Teyana Taylor is Maxim’s sexiest first black woman, what took so long?
Teyana Taylor became the first black person to be named Maxim’s sexiest woman in the magazine’s 21-year history, and full praise to her.
No one is complaining about how worthy of the title she is – Teyana is unmistakably underrated in music despite her uniquely raw talent and, let’s face it, the woman is incredibly gorgeous.
These abs would grate cheese in 0.2 seconds.
So there is no qualms as to why she tops the Hot 100 list, the question is: why did it take a black woman so long to claim the title? This is another case where we are marginalized in the mainstream – not that women of color need media validation.
Granted, I had no idea that a woman with melanin had never received Maxim’s honor, but it was definitely a shock to hear that Teyana was the first.
Since the magazine’s launch in 2000, Jennifer Garner, Lindsay Lohan, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift have been some of the stars topping the list. Eva Longoria has been named the Sexiest Woman twice, in 2005 and 2006.
Along with other beautiful and successful stars like Naomi Campbell, Beyonce, Rihanna, Halle Berry, Kelly Rowland, Lupita Nyong’o, Gabrielle Union and Nia Long to name a few, it is crazy to think that these women have been neglected in the past two decades.
In 2021, it is exhausting that blacks are still experiencing firsts.
However, the representation of women of color in the magazine industry has long been a glossed over issue until recently, when we have seen some watershed moments.
In 2017, The Guardian researched 214 covers of 19 top-selling magazines. They found two months of the year when each of these blankets was exclusively white – that meant no woman of color had become a blanket star. Over the year as a whole, only 20 covers featured a person of color.
These numbers are just a glimpse of how black women can be marginalized by influential and powerful magazines.
Going back to 2002, a study by Mark E Hill at Pennsylvania State University used data from the National Survey of Black Americans (NSBA) to determine how skin color consciously or unconsciously influenced the assessment of physical attractiveness. in African American adults.
The results indicated that “skin tone influenced the attractiveness ratings assigned to black women in a convincing and monotonous manner.”
However, the overwhelmingly positive response to Teyana being named Maxim’s Sexiest Woman shows that Black can and does sell.
This was proven in 2015 when nearly every September issue, the most important on a glossy calendar, was dominated by black women. Beyoncé was on the cover of Vogue, while we also had Ciara for Shape, Kerry Washington for Self, Amandla Stenberg for Dazed, Willow Smith for iD, Misty Copeland for Essence and Serena Williams on the cover of New York Magazine.
It was a highlight that signaled that, perhaps, black beauty was finally seen as universal beauty. However, this should have been normalized long ago.
Nothing should be taken away from these accomplishments or those of Teyana but, even if it was indeed a revolutionary step, that does not in any way validate that Black is beautiful. Just because Teyana is the sexiest black woman in 2021 doesn’t mean that there wasn’t one before her.
Our community has known this forever and while it is important to see black women up to the same standards as white women, it should not be lauded as a mark of acceptance of non-black people.
Teyana did not need being told by Maxim that she is one of the “hottest” celebrities around, but the recognition on a big platform and the visibility of seeing a black person in that position normalizes her.
She deserves to be named the sexiest black woman on her own merit as much as the next white woman. Hopefully she isn’t the token or we’ll have to wait another 21 years before we see someone of her skin tone on the cover again.
Maxim saw him 21 years too late, but better late than never.
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