Saturday, January 24, 2015

Published 9:30 AM by with 0 comment

All Hues Rock

All Hues Rock | Yes, We Rise



Monday night OWN broadcast a documentary chronicling the lives and hurt of light girls. In past years, Dark Girls was released and their hurt was heard ‘round the world . . . or at least the Black community.  Admittedly, as I watched Dark Girls, I was hurt, shocked and troubled. Seeing grown women – beautiful women – crying because of their hurt and mistreatment - hurt.  I cried with them. Notably, at the time, I was dating a darker hued man. He was disturbed by the documentary. He was uncomfortable watching and being in the room with me watching this. Sadly, he too admitted his mistreatment of dark girls and is love for the lighter hued sisters.

I looked at my skin.
I’m not light.
I’m not dark.

I’m brown – the exact color of brown sugar. The exact color of the brown paper bag. The exact color that stands out with the darker hued girls and doesn’t seem to mix right with the lighter hued girls.

I don’t fit.
I never have.

I have never been one to select friends according to their skin tone.

Colorism and being color struck is a quiet secret in our community.  I think my grandmother was white – few talk about it. But I recall members of several families talking about marrying light. I recall people talking about the benefits of being light. I have read the stereotypes of not trusting darker hued people and all that comes with that. Categorizing people by the hue of their skin WITHIN the race is . . . an inverted racist practice that hurts and separates more than it creates love and community.

As I watched Light Girls, I was not sure. I was hurt – again. Their horror, some being preferred and molested because of their skin tones; the others to be teased because their hair was longer, skin lighter – I found devastating.

Massa sure has worked on us. He has worked on us. 400 years later, we are still divided and still hurting – yearning to fit. Wondering why a person does not like us or treats us negatively. It’s not you, it’s them. Trust that.

In all of this, I want women to see their beauty. I want women to own their beauty.  Earlier this week, a young lady posted in a group posted that she thought she would have to wear more make up when she did the big chop. She marveled at how much LESS make up she needed and used as a result of cutting her hair. The look, her look was much easier to maintain.  I responded, “Beauty is within, once you embrace it, it flows.” She is beautiful.




In all of this, I reflected on my own childhood. My mother told me that I would not be first choice of men because of my skin. While my hair was longer than average, it wasn’t down my back. She told me, “Men want the lighter woman, long hair and supple skin.” She continued, “You’re not that. You’re cute, but you are not that.” When I hung out with my much lighter friends, she was right – they were chosen to dance first, asked out more – and the list continues.  Looking back – was that it? Perhaps the way I was dressed or my lack of communication with and to the opposite sex may have impacted why and how or when I was chosen. And may be, just may be I wasn’t as cute, developed or curvy as they were. Admittedly, cute came late for me. I had to grow into my looks.

While dating in my 20s, several men told me I wasn’t their type – they wanted light skin and long hair . . . again, I wasn’t that. I'm brown – and I cut my hair in the fiercest bob, so it wasn’t long, but it wasn’t short. But by then, I knew I was an acquired taste. I’m not for everyone. It is fine, too.  Meeting the man I later married, he was in love with darker hued girls. We met, fell in (And out) of love – and his first girlfriend after our marriage was dark (young too). Ultimately, he went back to what he loved.

I want women to FEEL good about their skin, be it dark, light or brown. I am brown. In the winter, I get lighter. In the Summer I remain the brown – I refuse to go out in the sun. Not because I am afraid, but because I hate hot.  Again, I will admit it wasn’t until I moved away from the south into an urban area that men loved my features, my skin tone, my me.  Men complemented my eyes, my hair; my skin tone.

I was liked.

Then I changed my hair. Bone straight to almost nappy. Curly, then locs.
Men told me I was cute, but they didn’t date chicks with locs.
Their loss, right?


In all of this, again, I want women to feel good. I want women to know their worth and value so when, or if, a man or anyone approaches them with ‘not good enough’ for any reason, they can still find their esteem; their confidence. As parents, our girls are precious. They need to be told how they are loved, how they are beautiful and worthy . . . without regard to their skin tone. Solely basing any decision on this is shallow and lacks intelligent discourse. These pains are real, and I make no pretense about it. I only know how to attempt to overcome – looking for the good in everyone. Speak to the queen in our sisters, even when we don’t see it; even when we don’t look like it. Women are the backbone of society – when we do well, others do too. When we are right and good, others are too.  We set the tone. If we are broken, if we are beaten and if we buy into the images they are feeding us, we will never recover. We cannot look to other men to aid in this recover, we must look within ourselves and our sister circles. Women, we have to step up for each other and grow, love and bridge gaps.

Right now, too many of us are hurting. Too many of us are floundering in words that have hurt – forgetting and failing to realize our true beauty and worth. How many of us have allowed words to hinder us?  Let’s let this be the last time. Let’s find an affirmation to speak into our lives daily.
Instead of ‘I am not my hair’, we may need to say “I am not my skin color.”

. . .As Free As I Wanna Be . . .
Goal D Locs 




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