Arts Post
Posted at 04:22 PM ET, 02/27/2012

In African American pop culture, ‘thick’ is in


Three generations live together. (Marvin Joseph - Post)
An ongoing Washington Post series has been investigating being a black women in America. The Post’s Lonnae O’Neal Parker writes that historically black women were often absent in conversations about beauty, giving them the space to define and affirm their own standards of beauty. The culture rose up to support their own image, praising the distinctly bigger black female aesthetic. For example, the big-legged woman in black culture gets her own tributes and ballads. The Post’s Lonnae O’Neal chose some select highlights over the last nine decades that celebrate black beauty:


1926: Poem by William Waring Cuney

She does not know

her beauty,

she thinks her brown body

has no glory.

If she could dance

naked

under palm trees

and see her image in the river,

she would know.

But there are no palm trees

on the street,

and dish water gives back

no images.


1960: Lonnie Johnson “Big-Leg Woman”

Yes, she’s got great big legs, so pleasin’ on the eye

Yes, she’s got those great big legs, so pleasin’ on the eye

And the preacher walked by, turned around and looked, Jack and hollered “My, my, my!”


1972: Freddie King’s “Big-Legged Woman”

Ashes to ashes and dust to dust you mess with my woman I’m gonna hurt you first

‘Cause she’s a big-legged woman with a short short miniskirt

Promise me darlin you’ll never make me feel like dirt

I love my big-legged woman I love my big-legged woman


1977: Commodores’ Brick House

She’s a brick, house

She’s mighty, mighty

Just lettin’ it all hang out

Ow, she’s a brick, house

I like ladys stacked

And that’s a fact

Ain’t holdin’ nothin’ back


1987: Lucille Clifton’s “Homage to my hips”

these hips are big hips

they need space to

move around in.

they don’t fit into little

petty places. these hips

are free hips.

they don’t like to be held back.

these hips have never been enslaved,

they go where they want to go

they do what they want to do.

these hips are mighty hips.

these hips are magic hips.

i have known them

to put a spell on a man and

spin him like a top!


1992: Sir-Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back”

I’m tired of magazines

Sayin’ flat butts are the thing

Take the average black man and ask him that

She gotta pack much back

So, fellas! (Yeah!) Fellas! (Yeah!)

Has your girlfriend got the butt? (Hell yeah!)

Tell ‘em to shake it! (Shake it!) Shake it! (Shake it!)

Shake that healthy butt!

Baby got back!


2001: De La Soul: Baby Phat

Phat Phat, uh

Ain’t nothing wrong with big broads

Phat Phat

[Posdnuos]

It’s a sure bet

When I stare into your dark browns I get

Overwhelmed, overjoyed, overstep

My bounds, on your touchy subject

Your weight, your shape’s not what I date

It’s you, my crew don’t mind it thick (Uh-uh)

Every woman ain’t a video chick (Nah)

Or runway model anorexic

I love what I can hold and grab on

So if you burn it off then keep the flab on

We gonna stay gettin our collab on (Oww)

Girl we gonna stay gettin our collab on (Ooh, ooh)

We gonna stay gettin our collab on

Don’t stuck on the things they say, now you know it’s a nasty world

Tryin to get with ya anyway cause I know you’re a nasty girl

We ain’t never gon’ discriminate so let me compliment your size

Oooh oohh oooooooh oooooh


2005: Anthony Hamilton’s “Sister Big Bone”

Sista Big bone, can a brotha walk you home, look like a plate of neck bones, i’d like to keep

your body warm

Don’t miss:

Multimedia: Interviews with six black women focus on family life, success and self-esteem, which were identified as major themes in a nationwide survey conducted by The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation.

By  |  04:22 PM ET, 02/27/2012

 
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