Lightening Lupita

Update: Back in line at Walmart again. Found the magazine: Sophisticate’s Black Hair Styles Guide.

Conveniently they post on their site the original picture of Lupita so you can see exactly how much they lightened her skin for the cover. I thank them for doing that so that I don’t have to find a completely different photo of her to compare it to.


I wonder what the object was? to make her more appealing to a black demographic by lightening her skin for this cover? That is kind of ironic. So, it is not just mainstream (read “white”) magazines that feel they have to lighten the skin of black cover girls to make them more appealing to their audience.

Probably is a white magazine company targeting a black audience. Sophisticate’s Black Hair Styles Guide seems to be a sub publication of Sophisticate’s Hairstyle Guide.

 I wonder how they knew black people prefer their women light skinned?



  1. Afrofem · · Reply

    The majority of Black men certainly go gaga over light skin, long straight hair and European features.

    1. so true. western standard of beauty. black women not immune. hence this magazine cover directed at them.

    2. checkout this horrific story of women in Senegal trying to lighten their skin to conform to the western standard of beauty which valorizes lighter skin among black women. this is something i want to include in the post on black beauty that i am contemplating.

  2. Afrofem · · Reply

    That was very sad.

    I thought of all of the global systems that keep those beautiful young women of Senegal from being happy in their own skins: global financial capital, the “fashion” industry and the movie industries of the US and Europe. I thought about the haircare and skincare industries that Black women started for themselves in the US in the 1960s. Most of that sector has been purchased by large Euro-American corporations and is now weaponized against the women of Africa.

    It is the height of irony that as many Black women in the US, Europe and Brazil push for more African influences in hair and dress, African women are pushing to look more like women of the Diaspora.

    I don’t think the women (and men) of Dakar who fetishize lighter skin think about the intense violence that changed the complexions of African descent women in the Diaspora. They are not factoring in the generations of rape, slavery, concubinage and shame that lightened the skintones of the African Diaspora.

    I also found the way the young women dressed and carried themselves in public interesting. Senegal has a large Muslim population, yet the only women in hijab were the grannies. The young women were showing a lot of skin.

    Thanks for sharing that, nomad.

    1. As I tried to tell the Abagond community, RT is a good source for news about black people. you won’t find stuff like this on MSM. We would know nothing about it. But, hey, Russia bad. Thats the mantra now. Even from black gatekeepers.

  3. Being dark skinned myself,I know how important it is for good lighting when taking a picture. But too much light can make a dark skinned person look much lighter than they are in person. But I think may of these “black” fashion magazines know what they’re doing. Most of them are owned by whites anyway. It’s a damn shame they feel the need to lighten the skin of such a gorgeous dark skinned person. Nothing but self hatred. I remember years ago there was an interview with rapper/singer Lauryn Hill. She said some fans were so surprised how dark she was when they met her in person. She said it’s because they would lighten her pictures in music magazines. And this was back in the early 90’s. I guess not much as changed. sigh

    1. I can speak to this in a general sense, as an artist not a photographer. A cover artist has certain priorities in finalizing a cover. He wants it to “pop”. To be striking. To cause the casual observer to pick it up. The easiest way to attract attention is through sharp light/dark contrast. Easy to do with a white face. Especially the eyes, which play such an important role in glamour photos. Dark eyeliner, white face. Easy peasy dramatic contrast. Not so easy when the face is dark. What to do? Lighten the face. Yeah, that works.

      1. Exactly! You said it!

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