As far as I can remember, my entire life has been one long search for beauty. As a child growing up on the island of Trinidad, I fought my way through thorns and brambles to suck the sweet nectar from tiny flowers in my grandmother’s garden. In high school, I made weekly treks to museums around NYC in order to study some of the most beautiful works of art from artists all around the world. Years later, in college, I fell in love with make-up when I saw how I could use it in order to become my own work of art. Now, as a pledge in the all-hallowed sorority of Broke-Phi-Broke, I find myself seeking out beauty even more as a way to counteract the ugliness that I see in my everyday life. But there is one teeny-weensy little problem.
I don’t know what the fuck it is anymore.
I am dead serious. If you were to ask me what I considered beauty to epitomize, I would be speechless. Why? I guess it’s because I’m appalled at how beauty in this country revolves around one thing: Money.
I am angered and frustrated at the fact that money has corrupted everything beautiful in this world. No entity is entirely immune from it. Artists are controlled by money. Bankers…well, they write the rules on money. Even the creators of social media platforms and networks are happily selling us out for that cold, hard cash. It seems to me that in order to be beautiful, you need to have money to purchase the items which will make you beautiful. You need to have the latest cars, clothes, Urban Decay make-up palettes, Christian Louboutin nail polishes, and all that other shit in order to reformulate yourself as an acceptable bastion of Westernized materialistic beauty. Why? Because it’s really very simple. Accepting the necessity of these items in your life indicates your acceptance of the powers that be using your money to control your very existence. In short-we (me included) are slaves to the almighty dollar because with that dollar, we can buy our beauty. Even if we’re butt ugly, with the swipe of a credit card (cha-ching! Slavery in action!) we can buy the things which, in the eyes of others, will make us as beautiful as Angelina Jolie. We can buy some tits, some ass, some Spanx, some weave…..you get the picture.
But I’m tired of that shit. Here’s what else I’m tired of:
I’m tired of magazines trying to tell me that “This new XYZ face cream (which coincidentally costs more than my measly biweekly take-home pay) will erase your wrinkles, your laugh lines, and your dark spots all for the cost of $—).” I’m tired of magazines telling me that I need to spend both of my arms and legs on creams, facials, weave, and physical trainers in order to epitomize the beauty standard of our day: a skinny White woman with blond hair and no ass. News flash: I’m not White, I’m a proud LOCCENTRIC BEAUTY, and half of those women on the covers of your magazines do hundreds of squats per day in order to get an ass that’s HALF as fabulous as mine. I’m also tired of those same magazines failing to acknowledge the double standard that they themselves promote when they put Lupita Nyong’o on the cover, but happily accept those magical advertising dollars from companies who promote bleaching creams and serums in the consumer markets where people of color are the majority of the money-spenders.
I’m tired of musicians trying to front in their songs about their seven cars, three houses, four heauxs (chickenhead gold diggers sounds a bit harsh) and myriad of material shit when they can’t even pay their water bills. Here’s a thought: why don’t you sing or rap about the fact that our government is essentially selling us out to Monsanto for some campaign dollars? Why don’t you sing about the fact that White law enforcement officers are constantly getting away with murdering Black men in cold blood? Even better, why don’t you discuss the fact that you don’t own your masters records most of the time? I’d love to hear how your record company is making more money from all of those Spotify clicks than you are. Heck, call out your record company for making you into a fraud in order to sell some records so that you can pay back the loan they gave you in order to MAKE the damn album…because in reality, a record company is just a shady ass mortgage company who exists to make money off the masters you DON’T own. It’s the truth, isn’t it?
To the creators of social media platforms: You anger me the most. Why? Because you’ve hurt me the most. You sold us on your platforms by hailing them as new ways to communicate with people, but you’ve isolated us from reality more than ever. Then, to top it off, you sell our information to the highest bidder and surreptitiously use us in social experiments. I’m sorry, but when I became part of your network, I didn’t agree to become part of your little “experiment.” I just wanted to keep in touch with my family members all around the world. Was that too much to ask for? Now, every time I sign onto your network, I’m bombarded with advertisements for the same expensive ass products that I try to avoid in magazines. CAN I GET A CONSPIRACY UP IN HERE? No, I don’t want to like this company because they’re doing a giveaway. No, I don’t want to join this page to get updates on Candy Crush. I’ve already given them enough money to make it to level 156 (and I still haven’t made it there.) No, I don’t want to like that YouTube vlogger’s page in order to be eligible for an international giveaway which is going to be open for three shitty days. Wait a minute….speaking of which……
To the bloggers, vloggers, tweeters, and any other occupation that involves selling me something on social media: I get it. You love what you do. You want to be paid for what you do. I totally get that. I mean, in this day and age, the CREAM mentality (Cash Rules Everything Around Me) rules everything. You have bills to pay, shoes to buy, trips to take, and all that good stuff. However, please do me a favor. When you decided to delve in the magical land of sponsored content, DISCLOSE IT! I’m tired of seeing my favorite social media personalities talk about products without revealing the fact that they got the shit for free! Not only is it wrong, but it’s also illegal. Now, I have no issue with sponsored content. Furthermore, all of those HAULS you do where you tell me to grab a cup of tea because I need to waste thirty minutes watching how you went into expensive store after expensive store to spend what amounts to three or four of my measly little retail paychecks are completely bullshit. We all know that those hauls are sponsored, bitches! Companies send you items specifically HOPING that you will include them in your hauls because you will inspire your dumb followers (AKA moi) into actually spending their hard-earned cash to bankroll more production. It’s a total conspiracy. Why should I spend my hard-won dollars on shit you get for free? I’m the loser in this equation. I’d be out of money, while you and your sponsor company would be laughing all the way to the frickin’ bank. Now, my rant does not mean that I hate sponsored content altogether. Actually, I think that sponsored content can be a great asset for everybody involved when it is approached in the right way. The company gets exposed to a wider audience, the social media personality in question (or advertiser, for all intents and purposes) gets to build a new working relationship with a company, and I get to learn about a great product that may or may not break my bank. But if you make a video which discusses the effectiveness of a new product and act as though you bought it while thanking that company on Instagram for sending it to you before it’s even in stores, then you look (as the Trinis in my life like to say) DAMN SHUPID. You also look as though you have no integrity, which then says to me that you have no morals.
Here’s a quote from one of my favorite songs:
“I want us to get by but we more than consumers
We more than shooters
More than looters,
Created in his image,
So God live through us,
And even in his generation living through computers
On love, love, love can reboot us.”
“Wake Up Everybody”
So, I’m still on that search for beauty. Maybe someday, I’ll find it. But right now, it sure don’t live in this world anymore. Instead, it’s being held captive in the world of fake plastic, parabens, and overpriced, unnecessary bullshit.