Barbie Rock n Royals, Barbie Fashionistas, and now Dreadhead Barbie! That’s right folks, Barbie and their manufacturer Mattel, Inc. have created a Zendaya Barbie doll to resemble the controversial look she wore to the 2015 Oscars.
If you’re not familiar with the star or what happened I’ll be happy to recap. Zendaya is a stunning 19-year-old Disney sensation. Whether she’s singing or acting, she does everything with skill and grace. I’m not being biased. The girl really has talent and stays out of the tabloids. That changed on February 22, 2015, when Zendaya rocked the red carpet in a white Vivienne Westwood gown and a faux dreadlock hairstyle. The look landed her on E!’s show “Fashion Police” where host Giulianna Rancic made prejudice comments about Zendaya’s hairstyle. The comment that outraged everyone was, “she must have smelled like patchouli and weed”. Yup, a 40-year-old critized a teenager for choosing to wear a cultural hairstyle to a red carpet event.
Fast forward 7 months and the hairstyle that was frowned upon is now being celebrated. Zendaya getting her own doll, complete with white gown and dreadlocks, is phenomenal. She said it herself in her Instagram post that revealed the doll, girls of color don’t have many toys that look like them. Sure, Barbie always had her Black counterpart Christie, but never has there been a Barbie with dreds. Barbie is looked at as the epitome of beauty. For them to embrace this part of our culture is essentially them recognizing it as beautiful. The creation of this doll is groundbreaking.
I personally preferred Bratz dolls over Barbie growing up. I had the White doll Chloe, Asian doll Jade, Black doll Sasha and Hispanic doll Yasmin. Yes I remember all their names. You know why? Because they had more of an impact on me than Christie and Kelly. If a girl with kinky hair spends enough time brushing Barbie’s blonde locks she just might want to straighten her own hair.
Playing with toys that look like them will help little girls develop their racial identity and explore this diverse world we live in. Whether people want to accept it or not, the reality is America is diverse. Zendaya proved that by wearing a popular Black hairstyle to a black tie event. And she did it flawlessly. Thank you Barbie for reminding the world beauty comes in all different forms.
Empire has returned and the gloves are off! The series premiered for its second season last night on Fox and was crazy dramatic. I watched with my boyfriend, who I turned to the dark side mid-season last year, and we both loved it. If you haven’t watched it yet I won’t spoil it for you. All I’m going to say is Chris Rock, head in a box, Shmurda dance and that feeling when your momma slaps the tears out of you. It was a great start to the season. They seriously need to make this show 2 hours long.
As much as I would like to keep talking about Taraji P. Henson in a denim and gold jacket, today’s post is about Black Twitter. Black Twitter (n.) : the feeling of togetherness African-Americans create on the social media platform Twitter when an important event occurs in sports, news, or entertainment. That’s my attempt at a definition for those people who are not familiar with this concept. Black Twitter to me is when I go on Twitter and I see most of my African-American followers tweeting, laughing or freaking out about the same thing. When Black Twitter gets a hold of something there’s no escaping it for days.
For example, when Drake and Future released their mixtape on Sunday titled What a Time to Be Alive (shoutout to them and my favorite song Plastic Bag), all I saw down my timeline was #WATTBA or the diamond emoji. My Black followers can’t and still have not stopped talking about it. They went crazy over the release, as I did, and it felt like I was passing around a mix CD with my friends.
All talk of WATTBA ceased last night when Empire came on. The hot topic for Black Twitter changed from this mixtape to Lucious’ crazy a** in jail. The best way to describe what occured last night is sitting in the living room watching your favorite show with your friends but instead of your friends it’s your 500+ followers at your fingertips. For one night a week, Black people around the nation put their differences aside and laugh in unison at the antics of Cookie and Lucious. That to me is so powerful. Mixed girls from South Jersey and tough guys from New York may not have anything else in common, but for one hour on Wednesday nights everyone is on one accord. For that one hour, 90% of my timeline is talking about the same thing, giving their raw opinions. Television is so powerful. Combined with social media, it’s life changing.
Life changing might be a stretch, but for me it’s incredible to see. Black Twitter will always have a place in my heart. From belly laughs to thought provoking tweets, African Americans everywhere give me a sense of community online through Black Twitter. So I end with this: thank you to my followers and keep up the quickness with your memes.
On Sunday night, Hollywood’s most elite celebrities walked the red carpet in their silk gowns and velvet suits for the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards. Many were nominated for their television performances but I was particularly interested in the female African-American nominees. In recent years I have noticed a spike in television shows with Black leads or predominantly Black casts. These shows produced a few winners this time around.
Regina King won Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Limited Series or a Movie for her role as Aliyah Shadeed in American Crime on NBC. Uzo Aduba won Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series for her role as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren in Orange Is The New Black on Netflix. Viola Davis won Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series for her role as Annalise Keating in ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder.
Viola Davis’ Emmy win put her in the history books as the first African-American woman to win best actress in a drama. This is a huge deal to me. As she pointed out in her acceptance speech, opportunities for big roles in Hollywood do not come often for women of color. Growing up I saw Black girls on primetime TV as the sassy side kick or the ratchet reality star. Today I see independent, business owning characters like Olivia Pope on Scandal and Cookie Lyon on Empire. Black women are finally being given important roles and are executing them flawlessly.
The 67th Primetime Emmy Awards made me exceptionally proud. In fact, the show empowered me. To see women of color accepting such a prestigious award for their talent and hard work gave me hope. Hope that one day African American women like myself will be recognized everywhere for their significant accomplishments. When I say significant accomplishments I mean in education, art, business and the like. What I don’t mean is accomplishments in twerking, Instagram and being a basketball wife. These are the things that African American girls are striving for when instead they should be taking notes from Viola Davis and her peers. Here is a woman who beat 5 other women, 4 of which were Caucasian, for her sheer talent and accepted the award in her natural hairdo. Barriers are being broken every day and these Emmy winners are an example of that. If more Black girls look up to women of substance, they too can be winners.
Black girls are loud. Black girls have attitude. Black girls are rude.
I’m not sure where these stereotypes were born, or how they evolved, but I’m here to break them. My name is Christina Royster, and as my blog name suggests, I’m young, black, and opinionated. If you follow along you’ll soon find out I’m much more than that though. I’m a sister, daughter, friend, manager, artist and the list goes on. Every day, I break stereotypes by just being myself. Guess what…I’m not the only one doing it! This blog is for women just like me who need empowerment because they feel misunderstood or ignored. I want women of color to know they are not alone in the issues they face, and to be a voice for them.
This is not to push away readers of other ethnicities. In fact, I encourage you to read Young, Black and Opinionated if you aren’t Black. The only way to change society from thinking the way they do about the stereotypes I opened with is to educate about the average African American woman’s lifestyle. I’ll be discussing everything from Bantu knots to Black Twitter. If you don’t know what either of these things are, prepare to have your mind blown.
Keep in mind that whatever I write about is my opinion. My blog posts are not to be mistaken as a universal experience for all Black women. I’m just a 20-year-old, brown skin woman with a lot to say and I’m pretty sure there’s someone out there who agrees with me.
Christina D. Royster