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Shes Pretty For A Dark-Skinned Girl

“She’s Pretty For A Dark-Skinned Girl…”

What does that even mean? So, because my skin tone is of a darker shade, that makes me less of a person? It’s crazy because nowadays they’ll judge you based on the colour of your skin rather than the content of your character. Why is that? Why does my skin tone have to define me?

As I look back, I notice a pattern or some sort of similarity in terms of the discrimination I’ve faced, due to me being of a darker shade. It was always a black person who’d belittle me or make me feel like I wasn’t good enough, whether it’d be by the names they’d use to address me or even by just the judgement they’d carry; It was always one of my kind who’d make me feel like I was too black to be beautiful, who’d make me feel worthless. I think that’s what hurt the most, the fact of who it was coming from, rather than what was actually said.

You see, I have this (BLACK) auntie, caramel skin, brown eyes and coolie hair. If you knew her, you’d know it’s very much her way or no way at all and in her eyes she’s always right even when proven wrong. The irony. She’d always address me as “blacky” knowing it made me feel some type of way. I must admit at first, I’d just laugh it off with a very uncomfortable awkward laugh because I assumed my actions were loud enough, but I know for sure the fake smile was more than visible. She was more than aware in my eyes. So, at this point I was convinced that it was either ignorance that was stopping her from seeing the bigger picture or maybe just simple lack of communication. I had to tell myself I was probably reading too deep into it.

Confronting a situation you’re uncomfortable with isn’t easy, so I’ve never really stood up to anyone when it comes to defending being of a darker shade, I didn’t know I had to. It started to hit home when it was coming from someone so close. I remember one day I finally spoke up and the response I got was “I can call you that, but if anyone else does of course I’d say something” and that was pretty much more than what I needed to hear, it gave me some sort of insight to the ignorant people I’m due to meet later on in life.

I remember when I was younger, I’d do every and anything to avoid being in an environment or even a situation, where my skin complexion could draw any type of attention or would be made a mockery of. They say prevention is better than cure, it got to a point where I’d only take certain roots to and from my destination; I’d avoid certain seats on the bus, because 9 times out of 10 I’d see the same bunch of rowdy school kids, who’d go to the back of the bus without forgetting to shout “blicky” as they’d walk pass. I’d even put head phones in with or without music being played and lower my head.

I used to live with this light skinned girl, she’d always joke about “hooking me up” with this special bleaching cream, little did she know the impact of her words and how that affected me in the long run. It doesn’t even stop there, it got so bad I used to tell myself; if I ever had kids, it would be with a Caucasian man and that’s only because I didn’t want my child to go through what I did. It wasn’t until then I realised I was the problem. I didn’t know how strong one’s mind is, with all those thoughts, I didn’t need anyone to tell me I wasn’t good enough, I was doing it for them. So, I went on a journey of finding myself and loving me first.

I hold my hands up, I was so ashamed of not my colour but of the shade.  I let a lot of things and people get to me, which made me feel like being dark skinned meant I wasn’t beautiful. I let social media get the better of me and I don’t think the young black music artist who always put us black women into different categories realise the message that sends. Black men fail to realise how much of an impact they make in our community as a whole and in my opinion, colourism is very much alive and is still a problem today.  Believe it or not dark-skinned women are the biggest victims to it.


So, this is to every young black female reading this today; Don’t let the same society that put us through hell, stripped us of our goods be the reason your made to feel some type of way. You’re beautiful no matter what shade you are. And you see that rich, dark, chocolate skin that you cover up daily with a foundation three shades lighter, that’s the same complexion that gave us our freedom today. You don’t need that NARS highlighter baby girl because your melanin’s popping. Understand that you’re a QUEEN! I can sit here and tell you this all day, but now it’s down to you to believe it. You’ve got to know you worth.




Shanelle Simpson


IG: @Shan.Carty

Twitter: @Shanelle_Carty

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