after reviewing the culmination of messages i receive i’ve noticed you bitter betsy’s really are stuck on this classification of skin complexion in the black race. growing up i’ve always known i was black. my mom being half haitian and cuban, my father being trinidadian (chinese trini and indian trini parents). but to other people there was always a need to put a label on it. no one identified my father as black, ever. that confused me because my dad and i were always the same color, we were brown and my mom was a darker brown than us but overall we were brown. i’ve always been the “token black kid” in school, from extracurricular activities to school and being around so many white children they never ONCE referred to me as light skinned, brown skinned or even themselves as anything besides our race; black and white. whenever i hung out around black girls, they always asked me “your dad is white?” “ouuuu you got good hair” “oh he’s black? how your hair so long then?” “you’re lightskinned that’s why you’re pretty” and random strangers on the train used to tell my mom not to “perm” my hair. i never understood
since i can remember my mom ALWAYS instilled the fact that i’m a BLACK girl in my brain, when people asked what my nationality was my mom used to quickly say “we’re black american, that’s all” to see the look of surprise from people puzzled how we couldn’t be mixed with something. she didn’t do this because we were embarrassed by our heritage but to try to get people to accept BLACK GIRLS CAN GROW HAIR, BLACK GIRLS AREN’T BEAUTIFUL BECAUSE THEY ARE MIXED, BLACK GIRLS COME IN ALL SHADES.
i have always been in the acting industry since i was a baby my mom was bringing me back and forth to auditions, i always booked work as a biracial kid and again it confused me because my real parents looked nothing like the people i was posing with on set of “suzy so smart” or the perry ellis ad when i had a korean mom and black father, to the chuck e cheese commercial where my mom was black and dad was persian. these were what i was marketed as, i was never urban enough to play the “black” roles. audition after audition my hair didn’t kink enough to be the girl playing with the sasha bratz doll, i had to hold yasmine in the park scene. my managers always reassured me that it was a great thing, i wasn’t limited to roles, i was able to be racially ambiguous.
in 2007 i turned 16, i had a huge party planned wearing a ball gown by jovani (all staten island girls dreams lol) and i had these really strong tan lines from my summer trip to st croix, in the past i spray tanned for pageants and commercials so naturally i thought to go back and do the same. me being a junior in high school, ALL of my friends (i was the only black girl in high school, predominantly italian, irish, albanian & asian. i filled the latin and black quota at the time) tanned regularly and often held their arm up to mine showing off the fact that they were darker than me. i spray tanned for my party and was SO pleased with the results, i looked more like my mom i looked bronze i looked TAN! it was so affordable i started going more often, every other week on fridays after school at beach bum tanning salon. i got new headshots done and little by little i was being offered more jobs for girls of color, asked to wear my hair in it’s natural state i was getting this work.
it’s now five years later, i have stopped spray tanning. i use the UV bed for 8 minutes every other week. i know the harm and danger of it but hey we all have our thing and unfortunately that’s mine. someone has asked what my insecurity is and i’m finally admitting it is tanning. my boyfriend can vouch for me, there have been times when i rather cover up or find the time to tan before i see him in the past. when you’re used to doing something you get used to seeing yourself a certain way and no longer accept yourself without it.
now i HAVE toned down on the makeup, i used to wear concealer, full foundation, lashes, FULL FACE BRONZER on my chest as well, and i applied spray tan by laura mercier. now that i no longer do those things 1) it was so damn messy, got on all my clothes, people around me, i couldn’t hug people without leaving brown on them lol 2) SO EXPENSIVE to maintain that lifestyle 3) it was HORRIBLE FOR MY SKIN, i constantly was getting itchy and it wasn’t good at all; but nonetheless now that i don’t do those things you can see the difference. i am not back to my true skin tone because i still choose to tan twice a month and i will not stop any time soon, idc. but this constant bashing i’m receiving about wanting to be lightskinned is offensive, there are so many women ashamed of their tone because they want to be lighter, they want a straighter hair texture they want to claim being mixed. i’m not that girl, in this society you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. appreciate and accept the next girl, there’s a shitload of girls i can name who are NOT anon that ask me for skin bleaching creams or home remedies to look lighter because they’re not comfortable with their complexion. you guys are constantly making me feel like i have to label my color, i’m black that’s it end of story. i claim being a brown skinned goddess to the death of me when i don’t have to! and leave my boyfriend alone lol, when i met that man and his hand was the same color as mine the last thing i thought was YESSS i got me a lightskinned, both his parents dark skinned we all black at the end of the day!