Welcome to my new website. I want to start by sharing a little excerpt from the book Americanah by Chimamanda Andichie with you. Some disclaimers before I do, I have crossed out the word American, where I feel it applies to blacks everywhere and not just the American black. Secondly this post in the book was Pre-Obama-presidential-term so it is explaining why dark black girls would love him to become president in future tense. Lastly I believe the post itself, gives Obama too much credit for picking Michelle, and Michelle not enough for being the woman she is. Other than that I loved this post and resonated with it so much which is why I needed to share it. It can be found on pages 248-249 of Americanah. Enjoy
Why Dark-Skinned Black Women- Both American and Non-American-Love Barack Obama
Americans proudly say they have some “Indian”. Which means thank God we are not Full-Blooded Negroes. Which means they are not too dark. (To clarify when white people say they are dark they mean Greek or Italian when black people say dark they mean Grace Jones.) American black men like to have their black women to have some exotic quota, like half Chinese or a splash of Cherokee.”
*note, in Africa this would be the same as men wanting their women to have some mixed blood* in other words…
“…They like their women light…. (Ohh and dark
American black men resent light men, for having it too easy with the ladies.) Now my fellow Non-American Blacks (referring to Africans) don’t get smug because this bullsh*t also exists in out Caribbean and African countries. Not as bad as with the American blacks you say? Maybe. But there nonetheless. By the way what is it with Ethiopians thinking they are not black? And small islanders eager to say their ancestry is “mixed”? But we must not digress. So light skin is valued in the community of American blacks. But everyone pretends that this is no longer so. They say the days of the paper bag test (look this up) are gone and let’s move forward. But today most of the American Blacks who are successful as entertainers and public figures, are light. Especially women. Many successful American black men have white wives. Those who deign to have black wives have light (otherwise known as high yellow) wives. And this is the reason dark women love Obama.
He broke the mold. He married one of their own. He knows what the world doesn’t seem to know: that dark black women totally rock. They want Obama to win because maybe finally someone will cast a beautiful chocolate babe in a big-budget rom-com that opens in theaters all over the country… You see in
American pop culture, beautiful dark women are invisible. (The other group just as invisible is Asian men. But at least they get to be super smart.) In movies dark black women get to be the fat nice mammy or the strong, sassy, sometimes scary sidekick standing up supportively. They get to dish out wisdom and attitude while the white woman finds love.
But they never get to be the hot woman, beautiful and desired and all. SO dark black women hope Obama will change that. Oh, and black women are also for cleaning up Washington and getting out of Iraq and whatnot.”
SO as a dark-skinned black woman, I have a few questions to ask. Did Obama and Michelle unknowingly achieve this with her time in the spotlight? Are dark-skinned black girls becoming more accepted as the leads in life roles? Or is she just an exception to the rule? I mean when we look at T.V we have to admit we have dark-skinned women taking on more prominent roles, an example being Cookie in Empire. Yet her role still has a lot of the angry loud opinionated black woman in it. Or the dark skinned woman becoming famous for playing a role where she just has a sh*ty life for lack of a better word; case and point Lupita-12 Years a Slave. Several other shows bring out this picture as well, like ‘Being Mary Jane’ and ‘How to Get Away with Murder’ to mention a few. It is beautiful that dark-skinned women are being embraced more as leads but we must honestly ask ourselves is there still a representation of them as only a certain type of woman? As mentioned in the post. Will the dark-skinned black girl never be the girl who falls in love, the coming of age teenager, or the one who has clumsy every-day life experiences which have a lesson at the end of each episode and of-course the ever present background audience laughing at her comic antiques in a way that reassures the dark-skinned little girl watching that she can be the norm? That her character in life doesn’t always have to be on the defensive?
I could go on to talk about the media and music industry in Africa not even giving the dark-skinned black girl the time of day but I will stop there for today. And shout out Michelle Obama’s dress at the state dinner last week. That woman is woman crushing goal slaying ass kicking life. She is beauty and brains and humour and heart, and guess what? She is a dark-skinned black woman.