She Got A Light Skinned Friend That Look Like Michael Jackson…

Twenty-three years ago Spike Lee gave us this commentary on the issue of hair and color in the Black community in his film, School Daze. Twenty-three years later it remains a hot topic on the table which is no surprise, as these issues were cemented in the minds of our ancestors during slavery and we’ve inherited them.

The topic came to mind again while watching a recent HD television commercial with Beyonce. The sister is undoubtedly beautiful, but I was blown away at how long, straight, and blindingly blond her hair was. Then I came across these two photos of her, once circa Destiny’s Child days and one more recent L’oreal ad:

What seed is implanted in our minds that tells us the image to the left is more beautiful than the one to the right? Further, is this a thought process embedded solely in the mind of Black people or is it Americans in general?

It’s definitely the latter:

Women of various ethnic groups somehow believe that blond hair makes them more attractive. Women of all nations often feel pressure to give in to the accepted standard of beauty.┬áLong blond hair + light skin=beauty. So what about the billions that don’t fit this equation?

Even more baffling is how this phenomenon is starting to affect dark skinned Black men, most notably Sammy Sosa and Vybz Kartel. Both of these men made headlines after bleaching their once chocolate-hued skin a pasty white. This practice, which for me, almost immediately brings Michael Jackson to mind, just might be the greatest showcase of self-hatred members of the Black community can participate in. The diversity of our complexions is something to be celebrated – but somehow we’re convinced that the opposite of what we are is the absolute best.

My challenge to my community in 2011 is this: let’s see how much we can detox from the amount of brainwashing we’ve undergone and implement the following practices:

-no platinum blond dye jobs

-lose the term “good hair” from our vocabulary

-think twice and bite our tongues before we give the backhanded compliment, “You’re cute to be so dark-skinned”.

-look twice before our minds register that any given light-skinned person is more gorgeous than average

-shut our eyes when ads/commercials only show us as beautiful when both light and blond

-make an effort to see the wide range of beauty in our community daily

Y’all up for the challenge?

3 Replies to “She Got A Light Skinned Friend That Look Like Michael Jackson…”

  1. Um… I’m lightskinned, and I just dyed my hair light brown/blonde last night… sorry… your article was too late.

    1. Sorry, Taylor, that you discovered us too late. This article was posted back in January. Good luck with that dye job – keep it conditioned!

Comments are closed.