Why The InStyle Cover of Jennifer Aniston’s Darker Skin Is Offensive
You’ve most likely heard about the boiling controversy that came and went with fury a couple of weeks ago, that involved Jennifer Aniston, who is White America’s sweetheart and one of the overpaid stars of the White American cultural phenom, Friends.
The shit started with the prolific covers from In Style magazine for the October issue that features Aniston in immaculate poses that showcase the age-defying features of a newly-minted 50-year-old, who is weirdly darker than normal.
Aggressive tanning for White folks is nothing new, but all five covers that depicted In Style’s homage to the “beacon of American glamour for the past 25 years,” expectedly ruffled the feathers of those of us who are exhausted from the alarming pictorials, that give famous White women the beautified features that never seem to garner the same level of adulation when the originators are spotlighted.
During the decade of the 90s, the only way to land the coveted cover of noteworthy, non-diverse fashion magazines was to replicate the grossness of “heroin chic,” that utilized the global viability of British model Kate Moss as the template of accuracy.
Fast forward to two decades later, and we have arrived at the place where pale skin and ultra-thinness with a missing bosom is no longer applicable.
It’s all about exaggerated femininity that demands the inflated body parts that used to be fashionably deflated for the sake of high fashion. And as always, White women can’t be bothered with the appropriateness of at least assigning credit to Black womanhood, that seems to be the source of nonstop inspiration when it comes to seamlessly assimilating to this climate of stylish fullness.
The wave of culture poaching in the beauty and fashion department has been happening for awhile, and the most high profile thieves in this thriving market have to be The Kardashian/Jenner women with faux-rapper Iggy Azalea coming a close second.
The ring leader, Kim Kardashian West, who gifted her family members millionaire statutes with the still-running reality TV show that has evolved into a handful of profitable offshoots, has taken her sweet time acquiring the aesthetics of the more desirable version of the Black girl that Black men in show business prefer to procreate with for the bonus of biracial babies.
There was actually an embarrassingly awful episode some years ago, right after Kim injected her ass, that saw the sisters openly responding to the rumors that targeted the very obvious surgical procedure. The goal was to bribe their plastic surgeon to take an x-ray of the item in question, and shamelessly reject the notion that anything was done to alter the original shape.
And this is where things get sticky, not to mention treacherous, when you consider how these celebrities who are surrounded by a posse of worshippers, and constantly heralded as “innovators” and “trendsetters,” by an industry that lost its credibility to the virus of the influencer market, are supremely rewarded for their violations.
In the never-ending quest to endorse White women as the epitome of beauty. illustrious brands that are mostly based in Europe have decided to downplay the inauthenticity of their blatantly altered spokeswomen, who are remarkably on trend, and fittingly “Black enough” to pass the diversity test.
All you have to do is examine the graphicness of the richest member of the clan, Kylie Jenner, “the world’s youngest self-made billionaire,” according to Forbes, in order to completely grasp the extent of this very expensive lifestyle, that comes with the guarantee that you will snag Black rappers or athletes, once you’re sporting the features that apparently hang better on the White templates.
It’s really not about hate or cancel culture because when you have the resources that fund the lips, hips, waist and skin hue that matches your specific requests, you have the right to indulge to your heart’s content.
But while body parts are expanding with the curves and plumps that garner all the right attention with lucrative contracts to boot, it would be nice to at least acknowledge the natural beauty of Black women, and how the accessibility to those riches have inevitability spiced up your White privilege in ways that surpass the limitations of the Black woman aesthetic.
And that brings us back to the In Style cover with a noticeably darker Jennifer Aniston, whose look was borrowed from an iconic model of the 60s, Veruschka, who was of German descent. The other four covers were inspired by a bevy of White models and actresses of the same era; Catherine Deneuve, Lauren Hutton, Brigitte Bardot and Charlotte Rampling.
And while it’s lovely and not unusual for fashion magazines to pay tribute to the women that are revered for how they shaped the time periods they dominated, it still doesn’t explain why Aniston’s white skin was darkened for the effect of highlighting what would otherwise go unnoticed.
The fact that she just turned the big 5–0 certainly added some pressure for those who are responsible for ambitious photo shoots and the touch up that follows. And it’s impossible not to be confused by the ill-fated decision by editors to approve glossy images that are distractingly photoshopped to the highest power with the desperate mandate to pick the highest setting for the darkest shade.
The reason why the covers of Jennifer Aniston are offensive is mainly because of the truth of how much better she looks with the darker covering, which is a brutal reminder of how that fetish is activated for the benefit of proving how much better White women look as Black women or women of color.
The beloved saying “Black don’t crack,” is jokingly used as the distinguisher when it comes to the buzzkill of aging in Hollywood, and how former White ingenues are getting the bitter taste of not being desirable for the roles that curated their trajectories.
Older Black actresses like Angela Bassett, Viola Davis, Lynn Whitfield, etc are working more than ever, and looking way younger than their White counterparts. I mean we can’t stop being fixated on veteran actress and national treasure Cicely Tyson, who turns 95 in December!
Yes, having a generous helping of melanin definitely increases your chances of being the very definition of why “age is just number,” thanks to the blessings that the criminality of White supremacy worked very hard to scrub away with the viciousness of regulating our Black beauty to the bottom tier of worldliness.
The aftermath of the White invasion basically set the unfortunate standard of self-hate for former colonies, which has translated into a multi-million dollar business for European suppliers of skin bleaching products that are another form of abuse, due to the harmful ingredients that end up exacting life-threatening skin issues for victims who are killing themselves for the currency of white skin.
Imagine, that the darker the skin, the more unattractive Black women feel when inhabiting environments that treat them like undesirables. And if hairstyles dare to reflect the heartbeat our culture, that’s also considered radically improper, with Black school girls and boys being publicly shamed for their appearance.
And yet, Kim and Khloe can effortlessly rock braids or cornrows on the red carpet and become the “trend of the moment” for bravely going where many of us have lived all our lives without fanfare.
If In Style felt the need to darken their cover girl as the enduring sign of the evolving climate, that has to differentiate from the previous offerings that showcased Aniston’s whiteness, all we ask as women of color is the accompaniment of a bold declaration, that supports the jarring evidence of why blackness continues to be exploited for the gain of those who never have anything to lose.
It’s a big deal for this Black woman to observe a White actress come alive on the pages of a fashion staple due to her much darker hue that makes her jeweled eyes pop.
Take that away, and the wow factor is gone.
The obvious advice is this: if you need them dark, you can find a plethora of up and coming Black actresses like KiKi Layne to play with, but when your obsession is exclusively White actresses, please keep them WHITE.