Winona Dimeo-Ediger
June 22, 2016 8:57 am

There was quite a stir last month when Blake Lively posted a photo of herself in a curve-hugging gown on Instagram with the caption, “L.A. face with an Oakland booty.” The quote is a line from Sir Mix-a-Lot’s hit song, “Baby Got Back,” which is often seen as an appreciation of black women’s bodies. While Sir Mix-a-Lot himself said he didn’t mind Blake’s use of the lyric, many people felt the reference was inappropriate, especially coming from a white, blonde actress.

In an interview with hip hop radio station Shade 45, Blake has addressed the controversy, explaining, “I was celebrating my body. It’s nice to have a nice curve and not look like you’re starving to death. It’s something I was proud of. I never meant to offend anyone.

She went on to say that she appreciated Sir Mix-a-Lot’s support, and felt like he understood her intentions: “Sir Mix-A-Lot, he actually said a very nice thing. He was very defensive and kind, because it’s just about celebrating women’s bodies, and that’s what I was doing.”

We respect what Blake is saying, although we would love to see her acknowledge the deeper reasons people were upset by her comments. Intentions matter, but anytime we cause hurt with our words, even accidentally, acknowledging it can be a powerful statement in itself. Whether or not you agree with Blake (and Sir Mix-A-Lot), the reaction over her caption also created an opportunity to talk about beauty standards in our culture: let’s talk about why people were upset about it, and how we can better understand each other moving forward.

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