One day when I was in college at NYU (which was some time during the Mesolithic period) I was browsing through Facebook, looking at profiles of people that I hated in high school. In high school, I hated this rich black girl. Not because she was rich and black (or as I like to say: black and bougie—hehe). But because she was gorgeous, aloof, materialistic, drove a Mercedes she got for her Sweet 16th, and was dating the smokin’ hot star of our school’s football team. In other words, she was living the life I was supposed to have.
My laptop was aptly sitting on my lap and my right-hand-bitch roommate was aptly sitting to my right on our pull-out futon sofa as we chatted during the commercial breaks in between an episode of America’s Next Top Model. A typical Wednesday night for us since we were too poor and lazy to go out.
Flipping through my high-school arch-nemesis’s Facebook photos, I stumbled on a picture of her with her mother, an elegant and stylish middle-aged black woman with a super short pixie hairstyle that only black women over 30 or blonde lesbians can pull off.
“Ew, even her mom is gorgeous,” I complained. My roommate glanced over with mild interest then remarked, “Yeah. She looks like Halle Berry.”
Her comment confused me a bit. Halle Berry? How? Besides the haircut, they looked nothing alike. Furthermore, the mom was wearing (designer) sunglasses so you couldn’t even see 1/3 her face. It was like my (white) roommate’s imagination just filled in the blank with society’s default archetype for all pretty black women—Halle Berry. The statement had the aftertaste of a backhanded compliment, brushing dangerously close upon the notion that “all black people look alike.” Or substitute in any minority race for that matter.
It’s time we gawk at other women who, in the words of 2Pac, are also “beautiful, black, precious, and complicated.” And what better way to do so than a listicle!
Shout out to any bitch who rocks a Hello Kitty hairbrush as a faux microphone in a contemporary rendition of my second favorite scene from the movie Stepmom (1998). Azealia is a petite little lightning rod with a cute face and a smart mouth. She is not shy about divulging details about her vibrant fluid sex life (she identifies as bisexual) in her racy but intelligent song lyrics. She has us all just wanting “to see the wet wet weave when [she’s] swimmin’ in the West Indies.” The way she seduces me in this “Harlem Shake” cover/remix video (especially @ 2:25) with her Rapunzel-like weave has me thinking that long weaves are the new stripper poles. She could also star as the creepy girl in a black rendition of The Ring (2002) with that hair! The only flaw I see with Azealia is that sometimes she does this Miley-Cyrus-flashing-her-coated-tongue bit (people, brush your tongues!), but other than that: game over!
Is this cliché? Probably, but I don’t care. Naomi has been killing the supermodel game for over 28 years and it never gets old. With the way she struts, I would pay to see her walking on a damn treadmill at the gym. She’s had some issues with being the Randy Johnson of smartphones, but that’s in the past! These days, she always comes across very articulate, caring, well-rounded, and ladylike in all her interviews (and believe you me, I watch all her interviews). The former ballerina has got legs for days and knows how to use them—I’ve never felt the urge to scissor with a woman until I saw Naomi Campbell!
I just can’t deal with Janet at 2:03. I would go dyke for her so quick, except the cougar is married to a good-looking Qatari man named Wissam Al Mana. Oh, he’s also a billionaire, so I can’t be mad at that one bit! Janet has always been at the vanguard of pushing sex positive and risqué representations of irresistible sensuality in mainstream pop culture. There was that awkward, not-very-sexy nip slip during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show. But that hardly defines Janet’s long history as being one of the biggest sex symbols on the planet.
Sloane Stephens: The sassy rising tennis star has a fit physique, gorgeous dark complexion, and sultry Eartha Kitt eyes that just say “meow!” She’s already graced the pages of Vogue and won over adoring fans with her charming and playful personality.
Gabrielle Union: More than just a pretty face, Gabrielle gives great interview! She is comfortably at home sitting across from Jimmy Kimmel, going toe-to-toe with the clever comedian in delivering sharp witty banter. Despite being an undeniably striking beauty, she has a humble spirit and down-to-earth sense of humor, which manifests in her hilarious tales about getting dumped by ex-boyfriends (a fact that’s hard the wrap your head around when you look at her!).
Candace Parker: The 6’4” svelte Amazon is nothing short of a vision while making her graceful forays to the hoop (or slam dunks) with her willowy limbs. The reigning WNBA MVP is also a fabulous mother, managing to raise her young daughter while playing overseas (where women’s professional basketball is much more lucrative) in a way that embraces the foreign culture as she enrolled her little munchkin in a school where she could learn to speak Russian with the locals. Pretty Ms. Parker (who some say resembles the late hip hop beauty Aaliyah) has even had an admiring rap song by the Wu-Tang Clan written about her.