Published on January 27, 2023.
By: Sydnee Walcott
A life filled with luxury is a lifestyle that most people dream of living, and because of all of the positive connotations that comes with it, it is very easy to ignore the immorality of extreme wealth, and instead indulge in the beauty, leisure, and celebrity of the finer side of life.
In the Western world, the image of affluence was portrayed by white people for decades, and only recently is this beginning to change. The 2000s began with Robert L. Johnson and Oprah Winfrey as the only Black billionaires to now be 15 out of the 2755 billionaires who are black in 2021. Through social media, people are beginning to see more Black people, especially Black women, in a positive light as they show off luxurious lifestyles.
A luxurious lifestyle looks like someone enjoying the highest of what life has to offer through the accumulation of products and services: high end apparel, jewellery, private jets, five-star dining, luxury housing, and having access to investment opportunities.
Although all kinds of people have accumulated wealth through various ethnically honest or dishonest ways, the performance of luxury has become almost as important as monetary wealth.
Lately, there has been a rise in Black women living luxurious lifestyles which has perpetuated unnecessary controversy.
The recent “Black Women in Luxury” trope has made its way to the forefront of showcasing Black women in a positive light and has received praise from many Black women. This positive publicity separates them from the negative stereotypes that have been assigned to them for decades.
Social media apps like TikTok, Youtube, and Instagram have played a significant role in the rise of the “luxury aesthetic” with videos and pictures of Black women enjoying lifestyles that require a lot of money to maintain.
These images and videos of Black women include themselves travelling to luxurious destinations around the world in first class or on private jets, enjoying meals at expensive restaurants, such as steakhouses and seafood places, driving high-end cars, like Lamborghinis, and treating themselves to luxury clothing and accessories from brands such as Chanel and Louis Vuitton.
While many support the representation of Black women enjoying a life of luxury with the money that they earned, some have looked down upon this narrative. There is a normalization of the “struggle love” narrative, where Black women are expected to live in poverty with having numerous kids and little support from her partner, or the “sugar baby” Black women, who are attractive young women who date wealthy men for gifts or an allowance.
Both of these images are typically viewed as “trashy” or “low-class,” and yet mainstream media support these images of Black women the most.
Traditionally, households of colour hold the lowest levels of income, only having about 15 to 20 percent of the total net worth income that the average white household has.
The lower incomes for households with people of colour is the negative aftermath of the exclusionary laws that were put into effect during the 1870s when people of colour were prevented from having any financial and career growth.
This has led to Black people thinking Black women were not deserving of luxurious items or lifestyles.
People from within the Black community have also turned on Black women who live luxurious lifestyles. They are labelled as materialistic and shamed for using their earnings to elevate their lifestyles to a comfortable place and indulge in high-end items and experiences.
For a while, Black women have struggled to escape the outdated stereotypes, such as the “angry black woman,” the “welfare queen,” the “jezebel” and the “hoodrat.” These stereotypes have been created to target Black women in mainstream media, while labelling them as second-class citizens. Black women feel that they should categorize themselves into the negative stereotypes that have been placed upon them.
Outsiders need to recognize that being Black does not mean this minority struggles to survive in life.
Seeing Black women break away from negative stereotypes and portray themselves in a positive outlook is something that should be celebrated and not stigmatized.
For a long time, it was rare to see images and videos of Black women enjoying a lavish lifestyle. With the popularity of Black women being portrayed as having a luxury lifestyle, it gives Black women hope that they can achieve a luxury lifestyle through hard work, which can enable erasing negative stereotypes towards Black women.
Regardless of a person’s race, everyone deserves to achieve an affluent lifestyle that they can share.