Lil’ Kim – Colorism and Self-Love

I was only a teen. A fellow teenage boy from the neighborhood stated. “There is no such thing as an ugly light skinned girl.” Another guy stated, “You’re the darkest girl I would ever date.”

I am not denying it. I get it. Colorism is a real phenomenon. I will acknowledge that as we get older and learn about the history of colorism and its genesis in white supremacy and slavery,we are less inclined to believe it and participate in it.

Well, some of us.

I see all of these sistas proudly rocking their natural hair. I see the fabulousness that is Viola Davis, Lupita Nyong’o and Kerry Washington gracing magazine covers.  I start to think that all of us – dark, yellow, brown and light – are finding that we truly are beautiful, magical. And then, this happens:


“All my life men have told me I wasn’t pretty enough—even the men I was dating… It’s always been men putting me down just like my dad. To this day when someone says I’m cute, I can’t see it. I don’t see it no matter what anybody says.” Source: Newsweek 

Is the key teaching our men to love black women? Some men herald black women – their daughters, sisters and mothers – but reserve harsh critique for women not related to them. It is to simplistic to blame black men. I mean, did not they grow up in the same society as black women. Were they not exposed to the same images, stories and experiences?

Our approach should be multilateral. Educate our daughters on the awesomeness of who they are. Educate our sons to love themselves and the women who look like them, too. We also need to enlighten our elders who can perpetuate those biases they have been indoctrinated by so easily with a derisive comment about a grandchild’s hair texture or warning them not to play in the sun.

We do this on every occasion. Repeatedly, until the new normal is truly our black is beautiful.

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