Wednesday, June 4, 2008

What is wrong with this picture?

Has anyone noticed that the Black celebrities that we praise for being dark-skinned and beautiful in a European favoring society, don't stay dark-skinned for long?

We've all had the conversations. I can hardly think of when I was with educated Black people in discussions about racial politics, that colorism didn't come up. The light-skin/dark-skin debate-debacle-controversy-history-hierarchy-whatever could go on for days, and I won't bother (or care to) go into any elaborate detail or polemic. I just think that it's unfortunate that when dark-skinned Black women in media are celebrated, we see trends of lightening.

For instance, look at this recent picture of Jill Marie Jones. She started off as the sexy and successful real-estate agent on Girlfriends, who happened to be the darkest of her other sister-friends. Jones' beauty was praised. An episode of the sit-com was even dedicated to her issues with colorism when she refused to date a wealthy man that she described as "too black". If you'll recall, however, as the seasons rolled on, so did the transformation of her skin tone.

There are of course exceptions. I'm not ignoring celebrities that seem to have stayed the same and chosen not to conform to Hollywood's apparent standard. We should notice, however, that as much scrutiny as Michael Jackson and other transformers receive for conforming to European standards, there is a CURRENT trend among black female celebrities that we should talk a little more about.

-Wayetu Moore


Wendi Muse said...

chris rock is another really good example...though there a few reasons:

1. different lighting, sometimes brighter lighting
2. photoshop (there is so much photo and film retouching done that it's basically impossible to figure out what someone's original color is)
3. skin care products (many of them contain "skin brighteners," which serve the purpose of making one's complexion even...though unfortunately, the only way to do that on darker skin is by lightening all of the skin to match)

however, even if it's not because of the reasons above and they're doing it on purpose, that's disappointing. i think no matter what, the message that is sent to the public is that lighter skin is more beautiful. though i and many members of my family possess lighter skin on the brown/black spectrum, we lament the fact that so many beautiful dark skinned black men and especially women are absent from the public eye and rarely publically lauded for their appearance. i hope that we will reach a point in human progression that allows us to embrace beauty in all colors!

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