Dark hues and natural hair wax dim in comparison to red undertones, yellow pigmentation, and Peruvian bundles of joy. This is the misconception taught to little chocolate queens that gives them the royal blues. Primary colors. Black and coco brown shades treated as though they are secondary to them, catching all the shade for being sunkissed. Frequently compared to the dirty tar paved roads rather than the beautiful night sky bedazzled by countless stars. Primary colors. The pride and joy of the black community given high praise for their high yellow birthday suit and red bottoms as super melinated sugar mamas are deemed the second rate citizens.
Constantly reminded of who was working the fields and who was in the house, face pressed against a brown paper bag to be evaluated for acceptance, only given a second look if built like Buffy the Body, etc. I was rejected on the wedding day, but the star of racy fantasies on the honeymoon. I was told that I could not meet the family because of my complexion and course hair. Those dark days are behind the darker-complected divas as long as we ignore the negative and embrace our beauty.
Red bone and high yellow are terms used to define black people, usually women of lighter skin and of a mixed race. There is a term that is more important and less discussed in the black community. There is a term for the aforementioned form of discrimination and rejection: “colorism”. Colorism can be defined as prejudice against people/person of a dark complexion, usually among those within the same ethnic or racial group. There are many stories of bullying, prejudice, and hate-crimes. The trajedy in these testimonies is that it is done by those who look just like you.
There are women who have survived and conquered the sterotypes that hang over dark skin women of all shapes and sizes. We honor those who have paved the way for dark skinned women in the fashion and film industry such as Grace Jones, Lupita Nyonga, and Alek Wek, but there is an up and coming star who has been named the “Queen of Dark” who I absolutely adore and must add to the list. 26 year old Nyakim Gatwech is a stunning Sudanese model who took IG by storm with her dark skin and bold captions to follow! Two years ago her Uber driver told her in a disgusting tone to bleach her skin. The “Queen” responded to his nonsense with a laugh and became all the rage on social media soon after.
In this day and age with slogans and shirts that read “melanin magic”, “melanin poppin”, “black lives matter”, and the classic “black is beautiful”, one would believe that colorism would be nonexistent in the black community, but that is not the case. However, we have progressed greatly even though this is an ongoing struggle. There is one thing that I have learned and it is that there is no white knight coming. We ebony elite must eliminate this sour state of mind rising above the hate with self-love. We need to unite together, uplift each other, and understand that the change that we want to see begins within us. We cannot keep waiting for the love and acceptance of the world when we cannot stand to even face the mirror. When it comes to our place in society we’ve got the “juice”! And you know what they say, “the blacker the berry…”
“Let’s show the world how beautiful and intelligent we are apart from just being dark skinned”-Nyakim Gatwech