Within My Eclectic Mind

Thoughts. Opinions. Goals. Decisions.

I’m black & I love the color nude & Rihanna too!! October 25, 2012

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:

Nude [nood,nyood]
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

Source Dictionary.com

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.

To address the RiRi haters critics who claim “Rihanna is trying to pass for white. That is why she is wearing a blonde weave and promoting the “white-man’s” nude color that “is not her nude color””…… Visually, using any dark color weave on Rihanna’s would clash with the multitude of soft colors of nude around her, which is why the marketer most likely chose blonde. A light chestnut may have served this purpose too. If the next thing you want to say is “Well Xta! What are you saying about us dark-n-lovelies who wear our dark brown hair and a nude blouse? Are you saying our hair natural hair color is a fashion clash?” My answer would be “NO! Stop reaching!” “Uhm , no.” Once again, the purpose of this ad is the clever utilization of the TWO definitions of nude and the suggestion the fragrance is sheer and soft. Hair colors that are bold such as red, dark brown, and black will not fit the purpose of the ad.

Personally… I have no problem with the word nude being used to describe a color. However, I do have a problem with not being able to find shades of clothing, especially lingerie, that match my skin tone, medium brown with orange-red tones. BUT I WON’T stop there!!! I would ALSO have a problem if I go into a store looking for nude (color) shoes and the sales associate guides me to pairs of brown shoes.

Ultimately, I feel that this is a battle not worth fighting when it comes to the word “nude”. In Latin culture, the varying skin tones are defined by different words:

Racial category Racial types Included
white rubio
blanco jipato
white-mulatto range blanco jojoto
indio lavado
indio claro
trigüeño claro
mulatto pinto
pinto jovero
indio canelo
black-mulatto range trigüeño oscuro
indio quemao
black moreno

Source Wikipedia.com

Instead, why do we not continue to embrace the hazelnuts, bronze, toffee, coffee, honey, olive and the other variety of words that can describe our skin tones? Going back to the shoe example, how complicated and boring (lol) would that make life if nude described ALL the possible shades of skin?!


SOUND OFF!!! Do you think Rihanna is trying to pass for white? Do you think English needs to become “culturally sensitive” AND change the definition of nude to “the color of flesh”? Do you think we should continue to embrace the various words used to describe the multitude of brown skin tones? Have you tried or are planning to try this new scent?


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