There has been so much UPROAR from the black community over Rihanna’s new fragrance Nude, particularly regarding the advertisement campaign.
People are upset because according to Merriam-Webster nude is the “color of a white person’s skin” and Rihanna is not white! However,
flipping through searching for the word “nude” in various online dictionaries, you will come across two type of definitions:
1. definition of physical state
2. definition of color
The first definition is inclusive of all humans. We all can be unclothed, naked, in-the-buff, bare *ssed… need I go on? However, the second definition is exclusive
to minorities culturally insensitive because it only describes a color of Caucasian skin tones.
For the purpose of the rest of my opinion, I will use this definition of nude:
6. a sculpture, painting, etc., of a nude human figure.
7. an unclothed human figure.
8. the condition of being unclothed: to sleep in the nude.
9. a light grayish-yellow brownish-pink color.
Origin: 1525-35; < Latin nūdus
Since we speak the
Queen’s English, AKA a language created in a homogeneous white-ancient-Europe, why do we expect nude to encompass every possible skin shade? Historically, the context of the color nude is heavily tied to the skin tone of nudes used in European art. These paintings usually depicted rosy, pale, and beige naked women **Do you see the physical and color definition of nude at play here?** Hence, the cultural context guided in the attribution of the word nude to a brownish-pink color—a color typical of the nudes’ skin tone—which is non-coincidentally the color of the people of European descent. Therefore, it can be assumed that nude in fashion and art refers to a pink-beige tone. Perfume is marketed as fashion. Hence, for Rihanna’s perfume nude = pink-beige. The name of the perfume is clever because many women like a “sheer” scent, or a naked scent. Therefore, the marketing of this ad not only cleverly utilizes the fashion context of nude >color< but the >physical< context of nude naked.