German model Martina Adam may dye her skin and weave her hair, but she will never possess a single ingredient of black girl magic potion.
I avoided Martina Adam, a German model who has size 32 S breasts, when she received fame for that very reason — being a German model with size 32 S breasts. However, now she’s back in my newsfeed, for attempting to make herself a black woman.
I am not going to diagnose her with Body dysmorphic disorder. As a mental health professional, one thing that you do not do is diagnose people who are not your clients and share it on the internet. I am not going to shame her body because that would not be right either.
However, I am going to put this entire messy situation in context from an authentically black perspective.
I am a dark-skinned black girl, probably as naturally dark as Martina now is, post-cosmetic surgery. Sigh. Growing up, my peers, both black and white, teased me about my skin. In the eyes of the black kids I grew up with, I was “too black”, or abnormally dark — as if that was a real thing. Was there something wrong with me, they asked. Was I sunburnt as a child? Neither was true.
White people, on the other hand, assumed I was a Sudanese refugee. Also untrue. This was my world as a dark, black girl. This is what I’ve had to survive. So when Martina uses the word “crispy” to define her new hue, it takes me back to a place I would rather not go.
When I was going through my self-esteem struggles, I had one teacher who asked me if I knew what a tanning salon was. Of course, I did not. I was a black girl who was teased for being dark, so why would I make myself blacker? She told me that white people were paying big money to look like us. They were literally giving themselves skin cancer in beds like the 50 tube sunbed that Martina uses to add melanin to their skin. She wanted me to know that I should be proud of my skin complexion because I had something that could not be bought. Something that was unique.Up until now, that idea carried me. I had something white people could never have. They may get the jobs I want, go to better schools, but they would never have this True Dark, impervious black skin.
Up until now, that idea, that I had something white people could never have, carried me. They may get the jobs I want and go to better schools, but they would never have this true dark, impervious black skin.
Then, Martina came in with all of her tomfoolery. Not only has this woman knocked me off of my seat with her artificial facade, she actually had the nerve to call herself black and African. That’s right, she went there. She thinks some liquid chocolate in her skin, some butt implants, and 2 bundles of 18 inch 3c virgin Remy is the recipe for black womanhood. Girl, bye.
Let’s be clear about something. The female black experience is not for sale on any shelf or in any doctor’s office. Black femininity is actually about a shared personal development. Black girls all go through an intense journey to believe that, as a woman, your authentic self is good enough.
These journeys are different. Some may include shopping for a doll which represents you and is not a slave, or a trip to the makeup counter to find an artist that tells you, “we don’t have your shade.” These journeys, these struggles, cross boundaries as well: cis women to trans women, rich to poor women, light skinned to dark. Snubbed by the media, we continue on this journey to love ourselves unapologetically despite all of that.
And the evolution of how we feel about ourselves, the fact that more black American women are accepting their true and authentic selves, shows and is rubbing off on the world. It’s morphed the hair product enterprise into a million dollar natural hair industry, and thick black women like myself are in bikinis.
We used to live in a world where Halle Berry was THE black woman, the black feminine model that represented us all. Now, we have Gabourey Sidibe, Queen Latifah, and Laverne Cox representing black womanhood as well.
In the grander scheme of structural oppression, these are small markers for success, but still necessary.
All this being said, when a white woman takes an injection to adapt the thing which has been the source of my pain and is now the pride of my soul, I cannot help but scream, “What the fuck!” It is more intense than Rachel Dolezal and more offensive than a Kardashian. Black women will never accept Martina as an authentic black woman because she is inauthenticity and the opposite of self-acceptance. This appears to be something she is doing for fun, or, as she put it “test the limits.” Proving, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she understands nothing about being a black woman.
At the end of the day, Martina can dye her skin and weave her hair; but, to paraphrase my teacher, she will never possess a single ingredient of black girl magic potion: