Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Comfortable In My Own Dark Skin.

November 18, 2011 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Sista Talk, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) I remember the first time I realised properly, that being a dark skinned black girl wasn’t ‘in’. I was walking in the local shopping centre with my friends, one mixed-race, one light skinned, and the other white Sicilian, and I still remember the feeling of being the girl who had to stand to the side while my other friends were stopped for their numbers. As we grew older, this happened again and again – guys our age simply weren’t interested in the dark skinned girls if there was a lighter skinned specimen around. My only consolation was that I was told that although I had black hair, it was ‘soft’ and not ‘nappy’, so I suppose that made up for my coffee with limited milk skin tone. I wish I could say I was exaggerating, I wish I could say that I am the anomaly, but unfortunately, my experience is one shared by a myriad of dark skinned girls.

I never grew up in the kind of family where my chocolate hue was seen as  something to be fixed, subdued or endured. My father would even tell me jokingly that I was ‘kind of light’ compared to my brother, my mum and him, and that he didn’t have any respect for dark skinned people who married ‘light’ because they wanted ‘fair-skinned’ children. Me and my brother were given African first names, and reminded at every available opportunity of how proud we should be to carry the meanings of those names, and the strength of the people they came from. We were given books on our history, surrounded with images of positive black people, and my mother adamantly resisted all my pleadings for a relaxer.

So why did I find myself at the age of 16, slightly uncomfortable in my own skin, still slightly annoyed that I was the ‘dark skinned girl’?  It’s not that I consciously thought dark skin was ugly. On the contrary, I would look at a picture of someone like Lauryn Hill and see nothing but beauty, but there was a continual frustration in knowing that enough of my race, especially the young men my age, didn’t see that. Claire from My Wife and Kids was the beauty standard for our generation – long ringlets, light skin – but still black enough to not be a white girl.

How many times can you tell yourself in the mirror that you’re beautiful, when enough of the world tells you that beauty is the opposite to you? How many words of affirmation from loving parents or pastors are enough to balance endless L’oreal adverts, Sof-n-Free relaxer kits, or every mainstream black television show?

I’m not sure. I couldn’t tell you. What I can tell you, is that at the age of 21, I can say without flinching, I love my skin. It doesn’t define me in totality, but it is part of the definition of me, and I am proud of it. I still might get overlooked by ignorant men who haven’t learnt to love themselves yet. With time, however, I’ve grown up a little and realised that firstly, people are entitled to their preferences, and secondly, that any preference that is based on a mindset that sees a darker hue as inferior  highlights the kind of man I would want to avoid. If anything, I feel sorry for my light skinned sisters who have their own set of problems – resentment from dark skinned girls who are angry at being passed over, and being used as a trophy by some men who haven’t found the time to deal with their psychological issues.

I wouldn’t change me for a minute – whether I was light with freckles or black as the night, because an infinite Creator saw what He  made and said it was good. And that’s enough for this dark skinned black girl.

Staff Writer; Shade Henry

To find out more about this talented sister, feel free to visit; ThatGirlwiththeFro



15 Responses to “Comfortable In My Own Dark Skin.”
  1. Mungano says:

    With her real hair it should be better…

  2. Yvon says:

    Let a white (French) man explain his point of view : African skin blackness is a natural treasure, just as are Asian skin ivory colour and European skin pinkish white colour. Remain as you are : you will never be more beautiful than you are in your pure ebony nature !

    Even in Africa, many women niw try to become paler (http://www.madeinksu.com…) : it’s sad.

    The German photographer Uwe Ommer made many beautiful photographs of black women in their pure and moving ebony nature, for example this one (found on http://brown-princess.tumblr.com/archive) or this one (found on http://fotos.sapo.pt…).

    However beautiful, they’re possibly a bit too sensual photographs.

    Knowing where to find beautiful photographs of black women, I mean of black women of any age, even mature, could be useful to Afro-Americans remembering their roots (I say it as a French white man, I don’t pretend I know what is really good for anyone else than myself).

    A few photographs :

    An anonymous woman ? (found on timodelle-magazine.com, on this page).

    Miss Lupita Nyongo’o ? (found on <a href="https://black-woman.tumblr.com).

    An anonymous woman ? (found on http://inn-destree.tumblr.com).

    Another anonymous woman ? or these ones ? (found on kieranbehan.tumblr.com), all of them on Tumblr.

  3. Whiteboy... says:

    Man… are you kidding me? I wish I could find a dark skinned girl like the pic. It often times seems like black women don’t find white males very attractive tbh. I’ve always found darker skin to be HIGHLY attractive, because as a white guy why would I knowingly want a chick that looks similar to me? Like don’t get me wrong there are fine redheads, but I would love to find a dark black chick 😛 . Y’all are f*n beautiful for some of us. Don’t ever forget it 🙂

  4. Beauty is beauty. God made us like a flower garden different shapes and colors and all beautiful. It is not us, it is the world that is confused. Learn to love yourself and love will come, period.

    If you have suffered a loss and are in need of comfort, please check out my book, “Falling in Love with God; A Guide to Overcoming Grief”. About the book, Author Tia Stewart writes, “This is a powerful, moving piece of work that leaves its readers feeling both blessed and inspired. A must read!” The book is available at amazon.com, most on-line book sellers and at michellelivous.com

  5. Darneisha says:

    Hi, I’m Darneisha of course I’m 15 years young I have a low self esteem due to being bullied from being dark …. I grew up in a place where light skin is better. People act shocked to see me, a young beautiful dark girl. When I was younger I wasn’t fully grown into my looks so I was bullied called ugly basically hazed because I was the darkest girl in class. Now I get compliments from the same people saying I’m beautiful and I’m gorgeous and everyone’s crush. I’m bothered not because I envy the “light skin” population but because some people can’t get over this “light skinned” “dark skinned” epidemic. What’s with all of the classification when we’re all black. No one should have to b bullied or shunned for their skin. To dark or to pale doesn’t make a difference when we’re all human.. I’m 15 years young and although everyone sees me as beautiful but if i don’t think im beautiful how would anyone else continue to see me as beautiful . Anyways, I just lost my way and this really got me back on my “A”. Game from the post to the comments thank you so much and god bless you all… ?

  6. Rameses says:

    you know what’s so sad: we’re still talking about skin tones in 2013…..how long are black people gonna get hung up on skin tones? who care? some are light some are dark….now that we’ve acknowledged this, can some real work get done….it’s dangerous to say that when someone values someone “light-skinned” it’s because they hate themselves. That is a slippery-slope. The dark-skinned tone of black women is not the only thing that keeps them from finding suitable mates: many times it’s the attitude. Just because you’re dark-skinned, doesn’t mean that people have to bow down to you as “the mother of civilization.” You can be dark-skinned and not attractive to someone. I’m dark brown and I know I am not everyone’s cup of tea which is fine. But, I’ll always be at least one woman’s flavor. It’s funny how women can reject men all the time and men be expected to take it. However, when men assert this same power, somehow it’s self-hate. So what if I only like light-skinned women? It’s my prerogative. So what if I only like dark-skinned women? It’s my prerogative. The key is, as women, you have to compete. You have to learn how to separate yourself from the rest of the pack. And it’s not just beauty either. You can be as beautiful as you want but if you can’t cook, no ring will ever be placed on your finger by me. I grew up loving dark-skinned females. But as a dark brown man myself, who used to go up to countless cark women telling them they were beautiful, many times just as a random compliment, I found out that many dark women didn’t value these compliments coming from someone around their same complexion. Many African females I tried to show interest in from many different countries. Ghana, Nigeria, Sierre Leone, you name it. But many of these females didn’t reciprocate these same feelings back. matter fact, when I was in high school, I was trying to be with this Ethiopian female, who I would have married in high school, but her mother would not let her date a brother from the America. But she did let her date a dirty white boy (and not saying all white boys are dirty i’m just giving his literally physical description). And when she saw me when she was with him, she was ashamed. I ran into her a few years ago and she looked horrible. She did not have that same attraction she had in high school. She gave me a look like she knew she had messed up. Because I still look good. Many dark-skinned women like to give the impression that they don’t get attention but this is not true. I’ve seen so many posts online where many brothers say they adore dark-skinned women. So there is a huge disconnect. Now if you’re not the most aesthetically pleasing woman out here that’s a different story. It has nothing to do with dark or light skinned: it’s genes. Outside of that, I think the notion that dark women are not valued is just that: a notion. It’s not real in fact. Everyone does not want you and they aren’t supposed to because everyone should be wanted by someone. It’s enough to go around. I actually told my light-skinned homie to use his light skinned to get women. Now I’m dark, But I told him stop trying to be so pro-black to the point you don’t use what you have working for you. If there are some women out here that only value light-skinned men, then use it!!!! That’s not hateful that’s smart. Why did I tell him this? Because I am quite confident in my ability to get any woman I choose and if rejected by any woman I consider it her loss, not mine. Rejection for me is just another opportunity to find something better for me.

  7. VictoriaP says:

    OMG! This is so true…I have noticed mostly non-Black men approach me…it’s quite sad that skin tone is still a factor even within our own race. The author (girl in the picture) is ABSOLUTELY STUNNING, though!

  8. i often thought class was a color my first day in the class room after home room i met nothing more than the light today i live and i more often i do it well seeking that tone of goodness

  9. Black Publius says:

    Skin comfort great, next level, hair comfort (no perms or straightening combs). Then real spirituality. Real talk

  10. Menelik Charles says:

    This is so sad. I find darker-skinned girls to be the sexiest women alive! I just adore them and go weak when I see even a darker sister of average looks. The dark skin just stirs my love and my loins.

    I’m just saying.

  11. Akosua says:

    @ blackbeauty And the point is when it comes to mate selection, the psychological sickness of colorism continuous to play a major role for well over half of bm(regardless of his color). The ramification of this for darker or brown bw (which is the color of well over half of bw here in the US) are that they are excluded from the mating pool. You sound very flippant. You may need to pray if you have a daughter she passes the paper bag test. If not, she may be writing a similar letter like this young lady one day. Colorism is not going away anytime soon in the black community b/c of people like you who deny that it exist and deny that it has deleterious consequences. The people who wish the topic goes away are most often the people who are privileged by the behavior.

    I say to the young lady, I applaud you at such a young age to come into your own by loving the self that gave bless you to be.

  12. Shade says:

    @Blackbeauty – Unfortunately not, because we still haven’t got to the point as a race where we are fully accepting and celebratory of all shades of brown. Until we are, I think the article I wrote is valid and necessary to keep reminding ourselves of how to accept ourselves. It’s great that you’ve got to the point where this isn’t an issue for you, but sadly there’s a young dark skinned girl out there who is STILL trying hard see herself as beautiful, and might read this and get a little encouragement. I’m just sharing my experience. Blessings.

  13. @_aprilbyrd says:

    Wow! This is a serious change from “Brown Skin Isn’t For Everybody”. How did you do it?… I mean make the switch. Is there more about your skin that you love besides that “The infinite Creator said it was Good”?

  14. Patsy says:

    Great article and thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  15. BlackBeauty says:


    And your point is?????

    Folks, are we tired of this topic yet?

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