivering wreck but it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try. If we live our lives with love and authenticity we don’t get lost in the crowd, we don’t ask the world to cherish the individual when it seeks to control the masses. We can only hope that if we all follow our own paths, that the generation to come will do the same. That is the true power of social change; it takes only one person to start a revolution.

Please let me know your thoughts

Sudelicious

Think like a human

Welcome

Last week saw the U.S release of the film ‘Act Like A Man’, which has been produced by comedian Steve Harvey who penned the book ‘Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man’. I have never read the book and have no intention of seeing the film. I always thought it sensible to take advice from experts in their field. If I were in need of financial advice, I would happily take on board the thoughts of Bill Gates or Donald Trump. I don’t see the logic in taking relationship advice from a man with two ex wives that he cheated on throughout the entire marriages. What authority does he have to advise anyone on the state of their relationships other than being a celebrity?

In researching for my film, I have come across a few Black male dating/ relationship experts. I am very dubious about those who have had turbulent love lives. If you don’t know what it takes to have a long lasting happy relationship/marriage what real advice can you offer? I recall reading an article that Harvey thought he had learnt valuable life lessons after cheating on his ex wives for years. If he felt that why didn’t he write a book instructing men on how to treat their wives? Why choose women as his target audience? The answer is simple; we live in a society which is used to telling women that there is something wrong with them.

Women are bombarded with 400 to 600 adverts per day with 9% directly relating to beauty (Source: Media Scope). The beauty industry thrives on the insecurities of women; you’re too fat, too skinny, too old and too frumpy etc. With this backdrop it makes perfect economic sense why these ‘relationship experts’ target women. They use the fact that they as male have legitimacy to speak for the entire male population. They don’t conduct extensive research, just rehash a few conversations at the bar or the barbers and suddenly they are a bona fide expert. Harvey presents his information as ‘inside knowledge’ of the male psyche delivered in comedic little chunks. Too many women swallow this whole without question. They provide these entrepreneurs with the perfect malleable audience, waiting to be told what is wrong with them and how they need to improve.

Harvey’s work is aimed at Black women. We are a group who find ourselves under an intolerable level of scrutiny. On one hand we are always compared negatively to women of other races or completely ignored by mainstream media. To add insult to injury our main detractors are Black men. Apparently we are too loud, too dark, too aggressive, too stuck up, too fat and the list goes on and on. It is beyond pathetic that we have prominent Black comedians, rappers, entertainers and so called relationship experts who so easily mock the women who most resemble their mothers and sisters yet, they have the nerve to expect us to purchase their latest CDs/books/films.

I am always curious as to why the burden of creating successful relationships is placed squarely on women’s shoulders. Why don’t these love gurus write books telling men how to treat the women in their lives? Are men totally exempt from bearing any responsibility in making a successful relationship last? Society still sees a long term relationship as something women crave and what men try to dodge at every opportunity. This thinking undermines both sexes. Women do not need relationships to validate them and men are not so emotionally stunted that they do not want to be in happy fulfilling relationships.

It’s really not a surprise that there is plenty of scope to financially exploit Black women’s insecurities. I don’t belong to the doom and gloom brigade telling Black women that there is a man shortage. I think that is simply not true or only particular to Black women. I have many single female friends of every race, who have the same complaints about meeting decent guys. I wish I could explain why, it would probably make me a rich woman. I think that there is a seismic shift occurring between established gender roles and aspirations. I think that these changes within the Western world are largely positive as women and Black women in particular have greater opportunities today than ever before. However, I think that it has made expectations/interactions between men and women more fluid than say a generation ago. We all have more choice regarding dating/marriage/life options. Perhaps it’s the increased level of relationship options that makes it harder for everyone to make a choice in the first place.

Black women should fully exploit greater dating opportunities within and outside our race. However, there are a large number of Black women who only want to date Black men. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. Half of my relatives are Black men and I love them dearly, well most of them. However, the main problem is that there are not enough eligible Black men to go round. That is the biggest stumbling block for Black women looking for a Black partner. It has nothing to do with how long you withhold sex or if you uphold a set of dating rules. If these Black male relationship experts really want to do Black women a favour, they need to address Black male unemployment, imprisonment, child abandonment and the acceptable blatant disrespect given to Black women. Steve Harvey and other ‘dating experts’ would make loving relationships within the Black community more likely if they encouraged Black men to continue with further education, and to become loving husbands and fathers. I suppose that philanthropy doesn’t offer the same financial returns that book and film deals do.

What all women need to remember is that the final say is in our hands. We decide where our money goes. It is important to question the motives of those who claim to be offering help. Until the likes of Steve Harvey are able to make one woman happy for at least 25 years, he does not have the authority to tell anyone how to manage their personal life. Patriarchy puts women under a continuous spotlight, encouraging us to vie for male validation. We don’t need to pay attention to men pretending to have women’s interests at heart. Their only concern is for their expanding bank balances. We all want quick fixes for the difficult areas of our lives. Following a set of rules offered by a comedian is not going to help people ascertain whether someone is a good match or not. We are talking about finding a life partner not training a puppy. Ultimately, I don’t need to think like a man, in order to find and keep one. Surely the trick is to think and behave like a loving human being.

Please let me know your thoughts

Sudelicious

Where is the love?

Photo Credit – Copyright New Line Cinema

Welcome

‘Love and Basketball’ is one of my favourite films. Unlike most romantic dramas it doesn’t gloss over the fact that relationships are hard work. It is also one of the few beautiful Black love stories on the big screen. If an alien were to land on earth and watch the majority of Black cinema or mass media in general, he would probably deduce that Black men and women do not like each other very much. The majority of mainstream Black films portray dysfunctional interactions between Black people. Now I am all for tackling tough issues such as child abuse in ‘Precious’ or infidelity in ‘Why did I get married?’ What I don’t understand is why the Black community is so happy to perpetuate and buy into such negative images of themselves? Why are there so few examples of Black love in today’s mainstream media? Are these films not normalising dysfunctional behaviour and presenting it as some twisted version of Black reality?

The Black community is still plagued with incorrect and limiting stereotypes even in the era of supposed post racialism. In reality, Black women have increased their educational and financial opportunities. As a result, the stereotypes of Black women is developing from the overweight maid or finger snapping ghetto queen to the lonely, unapproachable, career woman. Another stereotypical Black female persona is the damaged woman who was either betrayed as an adult or abused as a child and this explains why she is always angry and pushes men away. The upshot is that Black women are either fat and undesirable or attractive and angry. Black men don’t fare any better. The tragic killing of Trayvon Martin only highlights the power of the stereotype that Black men are hyper aggressive predators. If the Black man is not portrayed as ‘get rich or die trying’ hustler the other typical stereotype is the bumbling feckless buffoon. The only threat that the buffoon offers is to his own self respect.

So if everyone in the Black community is completely dysfunctional it would stand to reason why there are low levels of marriage – we are all too crazy to settle down! This is of course hogwash. My parents have been happily married for nearly forty years. The majority of my Black female friends are also happily married to Black men. I have stated that in the UK and US Black men are falling behind Black women economically and educationally. This is making it harder for professional Black women to find suitable partners but it is far from impossible. In researching my film, I came across some bizarre and ridiculous ‘facts’. Apparently an educated Black woman has more chance of being hit by lightning than getting married. I also read statistics stating that 70% of Black women are single. When you remove the unmarried teens, divorcees and widows the figure is a lot closer to 59% (source Surviving Dating.com). Even then this number does not include gay women, cohabiting couples and those who don’t wish to marry.

The more educated Black women become the richer they become which leads to a greater say in society and changing the status quo. The hope must be that if Black women spend more time obsessing about their love lives, less time will be spent on becoming even more prosperous and influential. We live in a White patriarchal society where there are few winners and many losers. It is in these winners’s interest to retain the status quo. White women were fed a similar line a mere decade ago. I recall being constantly bombarded with medical reports stating that women’s fertility goes kaput after 35, the chances of ovarian cancer are raised if you haven’t been pregnant by your late thirties or that successful business women were more likely to end up married and childless. Career women were given a choice, choose either your personal or professional life – you can’t have both. This was scaremongering – pure and simple, an attempt to get women out of the boardroom and back in the kitchen. Unlike White women, Black women have always been expected to work. The lack of opportunities and exposure to high paying jobs meant that Black men and women both had to financially contribute to keep their families afloat. Today, Black women have greater choices and wealth creation opportunities. This should be celebrated not curtailed.

The advancement of Black women has class ramifications also. I have to admit that I am not the biggest Tyler Perry fan. I respect him for being a major player in the film industry and proving that Black enterprise can successfully sell to a Black audience. However, I don’t agree with the messages in his films. They typically depict a successful but cold businesswoman or a detached, damaged woman who falls in love with a salt of the earth janitor/ex convict/blue collar worker. Black women are effectively being discouraged to date/marry men with aspirations. It is not a matter of snobbery if professional women want to marry and date professional men. Should the expectations of Black women be less than women of other races? I doubt that Hilary Clinton would have given Bill a second look if he had been a janitor. As Black women continue to have greater options in life it will also raise their expectations of the men that they choose to have a life with. I don’t think this is a bad thing; hopefully it will encourage Black men to raise their game educationally and economically in order to attract women with higher expectations. To advise Black women to ‘date down’ is an attempt to sabotage their growth. This sabotage does not just affect women; it prevents the whole community from moving forward. It is ridiculous that Black women are deemed to be snobs just because they have higher aspirations; surely it is just common sense to want a man in your life with common aspirations? Opposites attract but similar people tend to stay together.

It’s frustrating how readily the Black community receives and spreads this way of thinking. I recall as a child the furore which surrounded ‘The Crosby Show’. There were members of the Black community who cited that it wasn’t authentic enough, that the majority of Black people were not doctors and lawyers. I don’t recall hearing White people residing in urban areas complaining about the plausibility of ‘The Waltons’. Why do we as a community reject positive images of ourselves? Why can’t we have an ideal to aspire to? Why are we so prepared to accept broken relationships, criminality and mediocrity as our reality? I am straight out of suburbia, not Compton – does this make me any less Black? I refuse to accept that my ambitions and aspirations should be limited because of the colour of my skin, even if that information is coming from other Black people.

Women of all races should expect to have fulfilling relationships. I will not bow down to the naysayers who want Black women to believe that there are no suitable men for us or that we must settle for any man who shows an interest. Yes there is a lack of eligible men in the Black community. I hope that the advancement of Black women will put the onus on all Black men to do the same in equal numbers. If that doesn’t work there are men of other races for consideration. Accepting the status quo means that there will be no advancement in our community. We should celebrate what Black women have achieved in spite of all the obstacles before them. What’s really disappointing is that the majority of Black owned media rarely promote positive images of Black people. They tend to accept stereotypical images. If we accept these mediocre versions of ourselves, how can we hope to achieve or prosper? If we don’t expect to see loving images of ourselves on the big and small screens, it helps build the false belief that loving Black relationships are only for the lucky few. Black women must expect to be loved and must be free to be successful in their professional lives. Yes there is a lot a false statistics out there but as Flava Flav so eloquently put it ‘Don’t believe the hype!’

Please let me know your thoughts

Sudelicious

In search of a good man


Welcome

This week, by some strange coincidence I stumbled across three articles by Black women advising other Black women to date White men exclusively. They expressed extreme dissatisfaction with Black men labelling them feckless and narcissistic womanisers. I think it’s a good thing that Black women widen their horizons and are open to date men outside their race. Simply put it’s a numbers game and there are not enough eligible Black men to go round. All women deserve the opportunity to be loved and cherished. If that love comes from a man of a different race then so be it. That said I am not in favour of the unwarranted positive discrimination that some Black women give White men. There are good fathers, wife beaters and love cheats to be found in every race. In the Western world, White men are in the majority so it stands to reason that there is a higher probability of finding more eligible men to date or marry from that racial group. By that same token the probability is also higher that you will meet more undesirable White men. Divorce rates in the US are the highest among the White community at 27% compared to 22% in the Black community. (Source Assisted Divorce Agency). Successful relationships are hard for everyone to get right irrespective of race.

Regarding interracial relationships there is a lot of hypocrisy in the Black community. On both sides of the Atlantic, Black men are more likely to date outside their race, than any other. Yet there is loud condemnation when a Black woman decides to do the same. Who Black women choose to love is their business and their business alone. The arrogance to believe that we will happily wait on the shelf until a Black man decides to grace us with his time is ridiculous. If Black men are truly concerned with the men that Black women date become the type of man who a Black woman would want to date.

The uncomfortable truth is that there is a shortage of eligible Black men of marriageable age. In the UK Black men are seven times more likely to be jailed and in the US it’s four times higher. Unemployment is also seven times more likely to be experienced by British men of colour. The problem lies primarily with the insufficient level of education that a large number of Black men are receiving. In 2004, the Ofsted report stated that a combination of low expectation, a lack of positive role models and racism from teachers creates a perfect storm for Black male under achievement. To compound the problem, there is a belief in certain quarters that being academic is somehow feminine and that hustling should be the occupation of choice. I despair at this way of thinking. All teenage boys, irrespective of race typically underperform at school for fear of alienating their peers. However, institutional racism means that Black men face more obstacles than their White counterparts to obtain their daily bread. We all need money to survive, that’s a universal truth which will never change. The main paths to financial freedom are education, legal enterprise or a money-making talent (sports, music etc). It requires a high level of self belief to follow these paths. If excluded from these routes to financial freedom, the only option left is criminality. Children of incarcerated fathers are also five times more likely to become prisoners themselves. The sad outcome is that we have generation after generation of young Black men who will spend the best years of their lives behind bars.

I do have a serious problem with this hyper masculine hustler/player persona. Following this way of thinking is a fool’s errand. Impressionable young Black men believe that they can outwit the system. Every man behind bars has not ‘stuck it to the man’ instead they are the ones stuck in a cell. This desire to play outside the rules also extends to relationships. Having a harem of women might work for 50 Cent but it does not work outside a hip hop music video. A lack of willingness to commit to one woman is a sign of emotional immaturity not virility. I don’t understand what anyone would gain from wilfully deceiving a person who loves you. How can behaving like a sociopath lacking in honesty and empathy benefit anyone?

Thankfully, not every Black man adopts this cold-hearted hustler persona but there are another group of men who are just as annoying. Let’s call these type of guys the ‘entitled employed’. Just because a man has a job, car and a place to live it doesn’t make you the catch of the century. You are not the second coming, even if your mother seems to think so. You do not get a round of applause for being a responsible grown up. Black women should not be grateful because they are dating a man who has a nine to five job and pays his taxes, it’s what should be expected. I recall the case of Ghanaian rouge trader Kweku Adboli, who was arrested for $2 billion fraud from his employer Credit Suisse. Instead of hearing loud condemnation for his crime, I met a lot of young single ladies who rued the missed opportunity to meet this high-flyer before the police slapped handcuffs on him.

To conclude, Black women face a sharp dilemma between dating men who share a common history or a common future. In spite of all the odds Black women are making strides in education and their careers. There is a lack Black men who are at that level. They exist but there are in the minority. Black men face a lot of obstacles in society but the promotion of this macho player persona only compounds our problems. Our men need to grab and create opportunities as no one else will do it for them. It has got to a stage that gainfully employed Black men feel that there are on par with Donald Trump. A man is more than his job but you can’t provide for your family without one. Black woman deserve a loving relationship with a person whom they share common beliefs and values. We owe it to ourselves to be open-minded as to who that man can be. If that man comes from a different race so be it. However, Black women need to remember that there are White criminals and players too. More time should be spent examining the content of a man’s character and not being swayed by swagger, wealth or race.

Please let me know your thoughts.

Sudelicious

The baby imperative part 3 – When dads leave

Welcome

This is the final instalment of my baby themed trilogy. This week I will be looking at the importance of fatherhood in the Black community. The majority of Black families will grow up without a father in their household, 76% in the US and nearly 50% in the UK. Why are so many fathers missing in action? In this generation, what we commonly expect of men has become a constantly evolving paradigm. Has this shift created a vacuum where men are no longer sure of their role in society and more importantly in their families?

The most traditional view of men is that of the protector and provider. The provider role has been turned on its head in recent times with women generally outperforming men in education and the workplace. In the UK 17.2% of male graduates failing to find work compared to 11.2% of women (Higher Education Report 2008). Employment prospect are even bleaker for men of colour. More than half of young Black men aged 18 to 25 are unemployed in the United Kingdom. This is more than twice the rate of their White counterparts (source ONS 2012).

It is not just in the wage packet that men are feeling the strain. I have read a lot of male blogs and articles in researching for this post. A lot of men feel as though they are being mocked by the mainstream media. In sitcoms the husband is often portrayed as the bumbling fool whereas his wife is the one who makes the big family decisions and saves the day. With their role as the hunter gatherer under attack, has the empowerment of women left them feeling emasculated? If they are not the only ones bringing home the bacon do they believe that their input into their own families is no longer necessary?

This view could not be further from the truth. A loving father brings an array of positives into their children’s lives. Those who grow up with a caring father have better educational outcomes. A number of studies have reported that when fathers are involved in nurturing and playing with their infants that these children tend to have higher IQ’s and higher levels of academic readiness when they reach schooling age. There is also an emotional benefit for children with an active relationship with their father. They are likely to be emotionally and psychologically healthier. A respectful, loving father and husband sets a template of acceptable behaviour towards women for his sons and a high level of expectation for his daughters towards other men. From birth children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure, confident and as adults have better social connections with their peers. (Source US Dept of Health)

Fathers are more than just mobile sperm banks. They provide children with the emotional and physiological security they need to become happy and functional adults. The benefits are not just emotional they are economical too. Families with an absentee father are not just missing out on paternal love they are also missing that extra wage packet and the resources that come with it. For families on the lower social economic scale everyday is a matter of survival. If there are not two incomes coming in or the father is not providing financial assistance, life becomes centred on providing food and shelter as opposed to school trips or putting money aside to move out of a bad area. For the majority of black families in the lower social economic scale, being a single parent is the main reason for their continued financial struggle. It requires money to attend better schools, to afford extra curricular activities and to widen your world view. Yes I know of examples of single mothers who have created successful businesses or children raised in a very poor single parent family who have gone on to achieve greatness. However, these are unfortunately the exception and not the rule. The reality is that without the extra money and support of another parent the family unit is stretched to breaking point. Mum cannot go to work, make dinner, check homework, afford a tutor, be on hand to discuss problems and have fun with her children without passing out. It is too much to expect from one person.

We have a generation of women who will not reach their full potential because they had to put all of their attentions and resources into feeding their families. Likewise, we have generation after generation of children who will not escape the poverty trap because their family unit was unable to raise the funds needed to invest in their education or provide the time to nurture their dreams. Children need to be invested in financially and emotionally. Without it, it is highly unlikely that their lot will be significantly better than that of their parents. Children are not the preserve of the wealthy. However, the truth is that a poorer woman will need more support than a woman of privilege and needs to give the matter serious thought before venturing on her own to raise a child.

With the rise of educated women, men are no longer the automatic main breadwinner. The pay gap between the sexes is more pronounced within the Black community. Black women are continuing to make strides in education whereas working opportunities especially for blue collar Black men are on the decrease. We live in a time where women of all races are portrayed as being capable in the home and the boardroom. If families no longer need to be protected and provided for what exactly is the role of the modern man? Mass media promotes quite anti male rhetoric. Instead of mocking men we need to encourage people to follow their strengths irrespective of gender. Men should be free to be caregivers and not have their masculinity questioned. Similarly, a woman should not have to curtail her ambitions to prevent men being intimidated by her. I think that it is dangerous and short sighted to promote women at the expense of men. It’s not a war, everyone benefits from greater cooperation between the sexes. We can’t have a situation where women are built up so much that they are frightened to fail and where men feel so redundant that they are too frightened to try.

That said no one can escape personal responsibility. If men do not feel ready to provide and nurture for a child, don’t have unprotected sex. Problem solved. Women also play their part in this madness. Take your time to assess and evaluate the character of a man before having a child for him. If he has no prospects, not prepared to commit to you or doesn’t take care of any of his other children – run as fast as your legs can carry you. Even if you are able to deal with raising a child on your own, by choosing a sub standard father you will set your child up for the heartache of paternal abandonment. Loving fathers instil a sense of self esteem that will aid your child to make better life choices as an adult. Boys have a real man’s example to follow and girls don’t grow up desperately seeking male validation in the wrong places. A loving husband/partner also provides the mother with the support she needs to make her a happier, better parent. On both sides of the pond the Black community has the highest level of single parents compared to other races. This issue is largely responsible for keeping poor black people poor. The lack of two wages in poorer households limits the opportunities for young black women and their children to further themselves and better their lives. Intuitional racism makes life for Black people in the West hard yet why do we continue to make it harder still?

Please let me know your thoughts

Sudelicious

Black is beautiful dammit!

Welcome

I believe that self esteem is the foundation for happiness. Self esteem provides us with the knowledge that we have worth, the confidence to take risks, the strength to fight our corner and the wisdom to walk away from bad situations and people. Without this self esteem, we leave ourselves defenceless against the whims of others and lack the conviction to lead the lives we deserve.

I often marvel at the innate confidence that a lot (and sadly not all) of black women possess. I say this because it is a miracle that it exists at all. Black women are under a constant barrage of negative imagery almost at every turn.

I am truly sick and tired of the European version of black beauty which the mainstream media champions. I do not need to have fair skin, slight features and long hair to be considered beautiful. The likes of Rihanna, Beyonce, Vanessa Williams and Halle Berry have become the acceptable face of black. It is undeniable that these women are all beautiful but these women are all of mixed parentage/heritage. Why should black beauty have to have a European makeover in order to be recognised as beautiful? At the end of the day this nonsense still peddles the rubbish that only white beauty is true beauty and the further you are from that ideal the further from beautiful you become. It also perpetuates that women are still just commodities and our value still lies in our bodies and faces.

Over the summer a Japanese psychologist, Satoshi Kanazawa came up with a report stating the black women were the most unattractive group of women on the earth. What I found very interesting is that this crackpot’s views were published in the major newspapers even though it had been rubbished by the psychology community. Perhaps the article was published because it actually promoted a widely held belief? To be honest I thought it was garbage to begin with and advised anyone with sense to completely ignore it. What really saddened me is how many Black women actually take this foolishness on board. I had a debate with a Black woman about this report and she agreed with its findings saying that she does find lighter skinned women more attractive than her. This was an intelligent and articulate woman and she was taken in by this. I base attractiveness on the arrangement and symmetry of facial features – skin tone has nothing to do with it.

Black women are known for our fuller lips, small waist to hip ratio (hourglass figure), big thighs and large bottoms. Unfortunately I am lacking in the ‘junk in my trunk’ department but I think that three out of four aint bad. If these features are so awful why are so many women of other races ruining their faces with lip filler, frequenting tanning beds, stocking up on fake tan and marvelling at JLO’s butt?

What is it about Black women that seem to terrify the mainstream media? I remember watching a piece on TV about ‘Hitch’ (rom-com featuring Will Smith). The movie executives ruled out a Black female lead for Will Smith as they feared it would alienate White audiences. Eva Mendes as a Latin American actress was considered a safer, more inclusive choice. What I want to know is it what is so ‘alienating’ about Black women? I suppose I should also put that question to almost every male hip hop artist, rnb singer and black sportsman. I just don’t understand why you almost never see a dark skinned Black woman in a music video (as the love interest) or on the arm of rich Black sportsman? I remember having to do a double take when I first saw Michelle Obama. I couldn’t believe that she was a Black woman! Something is very wrong when you are surprised that a man of colour is married to a Black woman. It is frustrating to think that Black men also believe the hype that somehow Black women have less appeal, status than other women. In the UK Black men are eight times more likely than any other race to date and marry interracially. In a study led by Tamas Bereczkei at University of Pecs (Hungary), his findings suggested that men are typically attracted to women who resemble their mothers. Why are Black men the exception to this rule in such huge numbers?

I am not against inter-racial relationships. That is not what this article is about. It is none of my business who people choose to love. I have a problem with the world seeing Black women as less than other women. Women are still seen as commodities where a beautiful White woman is considered the epitome of beauty and with dark skinned Black women at the very bottom. We live in a world where many Black men believe this hype and choose women who they believe will reflect or enhance their status. I have many friends of mixed parentage who felt that Black men were only interested in them because of their light skin tone. Conversely, I have friends who find themselves constantly snubbed by Black men because they are considered too dark. This breeds insecurity in Black women of every hue. It saddens me that this ‘self hate’ has created a booming trade in skin lightening creams. We still have a long way to go if some Black people think it is a good idea to put mercury on their skin in order to conform to a false and stupid notion of beauty.

‘So what does this have to with marriage?’ I hear you ask, everything is the answer. It is virtually impossible to find lasting love if you lack self esteem. Confidence has little to do with being a mouthy alpha male/female. However, it does give you a sense a self worth, an ability to believe you are deserving of love and gives you an idea of what real love looks like. I’m lucky, I come from a loving family, my dad believes that I am the best thing since sliced bread and my mother taught me to take crap from no one. What about other Black women who do not have that base? They are constantly undermined or ignored by society at large. In western society perhaps there is a pressure for Black men to prove their self worth via external means such as a fancy car, a high paying job and the right looking woman. Perhaps this pressure drives peoples’ choices. How can we hope as a community to be making the right romantic decisions if they are coming from a place of self doubt instead of self worth?

Please let me know your thoughts

Sudelicious