Friday, November 16, 2012

Style Icons: Diana Ross and The Supremes

I definitely cannot have a style icon series on my blog without including Diana Ross and The Supremes.  Diana was one of the people in the public eye that I admired so much while I was growing up.  I remember well seeing The Supremes debut on the Ed Sullivan Show.  As a little black girl it was the first time I saw black women on television back then who were beautiful and glamorous.  Television and films in those days portrayed black women mostly as unattractive and thought of as only good for cleaning the homes of other people.

I always saw many beautiful black people around me in my everyday life when I was growing up.  We just were not thought of or portrayed as people who were also outwardly attractive.  Black people did not fit into the larger societies idea of beauty unless you looked like Lena Horne.  Miss Horne looked like a white woman dipped in beige paint, so Lena was considered beautiful by the standards of society.  Lena Horne definitely was a beautiful woman; no doubt about that.  It is the world that puts limits on what is considered beautiful, therefore most black people do not fit into that mold.  This twisted way of thinking affected many black girls growing up and I was no exception.

When I saw Florence Ballard, Diana Ross and Mary Wilson that Sunday night on Ed Sullivan I was mesmerized.  The next day I went to school and all me and my schoolmates could talk about was this new singing group and how pretty and glamorous they looked.  I wanted to be just like Diana when I grew up too. 

Diana Ross and The Supremes with Paul McCartney.

Diana's look evolved as her career progressed and she eventually went off on her own as a solo performer.  Miss Ross is extremely photogenic and very comfortable in front of a camera.


I also have large eyes and used to get teased about them when I was a little girl.  When I reached my teen years that changed when all of a sudden my large eyes was what guys loved, so I ended up having the last laugh. :-)
Diana with the late Sammy davis Jr.

Diana with co-star Billy Dee Williams in the movie Mahogany.  Billy Dee Williams is so handsome and I had a huge crush on him when I was a teenager. 

The last photo is of Diana as she looks today.  As of this post Diana Ross is 68 years old.


Nailah D'arcy said...

Eh, I have to disagree with you again, lol. Lena Horne & Diana Ross.. Glamorous women, yes... beautiful ehh sorry, I'll have to disagree.

They're beautiful black women out there, and they don't always have to have light skinned, or society ideal beauty.
Actually, nowadays exotic beauty is much more praised than typical beauty.

I don't get why many black women take this so seriously. I mean if you just look around, there are unattractive white women women, just as there are unattractive black women, spanish etc.. I mean the list goes on.

Beauty has no color.

I agree with you, that this way of thinking affects, and affected many black women.
Great post, Interesting topic!
Nailah D'arcy

collarcitybrownstone said...

Hi Nailah,

Well, I am not about to debate whether or not Diana Ross or Lena Horne are beautiful. To me they are beautiful so that is why I included them in my style icon series. There are many men who would totally disagree with you about Lena Horne being beautiful. On the other hand I have encountered quite a few men who don't think Beyonce is beautiful and they all have said to me that she doesn't do anything for them. I do think that Beyonce is beautiful. I think Oprah Winfrey is beautiful too and I will do a style icon post on her at some point. For me it is not so difficult to see one's beauty. If you look at a person using the eyes of your Magic Presence and not the eyes of the human ego duality consciousness anyone can see it.

Of course beauty has no color and that is why my style icon series has both white and black women and women of different cultural heritages and will continue to.

In this post I was simply referring to the world's narrow view of what beauty is considered to be, which leaves out most non-white women. Maybe that is far less true today, but still to some degree it is. I was specifically referring to how things were when I was a little girl and why Diana Ross and The Supremes were so important to me as I was growing up.

Thank you for your comments. It is always great fun having open dialogue with people who stop by Collar City Brownstone.

Enjoy your evening.


Anonymous said...

I also grew up bombarded by images of beauty being the tanned blonde Aussie girl next door. Probably like imagery of an 'all American girl', even as a teen reading those Sweet Dreams etc books, it seemed all the 'beautiful' desirable girls were fair haired in the US, like Aussie girls! I grew up with dark hair and olive skin and there was some lingering racism (lots of Europeans, like my family, left their homelands for Australia in the 50s).

Nailah D'arcy said...

I think Beyonce is beautiful too. Just like Rihanna, Toni Braxton, Halle Berry... And, Lena Horne may have had a nice skin tone . She has a crooked smile, & nothing facial to remember at all. In fact Dorothy Dandridge( My idol) is a little bit darker than Lena Horne, and is more beautiful than her.
And, a far more interesting persona.

Of course we have different opinions, of what we think beauty is. I think there is a difference between cute, beautiful, & sexy. And, some women have it all..
Body, face, intelligence, & a genuine and rememberable personality that keeps many talking not for a days, but for centuries. I get it's not about the most beautiful woman in the world ( although, that does help, lol)
It's about not being typical, and that means personality also ...

Oprah Winfrey may have money, and may make others think she does many great things in this world for others.. But, yet she's just typical. Once you think about it , all she does is host shows, and & few great businesses; that she probably don't know about, not until the cameras are around.

I'll always admit, I'm a little vain, and we all are; if we let things like this affect us. I had a discussion with my mother about this topic. Who's probably around your age. and she would probably agree with what your saying, about black women not being displayed as beautiful.

All I was saying is that why do we even care. Racism is never going away.. And, things really haven't changed, and never will change. If you know your beautiful; Then society should not affect how African-Americans feel about themselves.

collarcitybrownstone said...

Hi Ruskindays,

That narrow view of what a beautiful woman is supposed to be was spread world wide and it affected many women. I don't know about other countries, but here in America many white women dye their hair blonde to look more attractive. I remember well my neighbor who lived next door to the last apartment I rented before becoming a home owner. Miss neighbor and I became good friends and she told me that before she dyed her hair blonde men never paid her any attention. The day she went blond she drew so much attention. All of a sudden men would look at her where ever she went and it changed her love life. I even know white women whose boyfriends requested that they dye their darker hair blonde, and yes they did it. Their boyfriends wanted to be seen with a blonde. When I met Miss neighbor is when I realized how much the narrow view of beauty affected all women; not just black women. Hollywood is inundated with bleached blonde actresses and has been for years. I applaud any actress who resists and keeps her hair color dark. One of my very best friends is Italian-American. Agnese has beautiful rich and thick dark brown hair and has more of an olive complexion. She would look horrible as a blonde and I told her years ago that if she ever dyed her hair blonde I was going to have her head examined. Now don't get me wrong. I am not against blonde hair. Blonde hair is beautiful too. What I do not like is a society that gives out messages that only being blonde and fair is beautiful with very few exceptions.

collarcitybrownstone said...

Hi Nailah,

Oprah Winfrey is more than a host of shows and is hardly just typical since as you wrote she does many great things in the world for others. Oprah Winfrey is a world teacher and I will just leave it at that for now.

You ask why we care. Well, because society's penchant for being vain has emotionally hurt thousands of people. Anorexia, plastic surgery, weaves, relaxing hair, insecurities of all types etc, etc are effects of it. The beauty industry seems all about altering how you look to fit into a "standard" instead of enhancing your own natural and unique beauty.
I love the Dove commercials and ads that celebrates all shapes and sizes of women and cultural and racial heritages.

I don't accept that racism will reign forever. The world will not remain the same. The age of man will go away and a better world will dawn.


Nailah D'arcy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
collarcitybrownstone said...

Let me make something perfectly clear here to all people who post comments on my blog. I do not go onto other people's blogs and make rude comments and I will not put up with it here. I am not rude to people or argumentative. I do not try to impose my opinions on others. I simply state what I believe. You don't have to agree with me and that is fine, but I will not put up with anyone accusing me of doing otherwise. If you ask me a question but you don't like the answer there is nothing I can do about that. Don't converse with me anymore then and simply stop following my blog. That is fine and I wish you well. I did not start a blog to be controversial or get into debates with people. I am very conscious of being kind and gracious when I reply to comments because I so much appreciate when people comment. If you read something else into my response to you, well, there is nothing I can do about that either. I know that there is never any intentions on my part to be rude or unkind to anyone.