Opinion: Leave Dawn Richard’s Face Alone


Plastic surgery isn’t always a sign of self-loathing

You would think Dawn Richard had a sushi chef at a New York restaurant with a C rating perform her plastic surgery, the way some have carried on about it. That is, her alleged plastic surgery. She has not confirmed or denied having any cosmetic surgery, opting instead to post a cryptic yet clear response to those trolling her on Twitter, Instagram, and presumably, her old MySpace page if it’s still up and running.

No matter, as the photographic evidence stands on its own. Dawn has indeed made changes to her face. Such is her right, though, and I wish that was something those who troll her on Instagram and Twitter would consider.

(Click above to see more Dawn Richard photos)

Why did she do that to her face?

What was so wrong with her face before?

She looks like Selita Ebanks?

It’s a shame she hated herself that much!

Oh, how complete strangers on the Internet love to partake in the performance art known as projection.

The same goes for that dissecting what they feel motivated that decision at length. To be fair, in a past interview, Dawn did acknowledge that when it comes to a becoming a bigger success in today’s music climate, the lighter your hue, the happier some label execs may be with you.

Rationalizing label exec’s ambivalence on signing her as a solo artist, Richard explained to Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club: “Why would you take a risk on a brown girl? There’s no brown girl considered pretty right now poppin’ in the game. A dark skinned game. Kelly Rowland? There are, but I’m talking about in that crossover world. They’re not allowing it.”

However, at the time of that comment, R&B was locked inside a closet by EDM. Moreover, Dawn Richard’s solo music is uh, very, very conceptual. As gorgeous as her voice is, her problem at netting solo success as more to do with her singing about dragons and wizards and the creatures of FernGully than her face.

These days, K. Michelle, Sevyn Streeter, among other acts have enjoyed success and if Dawn and the other two remaining members can reposition Danity Kane as a leading girl group, I imagine she’ll get another stab at the solo stardom her talent – as a singer, songwriter, dancer and yes, visionary – warrants.

But when it comes to what she’s done to her face, no one knows why Dawn decided to change it except Dawn, her doctor, and whomever she decided to speak to about it.

I understand why Blacks can be weary of anyone who opts for cosmetic surgery – especially a nose job – but it doesn’t always have to be a signal of self-loathing and a blow job to Eurocentric standards of beauty. Maybe Dawn just wanted a more proportioned nose. Perhaps, it’s Dawn’s equivalent of the T.I. “New Money Teeth.”

After all, it’s not as if she’s walking around like LaToya Jackson with half her face sitting in a hospital trash can. Or you know, Lil’ Kim, who unfortunately opted for the Asian dipped in Hershey’s kisses look for life. Dawn still looks Black, and if I’m being honest, got really tasteful work (a la Kelly Rowland) that only heightens what was already there.

As in, what most people do when they elect to have elective surgery. Give Dawn the benefit of the doubt about her choices about her body. Or at the very least, be a bit more respectful on her damn Instagram.

Michael Arceneaux is a writer who blogs at thecynicalones.com, tweets at @youngsinick, and praises Beyoncé’s name everywhere he goes.