Dark Women’s Revolution Pt.2

Folks who know me, know I love Lupita Nyong’o. The actress made her debut in the 2013 film 12 Years a Slave.  Nyong’o won an Oscar for her performance as PatseySince that time, she has appeared in several films, including this year’s Black Panther. In Panther, Nyong’o sizzled. Her dark skin shimmered on-screen and her kinky locs bounced with determination. When she strutted around in that green dress, I almost stood up and applauded.

“Yes, I’m beautiful. Don’t stare too hard.”

While I admire Nyong’o’s acting, I must admit, I’m obsessed with her fashion/beauty. It’s rare to see a dark Black woman praised in mainstream media. Usually dark Black women’s skin is used to play into stereotypes/negative connotations. I will never forget when the casting call for Straight Outta Compton’ was made public. The “D” girl roles were geared towards dark-skinned Black women. The characteristics that they were looking for included being “poor, out of shape.” It was a limited way of thinking about poor/working class dark Black women.

Besides Nyong’o, I’m a fan of model Nyakim Gatwech.


Gatwech is so fly to me. I love when she wears splashy eyeshadow (I’m the eyeshadow queen), and neon colored lipstick. As dark-skinned women know, we are often told not to wear bright anything. However, we have kicked that colorist nonsense to the curb. I’m going to wear orange, yellow, green, torquise…and I dare you to say anything to me.

As I’ve shared, I’m a reader of Divine Dark Skin. I’ve been learning about upcoming dark-skinned women, and gaining some great styling tips. It’s empowering to have a space that centers the voice/experiences of dark Black women. It’s a shift that’s been a long time in the making.

The revolution has begun! 😉

Dark Women’s Revolution Pt. 1

“Yo mama’s so black, when she wears orange lipstick, it looks like she’s been eating Cheetos.”–The Dozens

Recently, I shared I’ve been watching reruns of A Different World. The late 80’s/early 90’s show, centered on the lives of Black college students. It covered issues such as police brutality, homelessness, etc. I posted about a good episode that addressed the issue of sexual violence. The other day, another excellent episode aired.

Whitley (Jasmine Guy) decides to host an art collection, featuring images/collectable items of Mammy.  Her friend, Kim (Charnele Brown), finds the display offensive. Kim has a bad memory of a childhood incident, when she is referred to as Mammy by a teacher. It was during a costume contest at school. She’d been dressed as an African princess.

Things come to a head when Kim’s boyfriend, Ron (Darryl M. Bell) makes “Yo mama’s so black…” jokes in her presence. Kim is dark-skinned and full-figured. The jokes triggered old feelings of ugliness and self-doubt. As she tells a friend, “Women like me aren’t deemed worthy.” Kim also feels that Whitley (a lighter skinned/slender Black woman), doesn’t understand her pain. She sees the Mammy exhibit as an affront to her.

In typical sitcom fashion, Kim resolves all her issues, makes up with everybody by the end of the 30 minutes. However, I thought the episode was very moving and I found myself crying. The show made me reflect on my childhood experiences as a dark-skinned Black girl.

Continue reading “Dark Women’s Revolution Pt. 1”

Dark Girls Rock!

Years ago, I remember complaining on a blog that light-skinned black women singers were the new standard in r&b/mainstream music. At the time, Beyonce was at the height of popularity and record companies were following suit with their own “light girl” copies of Bey.  Another poster responded “Don’t worry, dark girls got next.” I guess things do work in cycles, because ten years later, it looks like dark-skinned black women are back in vogue again (how I hate saying that).

Whatever the reason why darker-skinned black women are making a comeback, it’s still exciting to see these women getting shine in black and mainstream media. I can only imagine the damage that has been done to little black girls with the constant white washing of black female images. I’m a grown azz dark-skinned black woman, and have to fight daily to keep my mind decolonized. The media works hard to make us all hate ourselves (they need us to buy products), but the hostility towards darker-skinned black women was getting  out of control. It’s refreshing to see a variety of images again in the media. This is not to say, all is better for darker-skinned black women. There is still an agenda to erase us, but we  are pushing through. Whether they like it or not. Heh.

The main person setting it off, is actress Lupita Nyong’o. Nyong’o is currently starring in 12 Years a Slave (I still haven’t seen this yet, for some reason):

Photo from: DuJour Magazine
Photo from: DuJour Magazine

Besides being gorgeous, Nyong’o received her Master’s degree from Yale School of Drama.  Nyong’o is seriously giving Anika Noni Rose a run for my new girl crush.  Man, I hate break ups 😦

Next, is my favorite new singer Laura Mvula. If you haven’t heard any of her music yet, you better ask somebody! She caused a bit of controversy with her music video “It’s Alright.”   In the song, Mvula scolds folks who criticize her for not being light skin.  On the cover of Pride Magazine, Mvula stated she was “proud to be an ambassador for darker skinned women.”

Photo from: Pride Magazine
Photo from: Pride Magazine

And last (but never least), is my girl Danai Gurira. She plays Michonne on The Walking Dead. So, that’s enough reason alone to give her props. She’s another babe rocking it for dark-skinned women. And she can wield a mean sword:

Photo from: atlantablackstar.com
Photo from: atlantablackstar.com

Shout outs to Adepero Oduye, Kelly Rowland, and Sevyn Street as well. Dark girls got it back on lock and we rocking it. It’s about time. it’s not like we went anywhere, anyway 😉