You're Cute...for a Dark Skinned Girl

By A Comeaux

Oh the great dark v light debate. Ever had a feat in front of you and didn’t know where to begin? I’m here. Dangling on the precipice of self-love as a sun kissed brown chick and the ever present realization that I seldom if possible see a positive reflection of myself in mainstream media.

This isn’t a pseudo-rant, simple observation, but became a highlight recently.

Over the weekend, OWN TV aired a special that delved into the stereotypes and depictions of the skin debate within the African-American community.

A mouthful to say the least but there is certainly plenty to be said, my tidbit is simply: more oft than not, a poor kid doesn’t know he’s poor until someone points out his deficit.

Case in point, I strongly feel the media has, for decades, favored the fairer skin over the darker. Sadly, this has projected a microcosm of racism within our own community! Blasphemous at best. What really itches my ass is the pearls clutched when this is spoken of openly.

As if there is a non-verbal submission that is and will be the end all for debate: light-bright is right. Period.

NO! And I’m not saying this because I’m not light-bright, I’m saying this because it appears that the very equality we fight for in terms of black and white politics, we impart the same divisive culture within our culture!

Stop it. It’s wildly unfair for a dark-skinned woman to have to be imperviously beautiful for mainstream media to even consider her cute and that is projecting this notion on our young girls who now think they’re less than if they are not ‘that shade of beauty.’

Which unfortunately leads me to my next observation: I think our beloved India.Arie lied.

When her single cover art initially surfaced, she was undoubtedly lighter than EVER in every angle of each shot. The first and most believable accusation was that she bleached her skin. A popular go-to for celebs these days, but I think it sufficient to say, we didn’t want our “I am not my hair” songstress to cave to the demands of mainstream.

She says she wanted to appear “luminous” as if that illustrious word doesn’t come in her shade. Lies. In my most liberal of all souls I feel she broke down, and may not have bleached her skin physically, but certainly allowed the photo-shop gods to have their way with her pigmentation for marketing. Regretfully, I understand. I empathize. And I’m sorry.

We buy products and support brands that do not mimic our mothers nor appeal to us as we are but the beauty they tell us we’re supposed to be. Campaigns are just now in small droves catering to our needs and images. A day late and a dollar short. I think black women are beautiful in the plethora of shades that we appear, and that’s our jewel.

We need to remind each other of our beauty in real life, daily, and never cave to what ‘they’ say is a better hue. Am I trippin’…? Tweet me. No luminous filters, please.

 A Comeaux is the writer, speaker and actor who poetically paints pictures of life and love with a paradoxical perspective.

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