I hope these five black poems strengthen your spirit as you read, for they are masterpieces crafted with love, magic, whispers and sighs.
Only a Black woman can know what has been denied other Black women. Only a Black woman can give us the words we need to weave gold and silver threads into the tapestry of our lives. “O ye daughters of Africa, arise! arise! awake!”
It’s often said, “beauty attracts and personality keeps” but in my case, I feel like it’s the other way round. I feel like people are drawn to me because of my personality not my looks, which is a good thing right. Yeah I know it’s a good thing. I can tell because most of the long lasting relationships I have is with people who love my personality. So don’t get me wrong. I don’t doubt for a second that relationships built on personality are best. But I don’t just want to be loved only because of my personality. I also want to be loved because of my looks.
Do you really blame me for thinking this way? Put a dark skin girl in the midst of light skin girls and she’ll definitely be unnoticed. All my life, my closest friends have always been wayyy lighter in complexion than me, so I know what it means to be unnoticed. If we went out or maybe just walked on the road, they’ll always get the attention and I’ll just be standing there watching.
Growing up, I’ve seen how much people glorify light skin girls. I’m not just talking about tv, or social media, I’m talking about real life. As in just being light skin makes you already beautiful before your other features can be checked. whereas, if you’re dark, then you’re less likely beautiful. If you are dark and beautiful, you’ll hear of sub categories such as ‘nice black’, ‘clean black’ or ‘beautiful black’. Of course, at the other end of the rope, you’ll hear of ‘dirty black’.
Majority of the times I was told that I was beautiful, I thought they were lying. If someone complemented me, it was so hard to appreciate. I thought that they were just trying to make me feel better. Not saying all complements were true but I was blinded from seeing the ones that were.
As a dark skin girl, it feels like we need to do more to feel and look beautiful. No wonder, many people tend to bleach their skin. In as much as I am so much against it, sometimes I understand them because I know the pressure. The main problem with bleaching is not about what is been done externally but rather what is going on internally in your mind. Your color may change but your mind won’t.(follow this link to find out more about skin bleaching). With the melanin popping social media trend, it’s almost like if you don’t have big hips, butts or boobs then your melanin isn’t really popping. In reality, if you don’t wear good dark skin makeup or dress up sexy, your black beauty will rarely get noticed.
I used to think that issues about colorism are faced by blacks in white countries. What I don’t understand is why a black will maltreat another just because of a slight difference in shades. Hhmm, the way some people behave errr, it’s like they are whites and we’re blacks. Thanks to social media, a lot of dark skin appreciation is going on. Looking at it keenly, you’d notice that dark skin women are put on a lower bar but a higher pedestal. All the hyping and praising always ends on social media but in real life we get to face reality which is
we are labeled ugly, because we are dark skin
don’t get attention or get noticed because we are dark skin
we are often the second choice because we are dark skin
we are always called all sorts of awful names publicly or not, by strangers or not, because we are black
Being dark skin feels like being less privileged
you probably don’t understand 80% of what we go through because you’re not black.
Skin bleaching can be defined as the removal of the upper layer of one’s skin through the application of creams that contain chemicals. It can also be defined as the permanent or temporal changing of a person’s complexion through the rubbing of various creams that are capable of changing the skin.
How does it work?
Skin lightening products work by reducing a pigment called melanin. Melanin is that thing which makes the skin look darker. So, the greater the melanin, the darker the skin. Hence, applying those skin lightening products disrupts melanin production therefore making the skin to lighten.
Most lightening agents contain active ingredients such as hydroquinone, mercury and corticosteroids.
Jobs and success
Isn’t it strange? That in the 21st century you need to be light skin in order to get some particular jobs. Well if you doubt it please know it is so true and I can testify to that.
I remember during one long holiday I got to work at a certain bakery and I was told that mostly light skinned girls could work as receptionist. I’m sure you already guessed why. It is certainly a good business strategy to not only attract customers but also to keep them coming.
That’s smart… right? but I just begin to wonder, what if all jobs were meant just for light skin women, what would become of dark women ehhh!!! Luckily, some dark ladies are using their skin color to be successful. Find out here
By the way, why would customers be attracted mostly to the lighter skin in the first place ? This brings me to the next point…
Generally, we’ve been made to believe that a light skin person is more acceptable in the society. We even have some body lotion companies saying ‘white is purity’ in their adverts.
No wonder, I came across an advert in which a Chinese lady put a dark man into a washing machine and the end result was a white man whom she adored. Now how funny is that? does it mean that we dark people are somewhat impure? and if light skin is fair, is dark skin unfair ? ( I could really use the thinking emoji now).
Most women engage in skin lightening because light skin is associated with higher status and privilege. Some women also bleach in order to attract high status mates. It is also believed that lighter skin looks better in photographs and the images usually get more views when posted on social media.
Skin lightening products can be used medicinally for the treatment of post inflammatory pigmentation. These are dark spots that appear because of injury to the skin or inflammation like acne.
It could also be used to remove discolored patches that appear on the face due to excess sun exposure or hormonal changes during pregnancy or as a result of birth control pills.
FDA recommends a short term use of hydroquinone (that is not more than 5 months) with a maximum dose of 2%. However, there’s still a lot of controversy with respect to hydroquinone as it has been proven to be carcinogenic hence increasing the risk of skin cancer
It is indeed true that all that glitters is not gold because when these products are used, they get into the bloodstream thereby affecting organs like the brain, kidney and liver. So while everything may be going on well on the outside, the inside might not look so good.
Here are some of the side effects of bleaching
Thinning of the skin
Uneven color loss
Redness, swelling and irritation
A burning or stingy sensation
Dark grey spots
Visible blood vessels in the skin
Aside from the health disadvantages, skin bleaching is also very expensive and time consuming. Also, you lighten your skin to look pretty for NOW, then spend the rest of your life trying to reverse the process through medication. Seriously what’s the point?
It is true that you might come from a family where bleaching is normal. Probably your mum or aunt have been doing it for a long time and you want to do it too but please don’t!
I can’t count the number of times that I’ve been approached by strangers and warned never to change my color. A majority of these people where often women who had bleached. If bleaching was all sunshine and roses then I think they would rather be inviting me to join the crew.
I would never forget the voice of one of my mothers in the quarter saying in french and very authoritatively, “ma fille ne change jamais ta couleur heinn” and yes, she’s been bleaching for as long as I’ve known her.
Another time in church after service, an elderly woman approached me. To be honest, I thought she wanted to probably criticize my makeup or dressing. Not that I wasn’t well dressed oh but you know how this women can be nah!
To my greatest surprise, full of love and honesty, she said,” you are very beautiful my daughter, don’t change your color.” It’s only after that I looked at her closely and noticed that she had been bleaching and might have been suffering from some of it’s side effects.
What amazes me is that even people who aren’t dark skin do bleach. I’ve even heard of light skin people bleaching too and I’m like what do they really want! Of course, you should know that this doesn’t concern just the women because men do bleach too.
I met a girl at a salon and she was like if she has the money she would skin bleach. How did the conversation even start? I simply told her she had a lovely brown skin but unfortunately, she rather attacked the hairdresser who’s dark too, saying all sorts of negative things about dark skin. Thank God, the hairdresser was very confident about her color.
To you who’s planning to bleach when you get the chance to, I hope you know what you’re up against. Like I always say, whether black, brown or light skin we’re all beautiful so let us accept and celebrate our differences because that is what makes us a unique and special people.
The choice is yours to make, I can only hope that you choose wisely! Meanwhile here’s a letter personally addressed to you from me Dear Black Beauty
I love my color ( these quotes help me stay confident) and I’m not going to change it, what about you?
It’s not the situation but whether we react (negative) or respond (positive) to the situation that’s important. I believe we were made weak be it financially, health, body size and shape, skin complexion or whatever you consider as a weakness, so that God’s strength will be made manifest and His glory revealed.
Last year, I came across an episode of Steve Harvey’s show on Facebook in which he was interviewing a slim dark young girl called Kheris Rogers, a 10-year-old at the time. I got interested immediately and I wanted to know what the interview was all about. She started talking about how she was bullied by her classmates for her darker skin. There was an incident with a teacher in which they were asked to draw themselves and she was given a black pencil instead of a brown one. I was really surprised as I didn’t imagine that kind of thing still happens in this century yet I could totally relate with her story. I’ve sat in a class where the teacher cracks a joke using my dark skin as sample and the whole class burst into laughter, sometimes I laugh with them and other times it’s not funny at all. Sometimes I really don’t blame the teacher because he’s probably only trying to make his class more lively but at what cost?
Kheris was traumatized, she would cry a lot and wished she wasn’t dark skin. Then her sister posted pictures of her on twitter using the hashtag #flexininhercomplexion saying “my sister is only 10, but already royalty”
That post went viral and since then her life has never been the same again. All the positive comments helped boost her self-esteem and confidence and she now owns her own clothing line “Flexin’ In My Complexion.” That confidence helped her to chase her dreams and passions and her color which she was once bullied for has opened so many doors for her, it has placed her before kings and queens and now she’s an inspiration to many dark girls including me. Below are some of her quotes
You almost went to the gym, you almost started writing again, you almost started a YouTube channel. You almost started a business, you almost changed your life, you almost chased your dreams. Almost is nothing at all. Just do it!
Black is beautiful and I’m the proof.
You don’t accomplish your dreams by just wishing, just do it.
In order to be one of the greatest, you have to move like one of the greatest.
Strong women aren’t simply born, they blossom through challenges in life. With each challenge, a strong woman doesn’t give up, but pushes forward with their head held high!
For one of her giveaways, she asked her instagram followers how they flex in their complexions, below are some of their replies
“I’m so proud of how God has used you, your humbleness and your success! I’m a hardcore #flexinginmycomplexion member because God blessed me with this dark chocolate skin since my eyes opened 40 years ago. I never allowed anyone to make me feel less about something that was God given! I try and share that knowledge with others. God doesn’t make mistakes.”
“I don’t see my skin as a liability, I see it as a power because with my skin my black is beautiful and I love the skin that I am in and I know who I am.”
“I sit in the sun for as long as I want without fear or concern for people commenting on my ‘darkness’ I’m sucking up the light of the world and using up all of its energy.”
“I flexed in my complexion by staying true to who I am and being a voice for the voiceless and a role model for little girls that look just like me”
“I’m flexing in my complexion by empowering young people ages 16-24 to love themselves no matter what shade their skin is. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made by God.”
What so ever you want to do in life, do not allow your complexion be a limitation. Hope her story inspires you like it inspired me.
Despite how challenging it is to be black, know that you are not alone. They might have called you names, neglected you and questioned your beauty, but I wish to add my voice to say that you are bold and beautiful, loved and cherished and I celebrate you.
Wear your color as a crown of beauty not to boast but in awe of God because He made you in His image. You may look dark on the outside but inside you, there’s so much light crying to be released after all, light shines so much brighter in darkness which can be seen in your sun-kissed skin. ‘your beauty should not come from outward adornment or elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine cloths. Rather it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit which is of great worth in God’s sight.’(1 Peter 3:3-4) that’s the kind of light you need to shine. Love your skin a little more and you’ll be amazed at how much glow it radiates. You define your beauty. You decide how people treat you and love you. The way you love yourself is how they’ll love you right back. If you look down on yourself, they won’t hesitate to do same and even match over you. So get your confidence back and show people the real you.
If you think of your skin tone as a flaw, remember that you are God’s handiwork. Girl, the creator of the beautiful wonders of this earth made you! You are fearfully and wonderfully made, created to do good works. Everything about you is for your specific purpose, for He makes all things beautiful in its time. Wishing you were more or less light skinned is like wishing you were someone else. Rather than envying one another, let us learn to compliment and celebrate each other. How you celebrate others is the same way you’ll be celebrated. The moment you understand that you are unique and learn to accept yourself just the way you are, life will become so much clearer and things will start falling into place.
Finally, whatever your shade of black is, I celebrate you.
Remind another sister just how beautiful she is, we all need that!