So I haven't written a blog post in a while and I was complaining to Afrocentric that I felt like I had nothing to say lately. Then, for some reason, I realised "hold up"! I'm always complaining (or "passionate" as some people call it) about something. I realised there have been two things that have repeatedly put my back up in the last few years and this is one of them. Yes people, I'm talking about skin bleaching. Interestingly enough, just as I was formulating this post, I noticed that the BBC website had just posted a story on this very problem and it had rocketed to the top of their "most sent" article column . Clearly this is an issue by which many of us are concerned.
Growing up, I was never really conscious of skin colour until I progressed further and further up the educational ladder. When my sister, who is eleven years younger than me, was born I remember a great hoopla being made over her beauty. Now don't get me wrong, Sankofa Jr. is gorgeous but I noticed certain terminology was always used to describe her. "Oh Sankofa Jr. is so pretty and fair!" "Sankofa Jr. has such lovely and bright skin". You see where I'm going with this right? However, the older Sankofa Jr. got the darker in tone she became and a move to the ATL only expedited the issue. I remember showing a recent picture of her to a certain family friend who exclaimed "Oh no! She has gotten sooooo dark! Have you not been keeping her out of the sun?" She had to get a big
Since when did black Africans become so obsessed with skin colour? If I had a pound for every time I, or a friend, has been slyly given skin "brightening" creams or been told that we're pretty even though we're dark skinned.... Let's just say that I'd be making an appearance in Forbes. I am well aware that there is a difference in attempting to even complexion and straight up "Casper-ification" but some people need a big fat SIT DOWN! Hey, fine with me if you want to destroy the protective melanin God gave us. Or if you wish to expose your skin to hydroquinone (C6H602 for all you science buffs) of which the long term effects include premature ageing, blotchy, collagen- damaged skin, and skin cancer (yes black people can get skin cancer). Skin bleaching creams also contain mercury and trust me it's in a far more potent form than the type in a thermometer. Mercury, as pregnant women will know, can lead to kidney and liver failure in addition to leaving blue pigmentation in the folds of the skin, not to mention that these products are illegal in the United Kingdom. Now let me ask you, when you think of a beautiful woman do these images come to mind? Don't even get it twisted, it's not an exclusively African disease. Skin bleaching creams are prevalent in Caribbean countries and Asian countries also. In my opinion, the world is going mad. You've got white people going mad with the tanning and black people embracing the Casper effect hard. Sorry to be insufferably cheesy but whatever happened to loving ourselves? God gave me my skin colour for a reason and for that reason alone I'm gonna love it till the day I die.
Also, if you're so determined to bleach, why attempt to hide it? You ain't slick. I am sure all of you have encountered the phenomenon I named this post after. The "fanta face, coca-cola body" woman. Don't come and tell me you don't bleach when your knuckles and feet look like you've been grazing in charcoal but your face is more orange than the "You know when you've been tangoed" man. Come on!
Truthfully speaking, thinking about this issue made me think about the other side of the coin. Remember when we were in school and the light-skinned boy and girl were automatically the most popular people in your class? (St. James' holla! lol) Yeah just admit we were all on light-skinned boys until Moris Chestnut, Tyrese, and the ilk came along and put them out of fashion. I've happily said that light-skinned men are not my cup of tea as I've grown up. However, I have seen men straight up ROASTED for preferring light-skinned black women over their more melanin- endowed counterparts. Now where's the difference? Yes from today, I am really trying to stop that foolishness. It's a free country, just as I have my preferences, why should I lambast somebody for also having their preferences? But preferences are just that- preferences. If a man I like prefers lighter-skinned women does that mean I need to chemically alter my skin to better fit his preferences? Hell no! Come on people, if this does not apply to you, urge your mums, your aunties, (hell, your uncles too) to put the bleaching creams down. Our skin is beautiful in the myriad shades it comes in. Let's celebrate this.