Our Black is Beautiful

Image provided by: Oyelola Toyosi

Image provided by: Oyelola Toyosi

-- This is an opinion editorial by Shyan Bell -- 

If you were to travel to different countries, you would notice that the standards of beauty differs from every place you visit.  The concept of beauty is based on preference or the media's exposure of it.  In our society, the media exposes us to these beautiful women who generally tend to have a light complexion.  Whether you're flipping through a magazine, surfing channels, or just scrolling down your Facebook page, you would typically see the glorification of light skinned women.  But, what about the dark skin ladies out there?  Oh, that's right, they're either being slandered or become the head of a joke.


If you haven't guessed it already I'm here to shed some light and share what I think about the  "light skin vs. dark skin" topic and debunk any false perceptions that people may have.  Social media is a key factor that helped the rise of the light skin vs. dark skin war.  Current memes and images with the caption, "light skins are winning" or "dark skins are winning" often leads to a division of skin color in the black community.  The term for this is colorism and yes, I do believe it exists among the African American community.  Colorism is defined as the practice of discrimination by which those with lighter skin are treated more favorably than those with darker skin.


Typically, women with lighter skin are seen as more desirable, prettier, nicer, and receive more positive attention, whereas women with darker skin tones are "ratchet", loud, less attractive and mean.  In a recent tumblr post made by The Afrocentric Baydestrian, they ventured beyond the depth of colorism and provided examples of how light and dark skin women are portrayed in the entertainment world. http://afrocentricbaydestrian.tumblr.com/post/141743738295/the-angry-dark-skin-friend-theres-a-common.  This further proves that colorism does exist and we need to fully realize that we have to work together to dismiss those ideas.

We're forced to believe that in order to be considered desirable we have to have the same skin tone as Beyonce, Rihanna, or any other light skin celebrity that is idolized.  This often leads women to purchase topical treatments to lighten their complexion that often damages their skin in the long run.  By doing this woman ruin their self confidence and succumb to society’s false perception of beauty just because they don't realize their self worth.  A prime example of a women who altered her appearance in order to consider herself to be beautiful is Lil Kim.  The American born rapper was recently seen sporting an unnaturally light complexion and dyed hair, which raises the question, was their something wrong with your skin color before?  


It baffles me to see beautiful black woman feel like they're cast out in the shadow because they believe that their dark skin is ugly and resort to lightening their skin to feel accepted.  Being lighter is not synonymous to being pretty.  In reality beauty has no color and that is something that needs to be stressed.  We are the future and I believe that it is up to us to begin to support one another instead of tearing another person's confidence by berating their skin color.  In the end we all need to lift each other up and stop belittling someone or making jokes based on the pigment of their skin.