“Dipped in chocolate, bronzed in elegance, enameled with grace, toasted with beauty. My lord, she’s a black woman.”
-Yosef A.A. Ben-Jochannan
We’ve all heard it before, “black is beautiful!” and I believe that and fairer or lighter skinned isn’t all that’s beautiful. I think its beautiful in all its shades.
Living in South Africa I’ve gotten what some might consider a compliments, I just find it offensive and it goes like this, “Wow, I can’t believe you are Zimbabwean, You are beautiful”. I always ask what that means because I don’t believe in allowing someone to say things that are either ignorant or insensitive and allowing them to get away with it and their response is always almost the same “You are light skinned!!”. Like seriously, what the hell is that supposed to mean, is he or she trying to tell me dark skinned people aren’t beautiful. It upsets me!!
That’s why I’ve decided to talk about skin bleaching. That’s one example of the millions of insensitive, ignorant and honestly the most stupid things people say about people and their skin complexion. I believe bleaching your skin isn’t the answer to fixing the way you feel about yourself. At the same time I get it, I don’t support it but I empathise with the men and women out there who would rather risk their health and well being to be considered lighter or fairer. I mean for as long as the colour black is always associated with horrible things, do you blame them?
“For as long as we wear white to a wedding and black to a funeral, for as long as a black cat is bad luck or owning one is associated with witch craft”, do you blame them!
Let me be clear , this is not a message against light skin but a message for women and men to love their skin, no matter the shade or tone! I am writing this for all my black women and men, know yourself, you are beautiful/handsome. I find it depressing that we allow people to tell us the colour of our skin is a problem. Whether your natural skin tone can be described as dark/chocolate/fair/caramel embrace the beautiful chocolate hue that God blessed you with, indeed he made no mistakes. Learn to love yourself without a mirror or a complement.
They will always have something negative to say, sadly I think its human nature. You will always be too dark or too light. You will never be good enough to them so why give in to their criticisms.
Do you have that aunt who always has something negative to say about the way you look? I do, and at some point in my life I disliked her so much, then I realised it wasn’t me, it was all her. I doubt she even knows that the things she says are inappropriate or hurtful. So why should I spend so much of my time focused on her criticisms.
Most people get acne early in their teens. I mean for most of us that was puberty, and puberty was a mean bi*$h. My skin however chose a different root. The older I was becoming the worse my skin seemed to be getting. This aunt of mine, at a family barbecue (can you imagine???), says to me, “Eish Miriam, how is it as you grow older you growing uglier? I’m sure its meant to be the opposite. All this acne though.” She said this in shona and i’m glad you all aren’t being subjected to her facial expressions, which saves me because I cringe every time I relive the moment . She laughed after saying that, I think she was joking, I don’t know. I was so hurt by what she had said because it was something I was so self conscious about. My mum heard it and she said sweet motherly things to me **bless her heart** but it stuck with me and for a long time I was fixated with getting rid of acne and getting clear perfect skin, I still am…. That’s not all, this one guy at my high school once said to me “Miriam you are beautiful but you would look better if you tried using a face wash or something *insert disapproving look here* to get rid of all that acne,” (I mean the audacity these people have is insane, he just assumed I wasn’t trying. I laughed it off but it hurt my feelings), and these are again a few examples of the things I used to hear about my skin.
The reason i’m sharing my acne stories with you all is to show that I get it. People say the most hurtful things about our appearance that stick with us for life. We don’t mean for it to affect us the way it does but it does. I’m sure you’ve heard it all a million times, you’ve read the articles on the harmful effects of skin bleaching and skin lightening. Don’t ruin your health and well being by trying to conform to what some idiot out there believes is the way. It’s not his fault, like Tsitsi Dangarembga said, “It’s bad enough . . . when a country gets colonized, but when the people do as well! That’s the end, really, that’s the end,” he/she is colognised, educate them.
Don’t allow anyone to negatively affect your confidence in yourself, you are the way you and you are beautiful. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. You are an amazing soul, beautiful beyond measure, and whether your skin tone is light, dark or mixed, take pleasure and relish in it, because; Beauty comes in all skintones!!!!!!!!!!
Black becomes beautiful when we accept to be black, and appreciate being black. Indeed being black is unique and beautiful.
You are beautiful, its about you! Your health, your beauty and everything in between !!!!!
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