It may be a while before Amber Rose can come back to Philly.
Model/mogul Rose told Revolt’s “Drink Champs” podcast that the girls in the South Philly neighborhood she grew up in weren’t “traditionally attractive.” Philly wasn’t feeling it. At all.
Rose, who later apologized for her comments via an Instagram live story, has mentioned growing up in a black neighborhood and attending all-black schools, so I instantly knew what “traditionally attractive” meant and who she was talking about: It was a call-out to black people.
But it wasn’t even first comment that stopped me. It was her follow-up: “…For me, being blessed with beauty, as beautiful women know, is a blessing and a curse.”
Rose was “blessed” with features that align themselves with the Eurocentric ideals of beauty: She has light skin and is white-passing.
This doesn’t make her less beautiful but distorts her comments. What Rose could have said was, “My light skin and white-passing features have allotted me certain pretty privileges.”
But Rose knows about this privileges. She’s even talked about them. Rose was featured in Oprah Winfrey’s 2015 documentary Light Girls, talking about the pain that came with her family’s desire to pass as white.
In July, when rapper Kodak Black said it wasn’t his “forte to deal with a dark skin woman,” Rose spoke out about her light skin privilege.
“…I would look at all of the beautiful dark skinned girls in my class and wish that I could wear bright color shirts like they did but it never quite looked as good on my complexion… but the Brown skinned girls would pick on me, pull my hair and want to fight me for no reason?” Rose took to Instagram and wrote. “Why tho?! I loved them! I wanted to be them! Little did I know at such a young age society was teaching them to hate me. Society was telling these girls that they weren’t as beautiful as me because of their complexion.”
These girls went from “beautiful dark skinned girls” to not being “traditionally attractive” in a matter of weeks.
I can’t say that Rose believes dark-skinned women are unattractive, she may have been trying to articulate that their beauty doesn’t align with society’s colorist, homogeneous and racist standards of what is deemed acceptable in our culture. But she didn’t provide that context.
Instead her delivery on Revolt was triggering. The language that she used is the kind that drives the misconceptions she claims to fight so hard against. It’s the idea that every light-skinned Black woman feels they’re “blessed with beauty,” and women who don’t fit into that “traditional” mold aren’t beautiful at all.