Yara Shahidi has accomplished so much in her 18 years of life. As an actress, activist, philanthropist and advocate for the rights of women, immigrants and people of color, Shahidi embodies the difference she wants to see in the world. She uses her platform and her shows to discuss real issues and offers real solutions. Because of her work on Grown-ish and Black-ish, she is a constant fixture on the red carpet. During the 2018 Emmy Awards, Shahidi wore a pink Gucci gown, her hair up in a bun and soft makeup with a light, dewy eyeshadow that highlighted her perfectly shaped eyebrows. Both Shahidi and her makeup artist, Emily Cheng, decided to accentuate her brows by letting them grow in to the center.
My initial reaction to her photo was the same as always. This young lady is breathtakingly beautiful. Did I notice the unibrow? Yes. Did it take away from her beauty? Absolutely not. Still, as I scrolled through the comments on the Shaderoom’s post, I was appalled by what people were saying about her.
Comments like,”That unibrow didn’t need to attend the Emmys with her. She pretty tho,” or, “Whew child… the unibrow,” were sprinkled under the post. One user said, “I wax brows sis and tint them sis hmu,” while others chimed in with, “Love this pic but not a fan of the unibrows,” and “I just wanna get them eyebrows together. That’s all.”
Don’t get me wrong, there were people who loved the brows, but the amount of people who felt the need to express their disdain in her look was shocking.
The standard that celebrities are held to are very high and sometimes unattainable. The pressure that is created to keep the public satisfied with their physical appearance is completely draining, I can imagine. Here you have this 18 year old scholar who’s reference letter for college was written by our forever First Lady, Michelle Obama. She has two hit sitcoms, and does a lot of work around educating her peers on the importance of voting. As she relived her experience of the Emmy’s on social media, she was reduced to comments about her unibrow.
Shahidi comes from a pretty solid household. Her parents are heavily invested in her career and it seems that the family is very supportive of each other. This is necessary to have when you live in an age where criticism in one scroll or click away. Reinforcements from the people who know and love you the most, can help you ignore ignorant comments. Not everyone has that kind of foundation. At some point, it becomes our responsibility to respond differently to what we perceive as a flaw. We spend a lot of time and energy learning to love the things about us that make us different, so why spend time pointing them out on other people?
Shahidi wasn’t phased by the negative comments. What others see as a flaw, she embraces with joy and confidence. What would the world look like if we put our flaws on display to be loved and understood instead of mocked and criticized?