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Nubian Skin: A Nude Lingerie Line for Women Of Color

Nubian Skin, a UK undergarment brand geared towards women of color, will launch its first collection of dark hued nude lingerie this fall.

All images courtesy of Nubian Skin's Instagram


For decades, the fashion and beauty industries have been notorious for catering exclusively to a white customer base by using nude as a catch-all descriptor in their product line-ups. From make-up to accessories and clothing, nude has been the default word used to describe a color scheme that more often than not rotates between cream, beige and tan-- pale hues that are more suited towards white skin. Privileging whiteness is profitable and by no means does it end at the use of nude. Most recently, skincare giant Dove came under fire for their poor choice of labeling on a self-tanner meant for "normal to dark skin." Such coded language paints darker skin as the abnormality in opposition to white or "normal" skin and contributes to the ubiquity of whiteness as the desirable beauty standard.

Enter Nubian Skin, an emerging undergarment brand based in the UK that has taken on the task of providing light to dark brown-skinned women of color with realistic nude options that reflect the diversity of shades along the skin tone spectrum. Nubian Skin's debut collection will feature bras, panties, lingerie and hosiery in darker nude hues for sizes 30 B through 36 DD/E, though they promise to offer more plus-sized offerings as their venture expands. All items will be available in four shades suitable for brown-skinned women. Berry and Cinnamon are the two shades that have been previewed thus far, with Berry being the darkest and Cinnamon described as a medium-dark hue. Each Nubian Skin shade will also come with a foundation guideline across a wide range of products to help customers figure out what works best for their skin tone.

A blog post from the company's founders succinctly articulates the need for a more realistic definition of the word "nude" as it pertains to women of color:

A nude bra, skin-tone hosiery – basics of every woman’s wardrobe. In theory…It’s the grand debate, what do I wear under a white or sheer blouse? What colour hosiery will go with these amazing shoes? Black just isn’t going to work. The simple answer is nude. But my nude isn’t the nude I see in shops. Despite the reality that women of colour have the same needs as all women when it comes to lingerie and hosiery (and spend the same of their hard-earned money), the industry simply doesn’t cater to us. So, I thought, it’s time to rethink the definition of nude. Thus, Nubian Skin was born.

It’s an uphill battle, but every revolution starts somewhere. Looking at the makeup industry, it took Eunice W. Johnson to create Fashion Fair Cosmetics in 1973 for black women to really have an adequate choice in finding makeup colours to suit them. In the 1990s and 2000s, mainstream brands began to realise the value of providing to women of colour, and despite the billions we spend on make up each year, there are still brands that have chosen not to provide an offering for us.

So for you beautiful black and brown women, next time you need a nude pair of hold-ups or maybe a nude strapless bra to go under than stunning white halter dress, we’re only a few clicks away. Nubian Skin. A Different Kind of Nude.

Come October, all items will be available for purchase on the Nubian Skin site with the option for worldwide shipping. Take a first look at what to expect from the line in the gallery above. For more information visit the official Nubian Skin blog, and keep up with the company on Instagram and Twitter.

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Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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