Tyra Banks and Beyonce , two of the world’s most beautiful and highly successful women in entertainment,were in the news in the past two weeks with allegations that they perpetrated fraud. One is guilty as charged, while the other seems to be the victim of fraud herself. Black Girl with Long Hair, broke the story of how Tyra Banks’ Type F website was running a slew of dreadful how-to videos on African-American hair. The outcry started when the Natural Hair community spoke out, but ultimately and rightfully expanded to include a further investigation of all of the fake videos. Supposedly featuring professional hair stylists and make-up artists, they were in actuality made by women who were clearly neither.
Now I will confess, that I knew about these videos a couple months ago. Because one of the participants in this hot mess was a woman who briefly made her way into my Life right after my Mom passed. She even tried to talk me into making some of the videos. But fortunately, common sense prevailed. I just couldn’t see the sense in claiming to be a “hair stylist” or a “makeup artist” if you are not. In addition, vlogging can be tough on a brand if it is not authentic. You set yourself up to be skewered! I knew from checking her videos out that the viewers were going to have a field day with her sporting obvious wigs while claiming that she was working with “relaxed African-American hair”! And that is exactly what happened.
When I vlog, the videos will be my honest amateur opinion of the products I try. If I am featuring someone professing to be a professional, that person is going to actually BE a pro! As this gal’s greatest talent was being a very dark pot who calls every other kettle black, we are no longer associates. But this has in no way shaped my decision to run this story. Having read other blogs on the subject and because the videos became the source of much speculation on those sites, there are a lot of misconceptions about the videos that I felt needed to be cleared up.
First of all, the videos were in no way made to be humorous as some viewers mistakenly thought. In this instance, it is a shame they weren’t! On the contrary, the people at Demand Media who created them for Tyra’s site, honestly seemed to think that the videos were alright until there was a public outcry. And more than likely, Tyra didn’t know about them until the parodies (see above) and the letters started rolling in. Now I don’t totally blame Tyra for this. Since Demand Media is a reputable company that creates tons of content for other sites, I’m sure she in no way expected that the African-American videos would turn out as awful as they did. This was a simple case of neither Tyra, nor any other woman of color being in the room to say that this was not going to fly with the community.
Secondly, despite the aforementioned participant’s claims of being amply paid, most of the other women featured in the offending videos have stated that they were not compensated. They simply thought that their association with Type F and, by extension, Tyra Banks would expand their brands. But since the videos became nothing more than a source of derision and embarrassment, no one was “laughing all the way to the bank”, least of all Tyra.
And finally, the commenters on the Type F site and their YouTube channel cannot be dismissed as “haters” and are certainly not “fans” as the aforementioned participant keeps falsely claiming. What exactly would they be hating on? The videos were a hot mess! The real reason for these comments and parodies is two-fold. First, African-American women are rarely portrayed in the media (in particular when the subject is beauty). And secondly, since Tyra is both African-American and considered an authority on beauty, people expected the best from her. Thus, it was shocking and embarrassing for Black women to see themselves portrayed ridiculously and they were rightfully pissed off. Period.
Simply trying to dismiss every critic as a “hater” shortchanges your growth. Yes, celebrities have a lot of haters. But it is a sign of ego gone mad for ordinary people to think that they have distractors on that same level. Sure, we all have to deal with the crazy comments on the web and particularly on YouTube. And we all, especially if we reach any level of success at anything, have a lot of folks who are jealous. For example, I recently had some partycrashers start a cyberbullying campaign against me. (I know it sounds so high school but there are adults who actually hide behind the internet too. Fortunately, it is illegal.) While it was mostly a bunch of idiotic nonsense, like that I changed my name when I was younger (so what I tell people that!), one claim was true. Even though they are haters, to have simply written them off as such, would have blocked an important life-changing revelation. Because buried in the 99 percent of stupidity was one important kernel of truth. Instead of play the victim, I decided to explore that one truthful accusation. In addition, I had to check my own contribution to their actions. As Joel Osteen just said, “God uses the weak to confound the strong.” Unbeknownst to them, these people’s foolywang behavior greatly aided in my personal growth.
And finally, there is a clear distinction between just hating on someone and stating honest opinion. I’d advise that all the gals who made the Type F videos stop playing victims and be honest with themselves. The viewers didn’t turn against you because they are “haters” or “fans” (That’s a hilarious stretch of your imaginations! You’re Z list at best!). They turned against you because you looked ridiculous and by extension made African-American women look ridiculous. And if you actually got paid to do so, that’s even worse! Besides it really had little to do with the no name participants. People were reacting to their expectations of TYRA’s brand!
The second supposed Sista fraud is the Beyonce scandal which looks to be some creative editing of the video! I find it too farfetched to believe that she is somehow embroiled in a pregnancy conspiracy. Honestly, who wants to make themselves look fat? If Sista is so sick in the head that she is faking a baby bump, it is time to call the men in the white coats with the padded van! But hey, stranger things have happened in the celebrity universe.
And finally, shout out to the folks down at Occupy Wall Street! Despite what the news is saying, there is a clear agenda to the protest. They are sick of the “let ’em cake” attitude of the folks in Congress and the White House! For example, last year, Obama and the divided Congress let millions of people lose their unemployment right at Christmas. Many of them are in Zucotti Park now. I do hope that the movement will select a leader and they will not do what always happens with liberal movements and start including all manner of wingnuts with personal agendas. My advice is to just stick to the central message as it is an important one. No one is saying that folks can’t and shouldn’t be rich and live well. For example, look at the admiration for Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. But the old ways of being wealthy are over. You just shouldn’t live rich and then spit in the faces of those more needy. I will be going down to check them out and get some shots as soon as I have fully recovered from the Coolsculpting procedure that was supposed to be “no pain, no downtime”. Don’t believe the hype, I am now entering Week 3 of both! More on that when I review the procedure in another post.