Commentary: The Rise of Cosmetic Surgery in the Black Community

Statistics show that more and more African-Americans are getting cosmetic surgery. Is this a good thing?

The saying used to be “Black don’t crack.” In deference to those unfamiliar with that phrase, its meaning is simple: African-Americans, whose skin has more moisture in it and is less sensitive to sun damage, age better than people of other ethnicities, allowing them to look youthful longer. With such self-confidence regarding their looks, time was that Black people didn’t take to things like plastic surgery the way others have. Those days are apparently over.


WZAK Cleveland is reporting that African-Americans accounted for just 375,025 of the plastic surgery procedures that took place in 2002. Six years later, 907,141 African-Americans had cosmetic surgery procedures, or 8 percent of the nearly 12 million procedures performed that year. Making up about 13 percent of the American population, Blacks are still underrepresented in the realm of plastic surgery, where whites make up nearly 70 percent of cosmetic surgery patients. But those numbers are obviously on the rise, and quickly.


Give credit for the rise of plastic surgery amongst African-Americans, perhaps, to people like Wendy Williams and Tyra Banks, Black women who have said time and again that they are open to plastic surgery, and that other Blacks should be, too. We’re now entering an era when Black people, women in particular, are feeling open to surgery in order to feel better about themselves.


The question about whether this is a trend that should be embraced is a difficult one. Being part of a community that doesn’t traditionally go to surgical lengths in order to maintain its pride is, in a way, a nice thing. And should we really be celebrating a rise in Black people getting nose jobs and butt lifts? But while those procedures might sound icky at first, at the end of the day, if an adult wants to do something that makes them feel better about themselves without harming others, more power to them. Just because your neighbor’s getting breast implants doesn’t mean you have to. And, conversely, if your Black is cracking and you’d like to do something about it, you shouldn’t let societal pressures talk you out of it.


True freedom in the Black community has always meant one thing: Being able to make your own choices without others telling you what to do. Like it or not, that freedom of choice has to extend to everything — even butt lifts.


The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.



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