Recently watching the show, P-Valley there was an episode dedicated to how the character Keyshawn (Miss Mississippi) grew up dealing with colorism. She is a very beautiful woman, after it aired a lot of the internet response was it’s unrealistic because she is so gorgeous. She countered it was true to life for her. She shared an experienced of a dark skinned Black Man telling her she is not as beautiful as a light skin Black Woman and how that comment made her feel. She said he was not the last person to say this. The show is about strippers in case you have never watched it. I wasn’t expecting that sort of depth from the show. It really resonated with me. It made me reflect on my childhood and how being a dark-skinned little Black girl affected me. Over time I learned to tune out the world’s opinion on the value of my dark skin. Whenever the opportunity presents itself, I uplift a dark skin woman or girl. Not only women but also my son. When I watch panels or hear women on tv discuss it, it’s very real. Yet it’s not something I ever hear people discussin real life.
I grew up in a household like a lot of black people, where your one family consist of different shades of Black. I have never not liked my skin complexion but growing up I have felt like the world didn’t love my dark skin. My mother was dark, two of my sisters are lighter-brown and light, and I have another sister that was dark. Even though my mother was dark my earliest feelings associated with being dark from her was bad. I equated being darks as- bad, aggressive, and an attitude. As a child I was absolutely the opposite of those things. I was very timid and only spoke to people I was comfortable with. I was a cry baby; I was very affectionate. My mother was a no-nonsense woman period, but I honestly felt she was not as soft with the two of us that were dark. My sisters may read this and say what the hell lol and disagree but that was my experience. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t as if my mother was giving us hotdogs and feeding them shrimp. Maybe she was preparing us to live in a world she thought we needed preparation for. I do think it had an adverse effect on my sisters that were not dark as well. The impression I got looking at their relationship from the outside (each of us it was different) they were not expected to challenge my mother, even as adults. As a young adult I had no problem disagreeing withmy mother or telling her I didn’t like something. If my lighter sisters did that (even as adults) she would treat them harsher then she would me. From my perspective, because that’s what this all from; they were not given the same freedom to express themselves. There is no doubt my mother loved us all equally, but I did not grow up in a house where beauty was discussed, or positive affirmations were thrown at you- lighter or dark skinned. Due to our ages my sisters and I really grew up and did things in pairs. My sister that I was with the most is lighter than me and I always felt everyone preferred her over me. At a young age we spent a lot of time at church, and it always felt like I was not seen even though I was always there. People would walk up to me and ask me about her without even acknowledging me. My sister never treated me that way. Neither of them did, they always treated me as if I was worthy and special. The way they treated me shows in my never dying admiration of them. At a very young age I learned how to uplift and build myself.
Loving The Skin I’m In
Mainstream society’s narrative thru the media is- the closer to white is right! As a result, many people of color feel this way. I grew up in a predominately white school. To them if you were Black, you were Black your complexion didn’t matter. Most of my issues with colorism has come from Black people. The history of the in-house slave versus the field slave is the root cause of this thinking. When I was younger, I remember boys liking me and having the typical crushes. But it felt like the lighter you were the more popular you were with boys. And when someone deemed me cute or worthy of admiration it was ‘” You are pretty to be dark,” which we all know is a back handed compliment. I was dark, skinny, Jackson 5 nose like Bey would say LOL. I had various insecurities, the other things contributing to my lack of self-confidence is for another day. As far as being dark, it caused me to never date or like anyone as dark as me. I was afraid to wear bright colors. I would never wear any color on my lips. I would try to stay out the sun. I carried on like this for years. Then one day either my senior year or soon after I graduated, I woke up and said “F-This!” this shh is exhausting. That was the beginning of me rebelling against what society was feeding and the beginning of my self-love journey. I began to date dark skin men (the blacker the berry the..well you know the rest) and never looked back. Recently as I flipped thru pictures where I am the only dark skin friend or only dark skin sister/aunt I see myself cheesing and confident. I realize how I insecure and unfavored my brown skin used to make me. The little girl or even high schooler would have never been confident enough to be with a group of all lighter women whether it be my friends or family. Now, I love being the “Dark One” the “Chocolate one.” I go to the beach and lay out all day with no fear of being too dark.
Blacker The Berry
I once dated, well not dated because this man never took me out on a date lol, that assumed my father was a dark man. My preference as a grown woman has been dark skinned men and somehow it has become obvious. My father is not a dark man he’s actually lighter than me. My love for dark men is really a reflection of the love I have for myself. Once I had enough nerve to love myself without apology I honestly began to deal/date only dark men. A total 360 from what I was attracted to as a child. I have told my son from the day he was born he was my dream. I always wanted a chocolate baby. I constantly tell him how beautiful his dark skin is. When he complains about getting darker because of the sun I tell him his skin is perfect. Even though I have consciously spoken positively about his complexion I realize he will still go on his own self-journey. I reassure him that he will see once he gets older it will never be anything to worry about. Dark men are more desired than dark women. I will dive deeper into that at a later time!
My shared experiences are from my perspective. Not every dark-skinned woman’s reality is mines. Furthermore, this doesn’t discount any struggles that women with lighter skin have encountered. Although it’s obvious people some how turn it into a competition of who has had it worse. I am simply just telling my story. Let me know in the comments what are some of your experiences with colorism. As always thanks for stopping by. What did Beyonce’ say?
“Brown skin girl ya skin just like pearls. The best thing inna di world. I’d never trade you for anybody else!”
Wishing you no pain unless its champagne!