You might have seen the photo with a group of successful people sharing a good laugh. It included Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Puff Daddy, etc. The fascinating thing about being a content creator is that you see potential and ideas everywhere. As simple as the photo is, it has created a whole discussion on success and colorism.
It started with a twitter thread about that photo and an essay about Lil’ Kim by Myles E. Johnson, where the sentiment behind love being controlled by color continued. Do all successful black men only date and marry light skin women? Is this still an issue or a misguided assumption? I think it is both. To some, this is a conscious decision to reach their goal to rub shoulders in certain circles. A product of toxic conditioning. For others, they honestly found love in someone who does not look like them. I cannot say which is the majority, but I do think we need to be cautious of who we look up to.
As much as we can blame mainstream media and an oppressive society, we cannot deny how we contribute to this. Ashley Coleman shared a great post on her experience about this on her blog Write Laugh Dream. Team light skin versus team dark skin is holding us back. It is a distraction to shift the focus away from how much we need to support and respect each other.
Believe it or not, as a child I had a consistent deeper complexion. Throughout grade school, if the lighting was odd, or if I was placed in the back of the group photo (which happened too many times), all one could see were my teeth and the glare from my glasses. Outside of home, I was not the ideal beauty. Now, even though I tan easily, I do not get to spend as much time with the sun as I would like to. Depending on the season and location, I probably go through 52 shades of brown every year. It is kind of funny because, regardless of the season, I do not view myself as light skin, nor do I assume others see me as such.
Maybe it is because of my childhood experiences or over-observant nature, but I notice the difference in confidence between team light skin and team dark skin. Insecurity and self-doubt haunt all of us. There is no need to build more barriers between us. Of all the things colorism affects, I think the biggest issue is the feeling of being unworthy of love. That is what causes us to settle for mediocrity, suffocate healing, and shut out love. It is not easy to let go of, but you must believe you are worthy. No one can fill that void for you. Do not let others ignorance block the love you deserve.
Have you been affected by colorism? Let me know how you deal with it in the comments below.
Wearing: Marshall’s shirt; New York & Company jeans; DSW shoes