The daguerreotype shows a 7-year old girl. Her face is pale, her expression somber. Her elegant plaid dress, trimmed in lace, and the notebook on the cloth-covered table behind her, suggest that she comes from a prosperous family.
Star of The Greatest Showman and notable cultural spokesperson, Zendaya, has put forth an incredible invective against colourism in the movie business. The actress, who is only 21 years-old, took the opportunity to discuss with Bozoma Saint John how Hollywood in particular often does not successfully represent black women with darker skin-tones. We're vastly too beautiful and too interesting for me to be the only representation of that.
She expressed that one of the things she struggled with as a light-skinned black woman growing up in the South was not being able to have positive interactions or friendships with dark-skinned black women because of the plague of colorism. I was moved by her testimony and inspired to write about my experience as a dark-skinned black woman who once grappled with the issue and its negative impact on my relationship with someone I once called "best friend" during my teenage years. This is my story.
As Kanye West reminded us a few days ago, colorism is alive and well. Race matters, even within communities of color. While West has since tried to walk back his tweet, this most recent controversy has reignited debates about skin tone, blackness and bias in communities of color. For those of us whose skin color is closer to a double shot cappuccino or darker, the latest indignity from Kanye West — himself a dark-skinned black man — is a painful reminder of the continuing degradation directed at dark-skinned black women and the rejection of black beauty.
At the same time, even more of us remain distressed by the continued, narrowly representational casting of relatively thin, light-skinned Black women in the B lack-ish universe. This is not the first time Black women, the clear target audience of Grown-ishhave expressed sincere concerns about the visibility, or lack thereof, of dark-skinned Black women on these shows. Legitimately asking, no shade intended.
The album also comes with the most regal visuals to celebrate beauty, culture, and of course, Black-girl magic. The song sparked such a grand response for its empowering lyrics that it birthed its own hashtag BrownSkinGirlChallenge. For many, the song was a no-brainer, direct message to a specific type of woman, with darker, deeper brown skin.
The first time I saw Cecilia, she was the only other black girl in our small group during freshman orientation. We were sitting in a circle while the junior leading our group was answering questions anyone had, and then we each had to say our name and where we were from. I could forgive her for this, as I was crowned an Oreo in high school because I liked spending my free period with my hands in clay in the ceramics classroom and I liked listening to the kind of music played in coffee shops in the city.
The album also comes with the most regal visuals to celebrate beauty, culture, and of course, Black-girl magic. The song sparked such a grand response for its empowering lyrics that it birthed its own hashtag BrownSkinGirlChallenge. For many, the song was a no-brainer, direct message to a specific type of woman, with darker, deeper brown skin. For others, who joined the challenge by posting their photos, it seems they skipped over the specific cues in the lyrics and only listened to the hook to celebrate themselves.
She had a perfect hourglass figure, large clear eyes, a tiny waist, long slim hands, a killer sense of dress and smooth dark skin. The only trait I shared with her was her skin color. My mother always spoke of this with pride.