This documentary preview has been making rounds online. It’s about various women’s struggles with being dark skin. In case you haven’t seen it, watch:
I am a dark skinned woman. I am not a victim. I am not unfortunate. I am not pretty for a dark skinned girl. I am not ugly because I am dark. I am brown and beautiful. I was made by my creator with love, and in the spirit of diversity. I pray for people who self-hate and I pray for those who are ignorant and inane enough to believe that complexion determines what is attractive.
I cringed when I watched the trailer for Dark Girls because of the self-loathing and the pain that these women are still dealing with as a result of lingering post-colonial psychology. No one should hate them selves that much, especially because of someone else. Itâ€™s not just in the Black community that we deal with this type of self-hate, brown people all over the world struggle with this problemâŽ¯this ridiculous White worship that negates our creatorâ€™s plans. Even if you donâ€™t believe in any type of God, the fact that every inhabitant of this Earth looks different should attest to the verity that this was part of the plan. There isnâ€™t one standard of beauty. Logically, that concept should be simple but itâ€™s not so uncomplicated because people insist on being stubbornly blind to the fact. Mankind has such a strong desire to label everything because of our personal insecurities, that even if we were all the same complexion and had the same type of hair weâ€™d then most likely be divided by height, size, eye color and so on.
Dark Girls is culturally relevant to everyone because African people throughout the Diaspora (including Latinos), and Asians too, need to have these uncomfortable conversations and face the ugly truth so that we can hopefully correct the problem. However, Iâ€™m also tired of this rhetoric because weâ€™ve been dealing with this issue for centuries but with no real progress. Soâ€¦
I want whoever reads this (if anyone) to know that not all â€œdark girlsâ€ hate themselves and that some of us are tired of being the victim of your perceived ugliness, stupidity and low self-esteem. But for those who are still victim to this repugnant train of thought: Like the documentaryâ€™s narrator said, it is time that we rise up and be confident because self-love is contagious.
Growing up, I didnâ€™t deal with a color complex in my household because I was fortunate enough to come from a smart family of various brown hues (like most Black people do) who celebrated the beauty and diversity of our motley sun-kissed skin (ranging from vanilla to midnight).
However, in school I dealt with children who werenâ€™t so fortunate. Iâ€™ve been called monkey (by Latinos mainly, which is another blog), told that I was pretty for a dark skin girl, that Iâ€™d be pretty if I were lighter, not chosen by the boy I liked because I wasnâ€™t light but it still wasnâ€™t enough to break my self-esteem because I learned from childhood that hurt people hurt peopleâŽ¯that the same people who insulted my skin color didnâ€™t even like their own. Conversely, for every person who said my skin made me unattractive, there were three more who said that it was what made me beautiful. There were also beautiful dark skinned women around me who showed me how to be confident because they lead by example and held their heads high or at least engaged in behavior that could change the world, one brown girl at a time, whether they knew it or not.
I had beautiful, talented dark skinned dance teachers who taught me about Katherine Dunham and Judith Jameson, how to tap dance and about the significance of the West African dances I did. I had dark skinned schoolteachers with locs and *TWAs who taught African American history and power to the people. I had my dark skinned top private school, Ivy League-educated, three romance language speaking sister who is one of the smartest women I know, my beautiful almond-hued mother, a well-read woman who is also one of the smartest women that I know, and then there was my reflection in the mirrorâŽ¯she wasnâ€™t everyoneâ€™s cup of tea but perfect for me. Not only do I love my milk chocolate skin, my high cheekbones, my sharp nose and my almond-shaped eyes but I also like that I am smart, compassionate, multi-talented, humble, not shallow and impervious to other peopleâ€™s idiocy. Therefore, if you are trifling enough to believe that complexion determines beauty then you donâ€™t deserve consideration enough from me to be hurt by your negativity. I refuse to give you that power.
I am human and yes degradation hurts, but self-love has set me free and it can do the same for you. You can use bleaching cream and get plastic surgery, but it wonâ€™t erase the most dangerous form of destruction on EarthâŽ¯self-loathing.
I love my skin because itâ€™s the skin that people tell me they wish they had, itâ€™s the skin that people tan for, itâ€™s the skin that allows my blemishes and dark marks to fade faster (and in some cases, blend in), itâ€™s the skin that protects me from the sun, itâ€™s the skin that has a beautiful golden undertone that makes bright colors pop, itâ€™s the skin that has attracted the man who loves me dearly even when I am at my worst.
From one dark girl to another: Rise. Tell yourself you are beautiful. Tell a little dark girl that she is beautiful and smart and worthy of love; tell little brown boys too. Once we believe in ourselves then the world will follow.
For Kalila and Johari.
*TWA- Teeny Weeny Afro
Dark Girls will be released this Fall.