It is certainly no secret that when it comes to the media, women of a darker complexion have not been as celebrated as women with lighter tones. In an interview with Ebony, Dawn Richard tackled the controversial subject, giving her own opinion of the ongoing battle that darker women have with beauty standards. According to the daring singer, the media doesn’t appreciate the fact that when it comes to darker women, “it’s a different kind of beautiful.”
Dawn Richard was always one to break the mold and show the media something different. After switching from the girl group Danity Kane to Diddy-Dirty Money, she got an even more personal look at how the media would receive two beautiful ladies with dark complexions.
“There’s this dark girl with a thick frame and another brown-skinned skinny girl with a butt… When you think of a black girl in pop or R&B culture right now – if you close your eyes – a dark girl wouldn’t be the first girl to come to mind,” Dawn explained. “Estelle wouldn’t pop up first. Kelly [Rowland] wouldn’t pop up first. Even though they exist, they’re not as celebrated.”
According to Richard, darker women have an edge when it comes to beauty. Rather than just being “typical beauties,” they’re also eclectic and exotic. It’s the things that make them different that make them so beautiful, “I think eclectic is more beautiful than beautiful, because ‘beautiful’ is typical.” This thought is exactly what inspired the music in her latest EP, Armor On. The EP embodies a very fearless attitude in what the R&B singer calls “praise and worship music.”
Even the production of the EP revealed just how much the media tends to discriminate against darker women. When Dawn made the ground breaking decision to feature all dark-skinned dancers for her EP, one of the first things to be said in the room full of dancers was “Look at all of this chocolate!” Dawn obviously took note of this. “To say that as a dancer that has danced background for many different artists, it meant that this is obviously something that’s missing in other videos.” A quick glance through several of the most popular music videos today would prove that Dawn was absolutely right. In today’s society, spotting a large collection of darker women in a music video is almost unheard of.
Being quite the trend-setter, Dawn has also been a bit of a rebel when it comes to hair. She has sported a faux hawk with blonde sides along with a more elegant angled bob cut. Dawn referenced her current look as being very much a “modern day Joan of Arc.”
“I like playing the androgyny to the fullest. I love powerful, strong looks,” Dawn exclaimed. “Man! They just don’t want to see a brown girl with short hair! I think they’re scared of it.”
Dawn recalled that every chocolate beauty that came into the industry with short hair was soon after persuaded to go with a long flowing weave instead. In Dawn’s opinion, “It’s like they can’t take seeing our features accentuated.”
Richards is obviously an inspiration for many of her fans, so who inspired her own short look? “One of my favorites right now is British actress Tilda Swinton. I love her because she pushes the envelope of what she looks like. She pushes the male influence so much.”
Dawn believes that Swinton, along with Daphne Guinness and Alek Wek, are just a few examples of true beauty icons. It’s evident that as long as darker women were battling with beauty, Dawn would be more than willing to fight alongside the “chocolate beauties.”