People who make comments like;  don’t expect directors, tattoo artistes, make up artistes etc to go out of their way to work with dark skin tones. Not everything works’ don’t realize they’re just saying ‘I’m a racist piece of shit who’s anti black as fuck.’

Adding some thoughts to the conditional benefits of colorism from my experience as someone who is not light-skinned or white-passing, but is also not dark-skinned and somewhat ambiguous.

As a half-black/half-white woman, I face plenty of racism. I grew up with bigoted crap from the white half of my family, I had kids shun me due to my skin color, I had multiple friends say terribly racist shit to me (ex-friends, of course), I’ve been followed around in a store, I’ve wanted to alter my appearance to fit in, the list goes on. It’s a painful, emotional slog.

But.

I have a very average brown skintone: not pale, but also not dark, a la Kerry Washington or Zoe Saldana. Thanks to myopic mainstream media, whitewashed history and colorism, this skintone is more visible. It’s the brown skin you see in movies, if it’s there at all. It’s the brown skin you see headlining music, if it’s there at all. It’s the brown skin you see advertised in fashion and make-up and commercials, if it’s there at all.

Topping it off, my facial features are rather small and I have hair that’s curly, wavy and loose. I’ve received praise toward my skintone. I’m sometimes asked what racial group I belong to. I regularly have people of varying backgrounds compliment my hair.

To contrast: women with wide noses and large lips are mocked and turned into caricatures. Dark skin is treated as ugly, unfortunate and something to be fixed, be it through a cream or post-production in Photoshop. Kinky and coily hair is used as a reason to prevent people from getting jobs, joining the military or attending school.

I deal with a bunch of shit, but I’ve still been let off easy in some areas.

I have friends of color who are light-skinned and faced racism, but also flew under the radar in many other cases where I never have. On the other hand, I see the severe vitriol and erasure lobbed at dark-skinned women every day without a single fucking break.

It’s exhausting, infuriating and it’s given me a lot of perspective: being light-skinned and/or white-passing is much easier than being an average brown.

And being an average brown is still easier than being dark.

Lupita was recently named the most beautiful by People’s Magazine, and some of their readers expressed their dissatisfaction with this decision  in the comment section. One reader even commented that Lupita didn’t deserve this title because she’s 100% black(she finds women unattractive if they’re 100% black). These comments made me think of the brilliant post made by radicalrebellion

White women (non-black women of color included in this as well) become offended and angry when a black woman (especially a dark skinned black woman like Lupita) is depicted as beautiful and worthy of appreciation because it jeopardizes their position as the epitome of beauty and womanhood. Black women are viewed as the antithesis of White beauty and womanhood, these white women are completely apathetic and silent when dark skinned Black women are portrayed as “ugly” and “unlovable” by the mainstream media because they benefit from this oppression. That’s why you never see white supermodels discussing racism and colorism in the fashion industry. However, these readers wouldn’t complain if it were light skinned black women like Halle Berry, Beyonce, or Rihanna (we all know why, hint: colorism). Anyway, congratulations to the ***flawless Lupita for being named the most beautiful!  

10

I’m at a loss for words… 😐 You know why other races don’t “respect us”? It’s partially because we don’t even respect ourselves. This makes others think it’s okay to shit on our race. We can’t get rid of racism & colorism because it exists in our OWN community. These “jokes” aren’t funny. So with that being said, can we stop the light skin vs dark skin beef?

Dear dark skin girls

Never be afraid to wear all the bright colors you want. You do not have to stick to the purples, dark blues & blacks because they’re more “suitable” for your dark skin, and bright colors make your dark skin “stand out” too much.

Fuck that.

Wear the all the neons, pinks, yellows, bright red, white and anything else you want because your dark skin is beautiful and should flaunt it all you want. 

Instead of casting Zoe “Colorblind” Saldana to play Nina Simone, they should cast the amazing Adepero Oduye. 

image

  • Adepero Oduye looks EXACTLY like Nina Simone. 
  • She’s an incredible actress (Pls watch Pariah and 12 Years a Slave). 

It’s frustrating that not even a dark skinned black woman can be casted for the role of a dark skinned black woman.

Hollywhite strikes again. 

  • Black Guy:Dark-skinned girls are so ugly.
  • Dark-Skinned Black Girl:....
  • Black Guy:I bet you wish you were a redbone, don't you? You're ugly, darkie.
  • Dark-Skinned Black Girl:....
  • Light-Skinned Black Girl:You're black as fuck wit yo nappy head!
  • Dark-Skinned Black Girl:....
  • Light-Skinned Black Girl:That's why I get more men than you.
  • Dark-skinned Black Girl:.....
  • Light-Skinned Black Girl:I'm sick of seeing these dark bitches with their red hair. Y'all look like a battery!
  • Dark-Skinned Black Girl:....
  • Light-Skinned Black Girl:I'm so pretty and red. You bitches be hatin' on me and my good, curly hair.
  • Dark-Skinned Black Girl:....
  • Light-Skinned Black Girl:I bet you wish you had natural hair instead of getting a weave.
  • Black Guy:Dark-Skinned girls look like roaches. Get the raid spray and the tazer if that don't work.
  • Dark-Skinned Black Girl:*clenches fists* ....
  • Light-Skinned Black Girl:*Says something that pisses dark-skinned black girl off and escalates into an argument*
  • Dark-Skinned Black Girl:*thinks about all the time she has been insulted* ...
  • Light-Skinned Black Girl:Haha jiggaboo! Your skin is the color of tar! You're dark and ugly and will never look as good as m---
  • Dark-Skinned Black Girl:FUCK YOU YELLA BITCH! YOUR SKIN IS THE COLOR OF PISS! I HATE YOU!!! *jumps the light-skinned black girl and starts punching her*
  • Black Guy:See, that's why we don't like you dark bitches because you so violent and want to beat up the pretty light-skinned girls because you're jealous.
Watch on owning-my-truth.com

Lee Michelle’s “Without You” Video: Challenging Colorism and Crafting a Beautiful Message of Self-Love

On my blog I discuss kpop quite a bit, particularly since many kpop idols are some of the worst serial offenders in terms of their antiblackness and cultural appropriation. It was therefore a pleasant surprise for me to watch this video by Lee Michelle (a biracial former contestant on the first season of “K-pop Star”), which breaks this mold.

Before proceeding I would like to briefly note that there have been biracial stars in Korea before. But when we talk about “biracial” or “mixed” children in the context of Korea, it’s so important that we think critically about what we mean when we say “mixed”. When kpop sites talk about “biracial” kpop stars, they default to white and typically mean mixed “white-Korean”. They will go so far as conflating the experiences of mixed white-Korean children with those of black-Korean children in the same article and somehow think that their articles still have credibility. These experiences are simply not the same and conflating them together is not only intellectually lazy but insulting. Yes, Korea has a relative obsession with racial purity which does affect both groups, but global white supremacy, colorism and virulent antiblackness makes the situation for mixed black-Korean children significantly worse than that of mixed white-Korean children.

[image description: a portrait of Tasha Yoon Mi-Rae, a biracial half-black Korean R&B artist who has spoken eloquently about colorism in her music Photo via Generasia]

The lived experiences of people like Daniel Henney (mixed white-Korean) who get widely praised for their features and appearance, and that of Lee Michelle who is half black, dark skinned, has coarse hair and does not have passing-privilege as full Korean are not the same. Colorism already affects darker-skinned Koreans in incredibly damaging ways, and intersecting that experience with racism makes this doubly hard for mixed-black Koreans.

And so Lee Michelle’s presence in the industry matters.  Tasha Yoon-Mi Rae has discussed colorism and the discrimination she has faced for her mixed-black heritage eloquently in her song “Black Happiness,” and in a similar way “Without You” has also struck a chord with me.

[image description: a promotional picture of Lee Michelle Photo via 24-7kpop]

“Without you” lyrically is a breakup song directed at one man, but the chorus in particular is significant in which she asserts: 

I’m beautiful without you
I’m meaningful without you
I’m still beautiful even if I wasn’t loved by you

And then she continues:

I’m so angry
Everyone treated me like you did, baby
Now I’ll erase you and wipe my tears
So I can receive a love that’s better than yours and different from yours

With these words, Lee Michelle asserts her beauty for herself and for the listener in turn. For a dark skinned, mixed black girl growing up in South Korea to assert this in the midst of a society where light skin and racial “purity” are prized and antiblack sentiments are rampant is a radical act indeed. Without a doubt Lee Michelle typically grew up hearing everything but “you are beautiful.” It is almost certain that like other mixed black children in Korea, she was mocked and teased mercilessly for her hair texture, “black” feature and dark skin. These things in the eyes of many simply precluded her from beauty, she was “ugly”- simple as that.

So in this song, ostensibly directed at one boy, we find a declaration of self-love and emancipation from damaging colorist, racist, societal standards of beauty. If you’re not going to love yourself in a society which doesn’t cherish people who look like you, then who will? Lee Michelle finds this answer within herself, which is a theme echoed by the music video.

[image description: an image still from the “Without You” video of a young biracial [black-Korean] girl]

In the video, a young biracial (mixed black-Korean) girl is shown walking down the street before she lingers on the image of a black graffiti figure. As she peers at the figure, she suddenly begins to run, being chased by an unseen monster. I saw this as representative of the unseen, but pervasive societal pressures pushing her from accepting herself, her blackness and her features, even at that young age.

Being chased into a shelter, she then proceeds to draw many figures with dark features on the wall. Staring into a mirror, she then proceeds to powder her face white and put on lipstick. A white-washed version of Lee Michelle then appears on camera with a light powdered face, red lips and straightened hair to evoke an image of the person this little girl “aspires” to be—an image crafted in the crucible of societal beauty standards that denies her as beautiful the way she is. The little girl begins to weep. There is ultimately no joy or happiness in self-rejection and hatred.

[image description: A screencap from the “Without You” video of the young biracial girl crying with white powder on her cheeks and bright red lipstick on her lips]

This all comes full circle at the end of the music video when this little girl begins to throw paint balls at a colorless portrait of Lee Michelle. This scene evoked for me the acceptance of oneself regardless of your skin color and in the face of interlocking systems of domination which deny you your agency and being. The ecstasy on the little girl’s face as she throws each paint bomb and asserts this again and again is so indicative of this. To complete her journey to self-love and actualization, she then walks through a magical door of light, which appears on the wall she just painted, and approaches an adult Lee Michelle. They look at one another and smile and Lee Michelle sings “Without you, I’m alright” one last time.

A message of self-love indelibly crafted which will resonate with people who suffer from colorist and racist standards of beauty across the globe. A moving video, and I wish Lee Michelle the best with this promising start to her professional career, and I am incredibly glad that YG Entertainment no longer has their hands on her, given their history of antiblackness. Congratulations, Michelle!

 I would like to thank all of my followers who took the time to send me links to this video and made me aware of it. You’re the best!

Related articles:

+ Kpop’s Top 10 Racist Moments of 2013

+ How problematic is the kpop world? (Master post)

+ Tasha Yoon-Mi Rae’s “Black Happiness” music video

+ EXO’s colorism and denigration of Kai

Watch on spokenelle.tumblr.com

A Dark Skinned Girl’s Response to Lupita’s Oscar Win

"And I don’t think I realized how much I still hurt until Lupita won tonight…”

Twitter: @spokenelle 

Instagram: @daley_dose

Straight Outta Compton Casting Call Is Racist as Hell | Gawker

Universal Pictures is hard at work on the film Straight Outta Compton, an N.W.A. biopic set for release next year. The movie is happening with the cooperation of heavyweights like Ice Cube and Dr. Dre. Here is a casting call for the film that went out yesterday.

This casting call was posted yesterday by Sande Allesi Casting, an agency that has posted several casting notices for the film:

SAG OR NON UNION CASTING NOTICE FOR FEMALES-ALL ETHNICITIES- from the late 80’s. Shoots on “Straight Outta Compton”. Shoot date TBD. We are pulling photos for the director of featured extras. VERY IMPORTANT – You MUST live in the Los Angeles area (Orange County is fine too) to work on this show. DO NOT SUBMIT if you live out of the area. Nobody is going to be flying into LA to do extra work on this show - and don’t tell me you are willing to fly in.

SAG OR NON UNION FEMALES - PLEASE SEE BELOW FOR SPECIFIC BREAKDOWN. DO NOT EMAIL IN FOR MORE THAN ONE CATEGORY:

A GIRLS: These are the hottest of the hottest. Models. MUST have real hair - no extensions, very classy looking, great bodies. You can be black, white, asian, hispanic, mid eastern, or mixed race too. Age 18-30. Please email a current color photo, your name, Union status, height/weight, age, city in which you live and phone number to: SandeAlessiCasting@gmail.com subject line should read: A GIRLS

B GIRLS: These are fine girls, long natural hair, really nice bodies. Small waists, nice hips. You should be light-skinned. Beyonce is a prototype here. Age 18-30. Please email a current color photo, your name, Union status, height/weight, age, city in which you live and phone number to: SandeAlessiCasting@gmail.com subject line should read: B GIRLS

C GIRLS: These are African American girls, medium to light skinned with a weave. Age 18-30. Please email a current color photo, your name, Union status, height/weight, age, city in which you live and phone number to: SandeAlessiCasting@gmail.com subject line should read: C GIRLS

D GIRLS: These are African American girls. Poor, not in good shape. Medium to dark skin tone. Character types. Age 18-30. Please email a current color photo, your name, Union status, height/weight, age, city in which you live and phone number to: SandeAlessiCasting@gmail.com subject line should read: D GIRLS

Some people believe that Hollywood is often guilty of perpetuating and reinforcing harmful racial stereotypes.

(Photo Credit: Universal Studios)

Editor’s Note: Out of curiosity I decided to check out Sande Allesi Casting, and there are three names listed in the About Us section — Sande AlessiJennifer AlessiKristan Berona. All are white women. 

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