I’ll be honest despite all the compliments I got as a child about my looks, I was always told I was a pretty girl, there was moment in the sixth grade I felt I would be prettier if I were lighter. I bought the cream Esoterica to fade dark marks left by breakouts but I secretly hoped the cream would make me a little less dark. I never voiced this out-loud, I felt I didn’t have a legitimate right to hate my color when no one else did. I was ashamed of myself for feeling this way. I eventually worked through those feelings of childhood insecurities and although I still have a love/hate relationship with my skin it is not because of my dark skin. Some girls and women have not been so lucky.
Despite my teenage feelings I am still really shocked to see how many dark women suffer emotionally with hating the color of their skin. It has been estimated that 77% of Nigerian women bleach their skin. An incredulous number considering Nigeria is on a continent of black people. I would think in a country where you are majority there would be better control of positive images of your blackness but obviously not. The issue is a bit more taboo amongst Black Americans than it is in Africa, Caribbean Islands, India and even Japan. The belief that your life would be better, happier, and richer if your skin is lighter is a psychological and sociological one a lot of people of color, regardless of ethnicity, suffer with in a world brutally colonized by Europeans.
I’m grateful for the many Black American women who consistently uplift our girls with acceptance of our skin and hair. The hashtag #blackgirlmagic is real and needs to be felt around the world. It’s struggle to feel beautiful when the media is owned by people who do not look like us and quite frankly try to destroy our self image in favor of theirs.
This weekend TVOne is airing the movie SKINNED directed by LisaRaye McCoy. I’m interested to see how this movie deals with this issue.