The Dark Skin Trend #ohyoulikemenow
In a different setting I had an experience where I had to bite my tongue and try to remain the respectful young lady I was raised to be. We were all taking pictures and having a great time laughing it up. In the background I distinctly heard, "No I need to use a filter, I look African." In normal circumstances I'd be angry and retaliate by telling that person how I really feel about those ignorant remarks and take it all the way back to our history as Afrikans and stand tall and proud and talk about all the liberation struggles and majesty of our kings and chiefs and women we had and have at home. In this instance, I wasn't angry; I was hurt. In my mind I asked myself how long she had thought of me that way. As the dark Afrikan she never wants to look like. Did she forget that I was standing right there? My whole family is Afrikan. Does she view me as inferior? I was hurt because I love her. I was hurt because I loved her. I was hurt because I love her. How can such a strong woman with a huge personality have such a small mind.
People still have this mentality that dark=ugly. There are people avoiding the sun for crying out loud. That's ignorant af! Dark skin is one of the least afflicted skin's out there. Don't get me started. Too late, I already did!
It's trendy now to be dark. But only on social media. In the real world, faces are concealed and highlighted beyond recognition! W-w-what are you doing? (in my fifth element Chris Tucker voice). I then started to say to myself, as I usually do "I miss my home. I don't have to deal with this shit in Zim." But that's a lie. The truth is I never had to deal with it in our household because my parents have always sung the black beauty song to us since birth; but skin discrimination exists in Zimbabwe and everywhere else in this world. I do remember though, being young maybe around 11 and watching the olympics with my cousins and laughing at how blue-black the long distance runners were. Where did we get this from. We spent most of our time at home and such hate speech was never acceptable or expressed, so where did it come from? We played outside with friends but I just don't remember where we as children, got conditioned to think dark hues in the skin are comical or undesirable. As I grew older I remember hearing my friends wish for light skin babies because a dark baby would just be ugly and scary. The older I got, the more woke I became I guess. It just goes to show that society does play a role in moulding our minds. Negative stereotypes and concepts still found a way to seep through the walls of love our parents raised us in.
I remember my dad always pointing out women who had bleached skin and how disfigured their skin had become and he would stress to us how foolish it is to want to change who you are and how you look in order to look like another person. God made us black and beautiful just like he made them white and beautiful. I actually remember him saying things like, "I have the most beautiful girls. My bevy of beauties. Your skin is so smooth and gorgeous. There isn't a flaw on amai's (mom's) face." In my little mind at that time I would just think he's my dad, he has to say those things. I thought to myself oh he just doesn't want us to start wearing makeup because boys will like us more. My juvenile mind was so teenage-like, everything was about dad trying to stop me from being great in these dating circles lol. Little did I know it was deeper than that.
I thank God for my parents. They knew they had smart brown girls, beautiful brown girls who were living in this brown-hating world. My father instilled in us the self confidence that we needed once we left his shelter/protection. My mother knew that we would be going into a world of #skinbleaching #policebrutality #bodyshaming and all those external forces could weigh down on us, so, she did her best to reinforce our esteems with so much boost so that it would take more than a person referencing looking african as ugly to break us. I look at my boys, my smart, active, able-bodied, curious brown boys and I pray I do well at preparing them for the times they leave my shelter/protection.
Apart from the fact that human life began in africa, some of the world's essential natural resources that keep this world running are mostly found in africa, the moor empires and all the archeological findings that are bringing more knowledge about the existence before us and in a nutshell all this melanin awesomeness we have going on in africa, we all are human are we not. We all have history no matter where we are from right? We all bleed red and have pumping hearts do we not? It's time to stop the ignorance. It's time to desire your own before you desire another. We are quick to judge each other and put each other down. Quick to support a white owned business because to you "black businesses just have bad customer service". Girl bye!
We do not love ourselves enough. That needs to stop.