No shade, but black women are the most diverse group of women on this planet. It’s true. We are the only group of women who come in a wide variety of shades and we have a wide variety of hair textures. But the one thing that bothers me is the misrepresentation of the different shades of black women and the unfortunate favoritism of certain shades. Not to mention the treatment of different shades.
I am not a Beyoncé fan (Beyhive do not come for me unless I send for you), but I have a great respect for her latest video, Apesh*t. It is an extremely inclusive video, with black women of shades across the entire spectrum. That made me feel amazing that she did that. In today’s time, women of my skin tone or darker are underrepresented in music videos and all other aspects of media (commercials, billboards, ads, etc.).
Beyoncé is all about the empowerment of black women, just look at her Formation music video. Her live performances always have only black women doing background and the instrumentals. There aren’t too many women with large platforms and popularity as her, advocating for black women in their entirety.
Black women from lightest to darkest have many adversities against them. Light skinned women are always asked if they’re mixed because they’re too light to just be black. They have to have something else in them. They are also seen as stuck up, yet the most sought after from dark skinned black men. Then you have the women of my color who also aren’t seen as just black. Speaking from personal experience, I am always asked where I am from. Many people think that I am from the islands because of my hair texture and my complexion. I’ve been told I’m too pretty to just be black, and believe it or not, that is an insult to my heritage. I am just black. Period.
I’ve also been told that I must be mixed. Well I’ve never seen a biracial black woman as dark as I am. I’m never seen as just a black woman in America. Also, because I speak proper English (thanks to those years spent living in England), I have been bullied and astrocized by black men but more so black women, speaking as if I’m better than them, that’s what they tell me. Not all black women are loud, uneducated, petty, mad, and belligerent.
Then you have those who are in the range in between light and dark who are often left in the abyss. Nobody really talks about them. Most other ethnicities don’t know but there is a rift amongst black women due to the varying shades. The lighter skinned sisters tend to feel like they’re better than the darker skinned and also look down on us. I’m not saying all, but most, and I think they feel like the have a sense of entitlement because society sees them as more favorable.
I am the type of person who looks deeper into everything I see, especially commercials. Rarely will you ever see a darker skinned woman. They are always of light complexion or biracial. Women of my skin tone aren’t seen as pretty.
I also want to take note of Black Panther. A YouTuber that I watch brought up a good point. She said a friend of hers felt slighted because the representation in Black Panther was limited to women of my color and darker. I hadn’t actually paid attention to that during the numerous times that I’ve seen it. After watching the video, I went back and watched it again and realized that she was right. The thing is, in much of Africa, where Wakanda is, there aren’t really any lighter skinned women. Africa is mainly of people my color and darker.
So, with Black Panther not having any lighter skinned women, it was a true representation, not to mention, all the women in the movie aside from Lupita, Sury, and T’Challa’s mother, were bald. This movie really was for our culture despite the representation, or underrepresentation.
A lot of this rift, again, goes back to slavery. Lighter skinned women were favored mainly because they were a product of a slave woman being raped by a slave master, or a white woman manipulating a black slave male into sleeping with her. These children ended up being house negroes. Granted there treatment was still bad but not considerably as bad as field negroes (I don’t use the other “n” word). We are all still experiencing PTSD (post traumatic slave disorder).
I hope that one day, collectively, we can put colorism aside. We are all black and descendants of Africans and African slaves.