Opinion: Black Women Are Dying to Be Beautiful

Opinion: Black Women Are Dying to Be Beautiful

Published October 14, 2009

For untold numbers, a doctor's visit has taken the place of a makeover.

In the wake of news that a Florida mother of three is brain-dead after having a cosmetic procedure that went wrong last week, it seems fair to wonder if Black women at-large aren’t more eager to put their lives on the line in hopes of changing their physical appearances. Body-altering surgeries that were once mainly sought by wealthy White women have become both appealing and affordable to a whole new league of people. Some of them, like Rohie Kah, 37, are our girlfriends, moms and sisters.

 Kah is reportedly in a coma after undergoing what may have been a non-FDA-approved procedure, or standard liposuction, depending on which lawyer is to be believed. A registered nurse, she suffered tragic complications after being treated at the Weston MedSpa. In a case that seems to echo that of rapper Kanye West’s mom, who died suddenly in 2007 after cosmetic surgery, Kah’s loved ones are left wanting answers – and possibly wishing that Kah had loved what she saw in the mirror a little more.

"Basically, anytime you make an unnatural change in the body, there could be some side-effects," says Southfield, Mich.-based skin and hair rejuvenation specialist Dr. Sandra Brown. "That’s true for anyone."

 Age, weight and overall, general health are factors in potential complications that could "run the gamut" after patients undergo tummy tucks, breast enhancement and similar surgeries, adds Brown.

 The majority of Brown's patients are Black women, but rather than offering quick physical fixes that require cutting and anesthesia, Brown promotes holistic remedies that emphasize health from the inside out.

 "We want instant-gratification, so there’s a demand that our society puts on instant relief," she says. But Brown is one of a slowly increasing group of doctors who stress nutrition and natural prescriptions as the best beauty techniques. Avoiding toxins, for example, is a way to create youthful skin that Brown explains on her Web site Drsandrabrown.com.

 Once upon a time, we blamed the extremes that some Black women pursued on a European standard of beauty that excluded Nia Long, Tyra Banks or Gabrielle Union from ever becoming the stars that they are today. But long gone are the days when a weave or blue contacts were the center of such debates. Today, our women, especially our daughters, need the cosmetology of self-esteem and better lifestyles to prevent them from chasing the surgeon’s knife. The benefits are lasting and the prescription doesn’t require a single trip to the pharmacy.


Written by Eddie B. Allen, Jr.


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