Sofia Maldonado’s Times Square mural reminds me of women I know. It reminds me of Oaktown’s 357 and J.J. Fad, the sassy lady rappers whose style I admired as a little girl.

Maldonado’s mural, depicting Black and Latino women with long fingernails, wearing leggings, skimpy tops, hoop earrings and lip gloss, has been criticized for demeaning women of color. I even got an email from a black professionals group asking folks to come out and protest in front of the mural because it made Black and Latino women look like “prostitutes, hoes and sluts.”

Why is it that these bright and fanciful images inspire such shame? There are crotch shots in the underwear ads American Eagle Outfitters broadcasts on their 15,000 square foot LED display around the corner! Crotch shots, people! But, those REAL women are white and these DRAWN women are women of color.

Perhaps the Black women in business suits who find this mural so offensive would like to forget the long fingernails and freeze updo they wore to their prom? Perhaps. Or maybe they resent the celebration of “round the way girls” – who, I guess, aren’t supposed to be considered beautiful or worth celebrating.

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