African American Rhinoplasty
Halle Berry (above)
Halle Berry has allegedly had rhinoplasty over the years. In the picture on the left (from 1996), you can see that her nose tip and flesh around the nostrils are fuller than in the picture on the right (from the 2000s). Do these differences have a greater meaning to the African American image overall?
African American rhinoplasty is a topic most black men and women do not openly discuss with each other. Black nose jobs are usually left to the realm of rich celebrities, but there is a growing population of middle-class black Americans opting for rhinoplasty.
And sometimes the changes in our favorite black celebrities' noses are done so gradually over time, we don't notice the difference until we see pictures separated by a decade.
And then when we realize they've done it, we usually have two different reactions: "Celeb X is just trying to be white" or "Where can I get Celeb X's nose job?" And the most mature of us simply say, "To each their own."
African American Rhinoplasty Discussion
So why do black people opt for nose jobs? And is it just famous people doing it? We discuss this with two women with two completely different opinions. Kenya, who is vehemently opposed to rhinoplasty, and Millicent, who has actually had it done on herself.
Do you think it's okay for African-Americans to get nose jobs?
Two Sides of the Coin: Kenya, Opposed
Kenya feels that black celebs who get nose jobs are doing a disservice to their race.
"First of all this whole Hollywood establishment thing has black people convinced that they have to slice their noses up to look good. And that ain't right. And I don't know about you, but the sisters I know look more like Whoopi Goldberg than Halle Berry."
"If famous Afro-Americans continue to get their noses thinned out, what hope do the rest of us have for feeling proud of our actual beauty? Confidence should always come from inside, but the truth is that we're vulnerable to the media's image of black people, and that image rarely ever tells us that we'e beautiful the way we are."
"African-American celebrities I think have a little bit of responsibility for representing the rest of us. They've got the money so many of us don't. They've got the rewards of fame that, again, most of us don't. So why can't they help the rest of us out with the image issue? I think the black community is torn that way -- 'I got mine so I'm just gonna do what's good for me' kind of thing."
"I know I can't reverse the trend in what our celebrities do with their own bodies, but I'd like to encourage natural black beauty in them and hope to see more of it in the future."
Two Sides of the Coin: Millicent, In Favor of
Millicent, who has had the surgery herself sees nothing wrong with African American rhinoplasty, as long as it makes a person feel better about themselves.
"I had a nose job done when I was 23. I have never regretted it. I'm not a celebrity. I'm an accountant, and I paid for the surgery in an installment loan. I didn't have the bridge of my nose changed, just a bit of the width taken in. I don't buy the argument that black people are trying to look white when they get nose jobs. If they were, you'd see a bunch of black people all walking around with Michael Jackson-style noses. And that is not what is going on. You usually see some trimming going on -- that's about it."
"White celebrities and regular white people on the street get most of the nose jobs that are done in our country. Well, they are already white, so what are they trying to be? Are we supposed to yell at them too? So I just don't even pay attention when people use the "trying to be white" argument."
"People should get a nose job only if it will make them feel better. And if it makes them feel better, then all the more power to them. If they are happy with their natural noses, then that is great as well. Women are very picky with their looks -- their hair, eyebrows, teeth, body size, butt, nose -- everything. And what works for one woman --or man-- doesn't work for the next one. So I would suggest people just consider how they feel to themselves about their looks, and then go from there."
So does this discussion about black nose jobs really change anything? It might be best to say that we all have our own options and beliefs. At least we can live together with that.