BLACKNESS

A troubling trend that I have seen throughout the African diaspora is the rejection of Blackness. I feel the rejection of Blackness is heightened by this lack of connection to Blackness. Couple the two feelings and you get a bitter soufflé of self-hate and white admiration. When I was born I was light skinned for a few days and then I turned into the color I am today which is rich chocolate! My mother is significantly lighter than me and when I tell folks that my mother is light skinned they immediately bring up my father in what comes across to me as a desperate attempt to justify my dark skin tone as if they are hoping my father is my color because if he isn’t then the potential for them to have dark skinned children will be all the more real. This is sad given the fact that there is no real benefit to being considered “dark skinned” or “light skinned.”

It is sad when I hear things from people such as rapper Yung Berg who said when talking about the women he is attracted to with the response “no dark butts.” When he was questioned further, Yung Berg who is light skinned, he elaborated by saying, “no butts in my bed darker than mine,” meaning no dark skinned women. We all have our preferences and if his preference is for lighter skinned women so be it, but the way in which he chose to convey his preference is what troubles me because he makes it seem as if there is something inherently valueless/undesirable about darker hued women and by extension darker hued folks in general. When our ancestors were stolen from Africa and brought to various locales in the western hemisphere, a majority of the women were dark complexioned and the white kidnappers had no problem lusting after and unfortunately raping them.

The Black women’s body is still lusted after and commodified contemporarily. I feel like even the move in Hip-Hop videos by Black towards Latinx women is asinine on two levels: how can you totally disrespect Black women who have birthed, raised, and supported you before you came across the Lantinx women and the mixed women? And how do you run from Blackness by going to Lantinx women when they are intricately tied to Africa whether its through the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico etc.? The more folks try to deny their Blackness or try to distance themselves from it, the more they end up running to it.

I read an excerpt from an interview with Zoe Kravitz and she spoke about embracing her Blackness more. I found the interview excerpt to be insightful and amazingly honest. For a person to be of both mixed, in this case Black and white parents, and to claim and fight for the Blackness is beautiful because Zoe could easily just play the racially ambiguous card and downplay her Blackness like she admitted to doing due to environmental circumstances when she was younger. Instead Zoe is choosing to do the unpopular thing, which is to wholeheartedly embrace Blackness in a political, and social climate where some white and Black folks don’t value it is incredibly brave. I pray this sister continues to explore and embrace her roots and that ALL folks of the African diaspora embrace, value, and uphold their Blackness unabashedly and unapologetically!

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