I was recently watching a marathon of Millionaire Matchmaker on Bravo where the featured celebrity millionaire was Marcellus Wiley, former college and NFL [american] football player, turned ESPN radio and TV personality. Mr. Wiley told Patti Stanger that he preferred the exotic type of woman like Sofia Vergara of Modern Family and Beyonce, but a strong educated woman who can think for herself.
As Patti and her staff are sifting through potential match-ups, they typically give the dates pointers on how to improve their appearance. Granted, in no way has this show ever touted itself as an edifying path to genuine self-discovery, confidence or do-goodery (yes, I made up that word!). They had a picture of a black woman with a long wavy weave as inspiration and told all the potential candidates to spruce themselves up in the same manner. In all honesty, I actually rather agreed with most of their recommendations, there were a few really bad weaves that needed some major correction.
Patti talks about the need to make these women look more beautiful and fit the perceptions of beauty as defined by her millionaire. Her exact words are, “We had a lot of girls that came in with all the great backgrounds, school, family, education, but the matchmaker still needs to make sure they look great. So its makeover time.”
As they flash through some interesting cases, up comes Adinett, a gorgeous nanny with a sweet 3inch afro. Her natural hair just perfectly coiffed and glistening, and then Patti asks her, if she’s ever had Tyra Banks-esque hair and she said yes, and Patti asks her to have long hair for the mixer, because she’s got a lovely face. Adinett agrees. [Maybe it was just me, but, Adinett looked sad and perhaps a bit teary as she responded okay to Patti].
I can’t help but feel a bit heartbroken at the questions this raises. Aren’t black women more “exotic” with their truly exotic natural black hair? I’m not going to get into the whole debate of natural vs relaxed vs weaves, because that loses sight of the real issue. In this moment, in my own perception, that woman was robbed (and chose to be so) of her strength and self-determination. In many ways, Marcellus Wiley was also robbed of the opportunity to meet the real woman (choose for himself) and not some fabrications of somebody else’s idea of beautiful.
Anyway, Adinette shows up all dolled up in this long wig with bangs and she is just breathtakingly beautiful. I mean seriously, the woman was always beautiful. Patti was right and Patti was wrong.
Note: I am not trying to call out Patti Stanger or her show Millionaire matchmaker, Marcellus Wiley or Adinett with this post. This is merely a commentary and a response to a provoking moment.
On a side note and perhaps a matter best left alone, but what does it say about
black women who are willing to change their outer appearances to land a millionaire?????