This article explores the ways in which patina is deployed in gendered celebrity culture, specifically through forms of visual communication in relation to luxury. The article is framed by literature on race and gender from apartheid to postapartheid, and texture in visual communication in relation to luxury in Africa. The author uses three magazine covers featuring beloved Black South African women celebrities to illustrate three aesthetics of Black feminine success: glitter, shine, and glow. Visually, the three patinas are linked and on the surface might seem indistinguishable, but a difference in positioning and ethic comes through in the discourse animated by each. Glitter is linked to the classic narratives of sexy fame, in which the woman featured is portrayed as the heteronormatively desirable archetype of fun and glamour. Shine is linked to a politicized ethic of visibility, the work of spotlighting presence, legitimacy, and excellence as a role model for a broader feminine community. Glow is linked to a narrative of feminine enlightenment and inner peace, in which beauty comes from within and radiates outward from the skin, and feminine aesthetic labor is harnessed to the project of transcending gross materialism while simultaneously using material cues to communicate that joyful transcendence.

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