Lil Kim Lil Kim

Should Black Women Stop Calling Themselves Barbie?

Back when I rocked knicker-knockers on the ends of my pigtails Barbies were my toy of choice. My Barbie collection was nuts. They vacationed in their mobile home, drove a drop top pink corvette, lived in the dream home and wore the flyest clothes on the block. But that was when I was eight years old.

I haven’t checked for Barbie in a minute.

Nicki Minaj’s “it’s Barbie bitch” picked up where Lil’ Kim left off. Nicki’s legion of impressionable young female fans happily oblige to her playful term of endearment, a.k.a. Barbs. Her adolescent fans aren’t the only ones referring to themselves as Barbies.

On Monday the one and only Queen Bee celebrated her 37th birthday and released a promo shoot shot by photographer Michael Antonio. Of course she posed as none other than Black Barbie. In a subtler than usual image, Kim captured Barbie rocking a long blonde wig with Chinese bangs. Her perfect manicured nails were a simple pink and white. And as Photoshopped as her face was, it actually looked more like late ’90’s Kim pre-several trips to the plastic surgeon. It was the blue eyes that caused me to clutch my pearls.

Kim was back to claim her reign, but instead of dropping lyrical ether, she wanted us all to remember she was the first “Black Barbie dressed in Bvlgari.”

Commenters over on a popular entertainment blog were less shocked about her blue eyes; instead they raved about how beautiful she looked. Ironically it took a photo with her rocking a blonde wig and blue eyes for folks to think Kim was beautiful again. A few referenced Toni Morrison’s Bluest Eye and someone got to the bottom of what I really wanted to know:

“I’m so tired of these grown ass women calling themselves Barbies, dolls, etc. #lame.”

And in response:

“I used to say this too, but I’ll take them calling themselves Barbie instead of bad bitches.”

Is hip-hop so homogenous and commercialized that female emcees have to either subscribe to this ridiculous Barbie notion or posture as a hardcore gangster to be mainstream? I need there to be a middle ground.

I get it. Kim rightfully has beef with Nicki for biting her style without giving her due props 1,476 times. Her promo picture was a form of expressing that she was the first to ever do it. I would hope though, at 37, one would have evolved beyond the concept of a plastic doll.

Kim and Nicki’s beauty was actually more aligned with perfection before they attempted to resemble Barb. I wonder where in society we’ve gone wrong where grown Black women are infatuated with looking like something so inauthentic and unattainable. It’s even worse when some women believe blonde hair and blue eyes is the superior standard of beauty. And what is this teaching little Black girls about their beautiful brown bodies, their kinky curls and their brown eyes? Are they not good enough the way they were born?

Sure, it’s just entertainment to some. But at what cost? For the sake of our girls, and because it’s just played out, kind of like the term ‘played out,’ can we let the Black Barbie mimicking die a slow death?

Benè Viera is a New York City based freelance journalist who muses on music, race, feminism, politics, pop-culture and more for various outlets including Clutch, Essence and MadameNoire. Follow her on Twitter @WrittenByBene.

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Six years ago, Kelly Rowland released her fourth studio album titled Talk a Good Game. The project boasted hit singles like "Kisses Down Low" and the transparent "Dirty Laundry." Now, the Houston native is preparing to release a project that'll surely satisfy fans' patient earbuds.

In an interview with Billboard, Rowland shared her hopes for putting out a new body of work and the pressure that she's encountered since she's been in the studio. "This is by far the longest, most pressure-filled process ever, only because I know what it's supposed to be and I have been so hard on myself. I know it," she said. "And it's the first time I've said it out loud. I've been extremely hard on myself. But it's definitely coming, and I'm more so excited about this project than anything else."

The news follows the recent release of Rowland's "Kelly" track, which was met with critical acclaim in November 2018. In addition to preparing the release of new music, the "Motivation" singer discussed fans' wish for a Destiny's Child reunion. The rumors have been fueled by social media photographs of Rowland with either Beyonce or Michelle or all three, especially during Beyonce's past Coachella performance. But Rowland assures readers that it's not what they think.

"It's so funny. I guess every time people see us together, they just see music but I see sisterhood, and that's what we are and that's what me, her, Michelle [Williams] and Solange and I are. People see us all together, they immediately think music. I'm like, no. Just family." As Rowland previously mentioned Solange, she hopes to one day work with her again.

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Teyana Taylor aims to keep her hot streak of innovative videos coming thanks to this recent announcement. Taking to Instagram on Wednesday (Jan. 9), the "Gonna Love Me" singer will show adoration to ballroom culture in the visual for "WTP."

Directed by Gregory "Beef" Jones, The Aunties Inc., and Taylor herself, the Harlemite takes viewers on her journey to the expression-filled space where she hopes to rack up 10s across the board from a group of judges. The premise of the video also seems to follow a mockumentary format airing on a fictional network named FEMTV. Alongside Taylor, other men and women get ready to display their talents and confidence on the ballroom floor.

"WTP" is featured on the mother-of-one's sophomore album, K.T.S.E., which was released in June 2018. While the rollout's controversy didn't entirely muddle the excitement behind the project's debut, Taylor said she was sold on the idea that her album would be treated as the biggest out of G.O.O.D. Music's string of releases last year.

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The video will debut on Jan. 19. Check out the teaser below.


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👀 1.19.19 👀 #WTP Directed by @teyanataylor & @ogbeefjones @theauntiesinc 🙏🏾🙌🏾🙏🏾 The wait is ALMOST over. 😏 @museumofsex

A post shared by Jimmy Neutch- Shumpert (@teyanataylor) on Jan 8, 2019 at 6:32pm PST

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Gabe Solis, the ex-husband of Trina Braxton, lost his battle with cancer, Thursday (Dec. 20),  TMZ reports. He was 43.

Solis passed away at his home in Texas, surrounded by friends and family, according to the outlet. No official details have been released about his passing.

Solis had reportedly been keeping his cancer battle private. His death came as a shock to his loved ones. On Friday (Dec. 21), Braxton seemingly mourned the loss of her ex-husband with a cryptic Instagram meme reading, “I need a hug..E bottle of wine.”

The former couple tied the knot in 2003, and appeared together on previous seasons of WEtv’s Braxton Family Values. Despite finalizing their divorce in 2015, Braxton and Solis confronted lingering issues from their marriage during an episode of Iyanla: Fix My Life, earlier in the year.

Braxton has since moved on to a new relationship, but remained friends with Solis.


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