OPINION PIECE: 21st Century Black Girl

Hi, I’m a dark-skinned girl living it up in the 21st century. I know, I know… it’s not ground breaking news, but we still exist – real chocolate girls with melanin and natural glow. Why am I reminding you that we still exist? Well, I feel like we’ve become endangered, exaggeration intended. Too many of our dark-skinned girls are lost every day to the rapidly growing market of skin bleaching; with so many affordable products and even cheap knock-off brands it’s no wonder so many of us have fallen prey to the hype. I’m not one to cast blame on something other than our own mindset but we ought to hold social media accountable for its contributions to our women’s lack of self-esteem and the lack of representation of black (especially darker women) in the media.

For way too long we have endured hearing about the beauty of all other skin tones and hair types and not about ours. I mean, yeah I know we shouldn’t wait on others to tell us that we’re beautiful, we should clap for ourselves; but it wouldn’t hurt to see the media show more love to darkies.

Of course, the issue of skin color and its link to which shades of skin are classified as beautiful is something long lingering in our history, dating back to slavery (but let’s not go down that road). It’s 2017 and bleaching and hair relaxing have come to be norms in our society. I recently saw two young women who used to be my school mates and they are now unrecognizable, it’s insane. Yes, we do all have a right to our own choices but I have to admit, it’s hard to see beauty in someone and know that they don’t see it in themselves (especially other women).

But hold up, men have been bleaching/ toning their skins too; not calling any names (Alkaline & Vybz Kartel). Music, a key form of influence for young people today, has guided a lot of us (darker ones) to wanting to become what we Guyanese call ‘red skin’ and the sad thing is we don’t even realize the damage we do to our self just to be part of a trend or to be accepted into a false sense of what beauty is or should be.

EVERYTHING and EVERYONE is BEAUTIFUL!

Written by: Shanelly Wilson

Image Source: Niki Groove

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