It wasn’t long after a picture of 7-month-old Blue Ivy made its way to the Internet that the slander started. Facebook and Twitter posts  lamented the fact that Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s daughter was starting to look like her father. There were mean-spirited jabs about her inheritance of his “big lips” and jaws, and prayers that a “wide nose” wasn’t in her future. Here are only a few of the comments I saw online:

Beyoncé really screwed up, having a baby by Jay-Z. His nose and lips are never going to look right on a girl.

Let’s pray Beyoncé’s genes kick in as B.I.C. gets older. All the money and talent in the world won’t take away from having Jay-Z’s features.

Nappy-headed kid. Wish Beyoncé had married a nice-looking man instead of Jay-Z.

The criticism of full lips, “nappy” hair, and wide noses in our communities is weighted. Some people would have you believe attractiveness is subjective, but the truth is our collective view of facial features is tangled in the web of racism. In our social imagination, European features set the standard for what’s beautiful, rendering broad noses and big lips ugly.

Writer Akiba Solomon also tackled the issue in her article for Colorlines, “On Baby Blue Ivy Carter and the Alleged Ugliness of Blackness.” She writes:

I knew if indulged in even a smidgen more about this little girl, I’d find myself walking among stunted souls who traffic in the idea that the full lips, large eyes, broad nose, and dark brown skin of a Jay-Z is inherently ugly [...] I hope, in our media-saturated, appearance-obsessed society that is still so wounded by white supremacist aesthetics, baby Blue will find peace and joy in the simple act of living, no matter what she looks like.

Demetria Lucas echoed Solomon’s sentiments in a piece on Essence.com, “Real Talk: Do We Believe All Black Is Beautiful?”:

If some of us are very honest, we’ll acknowledge that there are only certain “black” physical features that we as a collective find attractive. Curves? A blessing and curse. Full lips? Eh … depends on how full. Broad nose? On women, not at all. On men? Some get a pass, but not Jay-Z. Kinky hair? Not so much. There’s a reason most black women “prefer” perms, and even a lot of natural girls spend an inordinate amount of time and product trying to reconfigure their coils into curls.

It’s fair that some people simply don’t view Jay-Z as handsome. But when the public excoriates a baby for developing potentially “black” features, it’s our self-hatred that’s rearing its ugly head.

What are your thoughts on the Blue Ivy backlash, Clutchettes?

  • Tani

    All Africans are not the same; some have bird like features, others have Oriental features, and some have full features like Jay-Z. I don’t understand what’s all the hate on full lips, noses and kinky hair. Those haters surely have never been kissed by full lips or felt the tickle of kinky, textured hair on their skin, People are beautiful in a variety of ways. As far a shading Baby Blue, that’s just plain crazy. CRAZY! Judging by the social network posts, a lot of black folks in the US and abroad have truly been brainwashed into hating these very distinct and beautiful African features to the point that they are comfortable enough to voice their distain in public. Can they do that? Can they make negative racial comments about a subgroup in their own race? Isn’t that still considered racial discrimination? If they can go as far as to judge a baby on racial characteristics, how are they expressing their opinion in the work place when they interact with Black people that have full lips, full noses and kinky hair. Do they judge or discriminate then?
    I bet they do.

    If red roses were the only flowers on earth…

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    +1!

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    Hmm I can see your point too because some people can honestly just not find Blue Ivy adorable without any hidden reasons personally I thought Violet (Christian Milian and the Dream’s daughter) wasn’t a cute baby at first because she looked to much like the Dream and he is just not attractive to me. Now I find the kid adorable..lol I think it depends on your reasoning for not finding the kid cute. If it is because you think so and so features are just plain ugly or less superior to another set of features in general than that is a problem but if the kid just doesn’t rank high on your cuteness meter than I don’t think you deserve to get bash for that.

  • Child, Please

    @Kiss India.Arie and Jay-Z look alike to you? Because they don’t to me.

  • [email protected]

    No I’m not, I just think she looks too much like her daddy and that is not a good thing lol. My husband is a dark dkinned West African man and our son looks just like him and I love it!! I also LOVE MY NAPPY HAIR, but I don’t think that baby is cute, sorry.

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