Ari Lennox
Source: Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Challenging Norms: Ari Lennox's Stand on Beauty in Entertainment


Dec. 8 2023, Published 3:22 p.m. ET

Ari Lennox loves being black and is not afraid to show it. With that said, here’s how the “Whipped Cream” singer is advocating for body positivity and self-acceptance in the world of entertainment.

Promoting Natural Beauty

Lennox, with her soft skin and natural hair, is the real embodiment of the beauty of Black women. The singer is not afraid to show people who she is in her natural element. She is big on maintaining her stunning look and appeal with a simple and bare-bones beauty routine. In an interview with Allure, she stated, “I don't mind showing people what I look like every day, because what the hell? To me, that's real life.” In the interview, the “Bussit” singer says she only uses Shea butter, water, and soap to keep her skin looking awesome. The same goes for her hair – she only uses natural shampoo and natural soap to keep it healthy. She also includes an oil (such as olive or grapeseed) and Shea Butter as part of her hair care routine.

Glamorizing Black Skin

Over the years Lennox has worked hard to build a substantial and loyal fanbase. She has also come to understand the importance of using her voice and platform to advocate for black women having been subjected to unrealistic beauty standards herself. This informed her decision when it came to choosing a fitting name for her debut studio album.

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When asked about the thematic meaning of the name of her first studio album, the singer-songwriter stated, “Shea Butter Baby,” was made to represent chocolate women out there and naturals out there.” The “On It” singer continued to explain how she picked the name as a way of glamorizing dark-skinned women. She said that she felt like the beauty of these women – who looked like her – was ignored by many people.

Using Music Videos to Showcase Black Beauty

Lennox is also known for using her music videos to showcase black beauty and push against negative stereotypes centering on the beauty and appeal of dark skin. Her “Bussit” music video showcases the beauty of Black skin against a backdrop of a selection of bright colors. It pushes against the practice of limiting specific colors on dark skin, by dressing Lennox and her background dancers in pink, green, purple, and blue shades. In the video, the beauty of dark-skinned women – who are not always front and center – is highlighted.

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In her “Shea Butter Baby” song, Lennox sings about the beauty and appeal of Black love. She also continues to portray the desirability of dark skin with her soulful sound. The video even features a black apartment from the ‘90s to further highlight her message.

Defending Black Beauty Online

“How people hate Black people so much — how Black people can sit up here and say, ‘That’s not my problem,’ or ‘She does look like a Rottweiler…’ You want to talk about how, ‘Oh, people are so sensitive, they want to cancel freedom of speech.’ Why is this your speech? Why are you so comfortable tearing down Black women?” she said on Instagram Live. “When are Hispanic women ever compared to dogs? When are white men doing that to white women? When are Hispanic men doing that to Hispanic women? They’re not doing it. They’re not.”

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