Perspective: Beyonce, People Magazine, and Being The World’s Most Beautiful Woman

It’s been 9 years since a black woman was crowned “The World’s Most Beautiful Woman” by People Magazine. And when one does, ironically, it brings out the ugly in the black community.

By: Amanda Anderson-Niles


Beyonce is one of the most polarizing artists we’ve seen in the black community in decades. And it really isn’t due to the talent she possesses or the accomplishments she has achieved as an international pop star; it’s the dialogue she causes in the black community. A light skinned woman, Beyonce is always criticized for not being black enough, being plastic, a goody too shoe yet a devil worshiper, a stank breath slut, and so many other horrible and most likely untrue labels behind the computer screens of many with each accolade she lands.

While this is pretty much what we all have  accustomed ourselves to, the response she received for being crowned the “Most Beautiful Woman” was nothing short of embarrassing. Yes, I know it’s insulting that only celebrities are considered for the title, but Hollywood shouldn’t make us feel inferior. Naming a celebrity as the “World’s Most Beautiful” doesn’t take away from my beauty, and it doesn’t take away from yours.

Yes, I was embarrassed to see so many other black women complain about another black woman being celebrated by a white publication. By the responses, you would think Beyonce stole somebody’s husband, sold coochie on the street corner, kidnapped innocent babies, started the war in Iraq, used a sex tape to launch her career or moonlighted as a professional all in your bowl of cheerios pisser.

And I ask, what is the problem?

In 2012, are we really going to sit here and try to define what being black enough even is? It’s easy to question Beyonce’s blackness without questioning our own. So are all black women who prefer weaves over their authentic tresses trying to be more white? If you opt for a relaxer and I opt for natural hair, am I somehow more black than you? Is a dark skinned woman a more realistic representation of black women because she’s darker, regardless of the fact that we come in so many shades and complexion types? I’m lighter in the winter time, so does that deduct from my blackness?

How can one type of black woman be the standard for such a diverse group of women? I can’t understand why complexion is still such an issue in the black community.

And why in the hell do we believe that all the light skin celebrities bleach themselves and suffer from self hate? No one seems to say those things about Kelli Rowland or Gabrielle Union, yet both most likely went under the knife for some kind of cosmetic procedure. In Hollywood, a place where even white celebrities are getting surgery like it’s hip or something, why are we so quick to bash black celebs for doing the same? These people are in a business where they are Photoshopped regularly, and walking out of the house without makeup warrants headlines. I don’t think this means they want to be white, but most likely, they want to live up to the standards of Hollywood perfection since the moment they don’t, they are criticized through every media outlet. Hollywood has always been a Photoshopped and ill contrived illusion, yet Beyonce seems to be the only one called out for a lack of authenticity.

The complexion divide is played, tired, worn out, and should be irrelevant in 2012. Anyone who can’t get past it should be shipped out to some remote island with racist idiots who are also still fixated on something so irrelevant as skin color. Being a black woman is hard. No matter what our skin tone is, somebody will call you a n-gger and get away with hating you for no reason. But why do we still have to give these people so much power of how the hell we feel about ourselves?

I can care less about what Beyonce looks like without any makeup. In fact, how do most women look without makeup? The answer surely isn’t spectacular. Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Roberts, and Cameron Diaz aren’t anything special without their makeup.  In fact, they aren’t much different from the rest of us when the cameras are off. So how are they more deserving than any sister who gets the honor? And being on the cover of People Magazine does not require that, so why should it even matter? What I do care about is that a black woman who works hard and established her own career without laying on her back was featured on a white magazine cover for being beautiful. Had she been a Basketball Wife or one of those Atlanta Housewives…I might have had a problem.

We complain about not being on the covers of enough white publications, but when we do, we’re all on the Internet calling the woman everything but a child of God. Perhaps that is one of the many reasons we aren’t featured on covers of predominately white publications. Even black people are too fixated on skin color, so I can’t throw too much shade that major publishers hold similar sentiments.

I would love for it to get to the point where women of color in all shades are prominent on the covers of magazines that are predominately white. But how the hell can we even get there when our own community is still divided over who’s black enough?


  1. I am not a Beyonce hater in the least. Not a fan either. I can admit that the hate this woman receives is a bit extreme. People say she isn’t a real representation of black women because she’s light with weave, and had some work done. But many other black celebs wear weave and had surgery. It’s really immature to read some of the comments about her on other sites. I do give Beyonce props though because she keeps on moving forward despite the awful things people say about her.

  2. Beyonce comes off as perfect, so she gets hated on. She beautiful, has a great career, rich, and married to another successful rich person. It seems like she gets everything she wants and so people hate her with a passion. I’m a fan, stan, whatever you want to call me and the hate only makes me support her more. She’s only 30 and achieved more in her lifetime than most will ever accomplished. Team Beyonce!

    1. Beyonce is VERY beautiful- but not the most beautiful women in the word!!! I’ve seen prettier women. Beyonce gets so much attention because she is an entertainer. What about the beautiful women who are doctors, lawyers,teacher. These women built a foundation. Went to school graduated and went to college and became successful. Lets put these ladies own covers of magazines. That’s a good look. I love Beyonce dont get me wrong, but I’ve seen prettier women……

  3. We definitely need to have a conversation about the racial divides in the black community. We’re so hell bent on making darker women more of the norm in the mainstream media that light skinned black women are being made feel like they aren’t black enough. There has to be some kind of common ground. Beyonce is a beautiful woman. She has a great career and having her on the cover is a good thing.

  4. I am so happy to read mature and grown up comments on a website about Beyonce! That is so rare! I really appreciate your article and I do feel like people dismissed Bey because she is light skinned. So now black beauty can only be represented by the chocolate sisters? I am happy for her.

  5. Beyonce has what most women want, the hate and jealousy doesn’t stop her. The sooner people put the same energy they put into her into their own lives, the better off they will be. Just my two cents.

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