Let’s talk about Sabrina Claudio and other non-Black female swagger jackers.
If you’ve been tuning in to social media, you may have seen the story floating around regarding Latin American R&B singer, Sabrina Claudio. The Miami born singer has worked with artists such as 6lack and Khalid in the past and was growing fast in popularity.
Recently it has come to light that Ms. Claudio had a second Twitter account @OhDamnYoureUgly where she made disparaging remarks regarding Afro-Latinas/darker skinned women. The comments included things like: Must be hard to be a Black girl with no booty, I’ll be a Black girl for Halloween and other tweets that can be found here.
She has since deleted the tweets and account and issued a [weak] public apology since artist Masego, who was scheduled to collab on a few tracks with Claudio, tweeted that he no longer wanted to collab with Ms. Claudio and that she needed to apologize to Black women.
You all can read the stories for yourselves on Madame Noire and countless other pages. Relaying this story is not the point I want to make today.
Today I want to get down to the nitty-gritty of why. Why do non-Black women/non-black women of color, feel so comfortable with taking from Black women while disparaging us at the same time?
It’s no secret that Black women have been making an impact in America since before chattel slavery. We are the women whom, despite not having access to the ingredients native to our motherland, still learned to manage and fashion our hair in styles so ornate, glamorous, and elaborate that it made White men’s heads turn and White women turn green with envy. Read here about the Tignon laws and how Black women were so skilled at coiffing our crowns that White men’s attentions were turning a bit too serious for the White ladies of Louisiana.
The women were so jealous in fact, that laws were made prohibiting Black women from wearing their hair out. In an attempt to strip Black women of their unique and powerful femininity, Black ladies were made to wear head wraps. This went across the board for slave women and mulatto/quadroon/octaroon ladies as well. However, Black women’s creativity and magic was too strong, as Black women only took the opportunity to take it back to their roots. They learned to tie their turbans in elaborate styles and decorate their hats and head scarves with flowers, beads, feathers, and jewels.
As such, White women followed suit, copying the style unique to Black women.
I use the tignon laws as a point of comparison often because it is a perfect example of the relationship between Black women and non-black women (including non-Black women of color.)
It is no secret that there is a social and racial hierarchy. It is no secret that Black women are at the bottom of that hierarchy. It is no secret that non-black women are at the top, with White women secured at first place. It is no secret that Black women’s femininity is vilified while White beauty, and anything close to it, is exalted.
What women like Sabrina Claudio and other non-black women (of color) can’t figure out is: How do we do it? How do we set trends in fashion, music, beauty, and media with all the odds stacked against? How do we pull the attention of men in a society that places our unique brand of beauty on the lowest rung? Why are they always trying to play catch up to us? Why do they find themselves having to emulate the ‘losers’ in order to win?