ImanI doubt that there is a sane person on Earth that would look at the statuesque Somalian frame of international supermodel Iman and see anything other than a woman that is simply gorgeous, but according to Iman that’s what she and many other models experienced over years in the modeling industry. Despite being hailed Yves Saint-Laurent’s “dream woman” Iman remembers vividly her anger and frustration from the blatant lack of diversity within the beauty industry.

In an article penned for Women’s Wear Daily Iman recounts showing up to photoshoots and being asked if she, a supermodel whose face graced countless runways and magazines, brought her own makeup. The lack of diversity and consideration became too much to bear for the stunning model so in 1994 she jumped into the business side of beauty by creating her own line of products called Iman Cosmetics specially targeted for woman of color. Iman writes:

“It was more than foundations and powders; it was appealing to a deep psychological need that I think all black women needed at that time: to be told that they were beautiful, invited to sit at the cool table and courted in high style.”

Today, nearly 20 years after the launch of Iman Cosmetics Iman feels that major cosmetics brands are still not embracing diversity and fully tapping into multicultural buying power, an unwise business move that she calls “foolish.”

Personally, I’m a makeup virgin, but simply browsing the rows of product at Sephora, M.A.C and department store beauty counters have shown me that Iman is right in saying that major cosmetics brands are not currently in the business of creating products that fully represent the spectrum of shades women of color come in. Beauty is more than just fair, medium and dark and it’s time that brands opened their eyes and embraced the rainbow.

Thoughts?

  • http://tontonmichel.tumblr.com/ Tonton Michel

    @anon what’s the matter homeboy? U mad? Stay mad.

    • Anon

      I’m not mad, I’m confused by your constant presence on a women’s website. Particularly in the “advice” department. I don’t know a single married, coupled, or “about their business” black man in my family or daily life who spends their time on a black women’s website instead of with the ACTUAL women that they’re with, much less trying to “advise” on the innanets.

      No one is “mad” at ya’ll (you, James, and that other one that’s always around). Just concerned that BW & girls who have no men in their lives might start to take ya’ll seriously instead of seeing you three as the outliers to normal male behavior that you are.

    • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

      @ANON

      i am 70 years olde, retired and comfortable. i sometimes struggle with poor health and so there are days where the most i can do is get over to the keyboard.

      i maintain a presence on about a dozen sites. i try to pass on one or two things that i have learned in life. i do this because i did not have anyone to mentor me and i realize that i made some serious errors in my days just out of ignorance on my part.

      i used to wish that i had a daughter but i never had one.
      so i’ve adopted you guys. if i can help just one young sister with insight it more than makes up for all the hate that i receive from the haters.

      peace to you.

    • EST. 1986

      James: You do not have any ‘haters’. If you are 70-years-old, you should know better to not say something stupid like that. Furthermore, it’s one thing to offer insight, it’s another when you keep inserting an opinion that shows how ignorant you are about life for women and girls. Sometimes you, and other men come onto women’s sites and think that your male opinion solves the problem.

    • http://tontonmichel.tumblr.com/ Tonton Michel

      @anon Ohh you mad dude no doubt about that, instead of focusing on why I said you chose to morph into super internet thug and shut me down. Than try to come out the side of your mouth worried about impressionable women and girls? Really these women are so slow they can not take in various opinions and form their own thoughts? You don’t seem to have much of an opinion of them, maybe they should all just listen to you with your vast wealth of knowledge and experience. I am giving my opinion because I can, just like every one else on here. You don’t like it feel free to kick rocks, acting like you know what normal male behavior is, if you did you wouldn’t be on thes same posts you claim I put time in. Gone on with yourself dude.

      James keep on doing what your doing the ones who want to hear it will the ones that don’t won’t. You would think some would appreciate the sage advice of an elder.

    • Tell me it aint so…

      @James

      Wow. You definitely have a young spirit. Thanks for your comments and care.

      @EST. 1986

      Whoever did what they did to you have prevailed. You are most certainly a bitter individual. Don’t let the past control your future. Learn to move on and live. You aren’t the only one.

    • http://www.chicnoir.wordpress.com chicnoir

      Mr James I use to wish that I had a daughter but never had one. So I adopted you guys

      Awwwwwww that is so sweet of you.

    • The Moon in the Sky

      Tell me it ain’t so:That’s cute, but what about what I said makes me ‘bitter’ and what do you know about me that I don’t?

    • Anon

      chillyroad,

      http://www.nami.org.

      You might find some useful information there.

      Tonton, I said what I said to other BW and girls on this site for a reason… your response proved my point. Men in ACTUAL RELATIONSHIPS or BUILDING BUSINESSES OR LEGACIES DON’T HAVE TIME TO BE ON A BW’S SITE ALL DAY ERRRRDAY. How many of the wives and girlfriends who visit here have significant others who are employed who hang out on Clutch “advising” black women? EVERY DAY?????

      I’ll wait… . No seriously, I plan on waiting for a WHILE.

      “Really these women are so slow they can not take in various opinions and form their own thoughts? ” —> yeah, for real… it is obvious by reading some of the comment sections where the black community has FAILED or opporated in a vacuum void of COMMON SENSE so sometimes, I put some out there in the atmosphere/innanets/blogosphere. I’ve been spotlighted in other spaces as a good voice and so I try to pass on what my parents, grandparents and family told me because it is OBVIOUS that some black women and girls did not recieve that. How do I know? They haven’t realized how OFF your constant presence here is. You don’t really give “advice”. You tell BW how to be so that they’ll fit what you find datable. And I think they deserve to “hear a voice” that shines a light on how “datable” a black man is who has the time to throw down on the internet at a BLACK WOMAN’S website everyday. Where YOUR WOMAN AT for all of this?

    • Anon

      James, I won’t pretend I say this with love… ain’t all of us looking to be adopted by a 70 year old man with no family. Particularly one who comes here to scold black women’s romantic and appearance choices with morals and aesthetics of DECADES gone by. Black women are beautiful. We can also be beautiful with eyeliner, lipgloss, blush, eyeshadow, glitter, etc… i.e. whatEVER we choose to adorn ourselves with. Instead of trying to “adopt” black women, why aren’t you MENTORING YOUNG BLACK MEN?????

    • Chillyroad

      Tonton Micheal and Jamesfromphilly I just wanted to reveal to you guys that the anger you receive as men here at a woman’s site is ironically anger about you not being there as fathers. Absent fathers in the hood has created generations of angry and often promiscuous black women who are mad at black men.

      Don’t take it personally. It isn’t about you.

    • http://melodymoose.deviantart.com/ catpopstar

      Wait- What? Where the hell did that come from?

    • Chillyroad

      Catpopster

      There is a cadre of women at this site that always have to ask Tonton and James why they are on a black woman sites, question their manhood, sexuality etc simply because these men give their opinions like everyone else here.

      It’s a passive aggressive anti black male pathology that is very common among many black women. You saw it in that girl that got that Civil Rights upper cut by the bus driver and those chicks at that mall in ATL with one of them being taserd. Some black women always got some lip for black men especially those black men who are among the most considerate and decent.

    • Tell me it aint so…

      @Chilly Road

      I love and always look forward to your post. You are always on point lol. Thanks for your input and insight.

    • Anon

      It sure wasn’t. It was about a whole group of men just like him, they tend to print relationship novels while either being single or on third marriages, or having their babymama drama play out on T.V. Anywho, when you get tired, I got your glass of water waiting for you, because I could tell how thirsty you were since last year.

    • Anon

      Catpopstar… You asked a question that requires logic??? Oh, I want to be that optomistic!

    • Anon

      Also, Tonton, I’m a woman. Strange though, after stating how I read Clutch, and calling you out for outlier male behavior, how found my comments to be from a man… … …

  • Asia

    Shouldn’t it be “women” in the headline? Sorry it’s bothering me.

  • http://melodymoose.deviantart.com/ catpopstar

    I’m one of those few that do not wish to be called beautiful. It’s just not the type of attention I want. I’d rather have people mention something significant that I have said or done. I’m weird, I know.

    • The Moon in the Sky

      You are not weird for that. I’m the same way.

    • Gina Wild

      No, you’re not weird. Being beautiful is certainly good, being complimented on physical beauty is equally good. However, I should mentioned that physical beauty is not an accomplishment, it’s “good genes”.

      I too would rather people mention actual achievement rather than being solely told that I’m beautiful. In other words, physical beauty is cool and stuff but beauty alone is not the end-all be-all.

  • Sylvie

    Um…Raises hand. I’m a woman who grew up with a father in the home who wonders why men with lives, hobbies, or common sense hang out on women’s sites dispensing outdated and dubious advice that seems to be based on personal bias, uninformed opinion, and poor life choices. AND expect a receptive and grateful audience for said advice. (I’m not looking to be “adopted” by a stranger on the innanet)

    Back to Iman and beauty.

    Women are free and empowered to accentuate their beauty and femininity in whatever way they feel fit. Too often women of deeper pigmentation don’t have many drugstore options or high end makeup options to play with. Yes, its gotten much better now but 15 years ago, there weren’t a lot of MACs there was fashion fair, which for a teen me was too pink and too expensive and Posner the sole drugstore brand I remember. I love having options, especially options with great pigmentation and intensity of the color. And her BB cream is amazing. You wanna see luminous? Try that!

    And Black female entrepreneurship should always be celebrated and really should be on a site geared for Black women.

    • Anon

      THANK YOU!!!

      I’m not looking to be adopted, I have a family (with MEN in it!). And no, they ain’t on Clutch either. This ish ain’t NORMAL, it really isn’t and it shocks me how many women think that this is.

    • Skye

      They think it’s cute until they find their men on these sites!

  • BoutDatLove

    Neither of us personally know Iman or her reasonings, so no one should be speaking as if she can’t tell black woman they are beautiful & deserve to be told that they are beautiful.

    If she is guilty of what you are saying, then that only means that at one point in her life she was made to feel as if she wasn’t beautiful.

    When do we ever stop learning? Never. She can use her experiences to boost the self esteem of little black girls and black woman because she knows what it feels like to not be told & considered as a beautiful black woman. Especially because she was a model, that whole business is about beauty & obviously black beauty at her time wasn’t really embraced in the fashion industry. I’m sure she has been rejected many times & insulted many times as a model, which could have taken a jab at her self esteem.

    It gets under my skin when people say ”white features.” This is so stupid, if you look at any part of the world, specifically Africa, black people don’t all have the same hair textures, noses, lips, face shapes, body types, eyes etc. Who came first? Exactly. So stop making other black woman feel bad because of their skin color or features. If Caucasians feel the need to put light skinned woman on a pedal stool, that is not the fault of light skinned black woman. This post is about reinforcing what is true, that black woman are beautiful and want to be told they are beautiful. Everything from black dark skin to black light skin is all beautiful, from full black noses to thin black noses and so on… it is all beautiful because it is us.

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