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Black Women: Despite Satoshi Kanazawa claim, Makeda lives in you

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By Rev. Michael Waters

Dark am I, yet lovely, daughters of Jerusalem, dark like the tents of Kedar, like the tent curtains of Solomon.

Song of Solomon 1:5

How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes are doves.

Song of Solomon 1:15

Satoshi Kanazawa

An egregious new assault has been levied against black femininity. Like many, I was flabbergasted by the recently published “scholarship” of one Satoshi Kanazawa in Psychology Today titled “Why Are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?” The article claimed that black women have a predisposition to ugly – that they are less beautiful than women of other ethnicities – and that this is a scientific fact. Initially, I thought it was an ill-conceived joke or the commencement of yet another urban myth. Unfortunately, it was real, the latest racist diatribe joining with countless others that also claim that black humanity has a predisposition to ignorance and brutality.

Assault against black femininity has a storied history. No other group of women, past or present, has been made to suffer so greatly as black women, especially within the American enterprise. Black women have suffered rape by white masters and black brothers, alike. Newborns have been ripped from their arms and sold into slavery. The fathers of their children remain largely absent today. They have had to cut down the strange fruit of black masculinity dangling from trees and fish out bodies floating in rivers.

Black women have had to bury too many loved ones too soon, often the result of senseless black on black violence. It is this history of marginalization and oppression that caused Zora Neale Hurston to metaphorically pen in her seminal text Their Eyes Were Watching God that black women are “the mule of the world” – underappreciated and overworked.

And now they have to contend with claims that they have a predisposition to ugly.

At first, I thought that Kanazawa’s troubled research did not deserve a response. I was soon convinced that it demanded one. For this attack is the latest not only on black women but on black girls, as well. In 2009, Malia Obama, daughter of the President of the United States, was criticized by the conservative blog Free Republic as being unfit to represent America while donning a natural, unstraightened hairstyle during international travel. In essence, this young girl’s natural hair was called “un-American,” a poor representation of our nation to the world!

Incredulous claims such as these serve not only as an attack against black femininity, but as an attack against God, Godself. The Psalmist makes a powerful declaration concerning not only black femininity, but humanity as a whole, that claim being that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” by God (Psalm 139:14). Any suggestion otherwise is blasphemous at best!

Today, black femininity still fights against the myths that black French songstresses Les Nubians sang concerning over a decade ago. They sang:

One wants to make us believe in lost myths. Parts of history are corrupted and examined. From Ramses to Mandela, so many unspoken truths…Makeda was a Queen, beautiful and powerful. Solomon dreamed of her black skin…The Queen of Sheba lives in me. Makeda lives in me.

Queen of Sheba traveling to Solomon. A fresco in Ethiopia Date (Wikipedia Commons)

Makeda is the Ethiopian name given the Queen of Sheba. Her exploits are recorded in the Hebrew Bible (1 Kings 10:1-13). A woman of tremendous wealth a prestige, she self-funded her own pilgrimage to the court of King Solomon of Israel, traveling with gifts of spices, gold, precious stones, and beautiful wood. Makeda was moved by Solomon’s great wisdom and pronounced a blessing on Yahweh, Solomon’s God.

So awed by Makeda was Solomon that he offered to give her everything his kingdom, stay for the “royal bounty.” While surely grateful for this kind gesture, Makeda simply returned home. She was probably disinterested in Solomon’s offer of wealth as wealth was not new to her – she herself had brought four and a half tons of gold with her to present as a gift to Solomon!

Makeda now serves as a symbol of great beauty and influence. In singing “Makeda lives in me” Les Nubians reclaimed for themselves and for millions of black women across the globe, a sense of beauty and self-worth by debunking myths against the same. As their brother, I join my millions of sisters in this fight!

Therefore, be it henceforth and forever known that I am the grandson of a beautiful black woman. I am the son of a beautiful black woman. I am the husband of a beautiful black woman. I am the father of a beautiful black daughter who shall grow to become a beautiful black woman, like her mother and grandmother before her.

And I will not stand idly by as anyone engages in seek and destroy missions against their self-worth and self-esteem under the guise of scholarship. For when you attack them, you attack me, for without them there is no me!

Live on, my beautiful Queens! Makeda lives in you!

Rev. Michael W. Waters is the founder and Senior Pastor of Joy Tabernacle A.M.E. Church in Dallas, Texas and was named among America’s top young leaders by Ebony Magazine. He can be contacted at

  • Michelle London-Bell

    Fantastic, Michael! A well-articulated argument in our favor.



  • Terrence TJ SupaHype Rogers

    This is an interesting exerpt regarding his work… In addition, together with Intelligence researcher Dr. Jelte Wicherts, Dr. Kaufman showed Kanazawa misinterpreted the ‘Add Health’ study he claimed proved that Black Women were least attractive. Drs. Kaufman and Wicherts conducted an independent analysis of the same study that Kanazawa used and found, amongst other errors of Kanazawa’s analysis, that black women were not rated as least attractive. The study showed “there is no difference between the ethnicities in terms of ratings of physical attractiveness.” The percentage of black women and Caucasian women who were deemed ‘very attractive’ and ‘attractive’ were exactly the same. Asian women had a slightly higher rating.[22]

    An article in the ‘Scientific American’ also debunked Kanazawa’s claim by also conducting an independent analysis of the same data. The study showed that Kanazawa used false statements to come to his conclusion reading, “Kanazawa surmises that Black women’s lower attractiveness might be due to low estrogen and high testosterone. Yet, high estrogen levels and low testosterone is a leading cause of fibroids, which significantly impact Black women…. [a]lso, Black women have been found to have higher levels of estrogen in a study on breast cancer.” The Scientific American noted Dr. Kaufman’s analysis and agreed to only analyzing the part of the study that included adult women. The article revealed that Kanazawa only used the part of the study that rated the attractiveness of young girls that were as young as twelve years old.[23]

  • Latonya Heard

    High yellow, red bone, blue-black, blurple…….and the list could go on. These are names I remember hearing people being called growing up in the deep south. For even farther back than my youth, our color has determined the way we’ve treated each other and been treated by others. It’s been one of the main causes of division. We, as women, must first learn to respect and appreciate one another. Once we show the world that’s how we do it, they will have to follow. Someone in the video said it goes back to slavery and I agree. We have no choice but to stand up and say “Hey, we are all beautiful and have contributions to make, so stop trying to divide/label us because we have varied skin hues!”

    Putting an end to it starts at home. We cannot stand by and allow anyone, including and especially family/friends, continue to use our varied skin tones as a determining factor in ANY aspect of life. We have to love each other and lift each other up. The only color we should be worried about is the color of one’s heart. Is yours painted with the color of God’s love?

  • Wayne Micah

    Just curious about the citation of the ‘conservative blog’ Free Republic and the official stance of the web site authors supporting this ‘ugly’ meme. Would you mind supplying a skeptic with the actual story or at a minimum a link to the story so we might verify your claim?

    Take care.

  • Mittie Muse Jr.

    Well said.

  • Mims

    thank you! i had almost lost hope for Black men supporting us – you keep me proud to be Black. Thank you for your article!

  • Marie Greene

    Thanks for your beautiful words Rev.Waters.
    I thank God that my dad ( and mom) raised me to believe I was smart, beautiful, and can be anything I want to be in life. I was treated like a princess at home, so there was no need for me to seek validation outside.
    Because of my upbringing the ignorant comments,and so called scientific studies of Dr Kanazawa, and others like him won’t bother me.
    If parents ( guardians, grandparents,family members etc) raise their girls, black , brown, yellow, white, mixed etc,with lots of love, attention,and validation, they will grow up to be women with great self esteem. No ignorant words will break them down!!
    God Bless

  • George Faulkner

    Well stated Rev Waters and I also have a beautiful and proud black women.

  • Michael W. Waters

    To Wayne Micah: Please see the article “Skin Deep: Black Hair, Still Tangled in Politics” written by Catherine Saint Louis published in the New York Times on August 26, 2009 for reference to the Free Republic blog. Commenters on a thread on the blog not only criticized her hair but referred to her as “ghetto street trash” and a “typical street whore” among others. The moderators of the site not only allowed this thread to remain up for a day, but even after garnering negative reviews and placing the thread under review, the thread was returned with the comments intact on the site. It is important to remember that these sentiments were directed at an eleven year old girl and allowed to remain posted by the site’s owner. Ultimately, Jim Thompson, the site’s owner, offered the following statement on the matter; “We should steer clear of Obama’s children. They can’t help it if their old man is an American-hating Marxist pig.” Thankfully, some good-hearted people took the site to task. One commenter, “fullchroma”, wrote, “To Jim Thompson: The recent uptick here in racist vitriol, aimed at Barrack, Michelle and their children has made me wonder if I belong. My objection to Obama has nothing to do with skin tone. Is the ugly stereotype of Conservative racism true?” The thread was finally removed after three days as negative attention continued to increase. An on-line search will return numerous articles and video uplinks concerning this matter.

  • Myra Williams

    Hi! Please check out my blog article which addresses the issues surrounding the skin color and hair texture of black women. It has photos, videos, and poems. I would use this as a teaching tool for young African-Americans. Takes 1-2 hrs to view all the materials…10 videos, 2poems, 2 short articles.​2011/​05/​skin-color-and-hair-texture-black.html

    I would love to know what you think!

    Here is a link to a discussion about the blog posting on Huffington Post’s Facebook page:​topic.php?uid=18468761129&topic=18857

  • Myra Williams
  • Asian American

    Well, this research mostly true. Base on statistics, dating, and marriage. Many Black men ignore their own women and marry outside such as White, Latino, Native American, Indian, Alasklan, Pacific Islander, or Asian.

    But, the other way is not happen that often, which dictate the finding. On the other hand, do you see many White, Asian, Hispanics, or Native American men marry much Black women? I am not supporting or saying there are no attractive Black women. I have see some attractive Black women, and even with better personality. I mean, I think this articicle talk about exterior look. Of course, many White girls don’t have good personality too but outside they look beautiful. It is nature and can’t deny. Of course, for us, we are very happy w/ our own women, they both have beauty outside and inside.

  • Sue Back

    I am glad of your words.too many times we stay quite when we need to speak.Also,you didn’t attack him,just stated truths. I really appreciated that.I’m a white woman,it felt like an attack even to me.Again thank you for your words addressing this.I am glad you did not stay silent.

  • cc

    Why so upset? Check out the racist comments black men themselves make about black women at every turn, and every chance they get to use a microphone with talk of who they “won’t date”, what “butts” they won’t do (thank goodness for black women), and “good” hair to start.

    Notice that although black men and women are cut from the same cloth, men were oddly considered more attractive in the article. Clearly the author knows which group he is safe to offend and attempt to denigrate. If black women and men want black women to be respected, no need to focus on psychology today articles and pseudo scientists or radio shock jocks, they simply take their cue from the black “community”, doing what they know we and society will allow them to do.

  • cc

    I also think it is interesting that this piece of fiction comes from a Japanese man, part of a group that has been denigrated and deemed the most unattractive of male “groups”, when compared to other ethnicities. It is well known that Asian women are much more prone to marry white men when compared to the number of Asian men who are sought after as partners by white or other women. Maybe this was an attempt to elevate his own groups status. Po’ thing;-)

  • cc

    One more thing – besides the obvious fact that trying to say black women are unattractive while traveling through the streets of Atlanta, or Brazil, or Cape Verde, or Senegal, or Ethiopia, or Paris is simply absurd, outter beauty is so unimportant. We have work to do, people!!! And black women are doing it!!! That is what excites me. Other people continue to single out this one group, to shoot slings and arrows at, in this supposed era of post-racialized society, and despite the attempted assasination, black women just won’t quit! Achievement among black women in educational attainment, entrepreneurship, scholarship, spiritual grounding, etc…, despite obstacles, is phenomenal. Continue to do the work that is ordained of you – nothing is more important, and no other group has made such strides in so short a period of time. Onward lady warriors :-) )))))))!!!!

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