By Xion Abiodun
As we get older, we start to understand the world we live in. As a young Black woman in America, there are many things I did not pick up on until I got older. Let’s take mainstream music for example. A YG song got taken off of youtube for being offensive towards Asians, how come Black people don’t get that same treatment? There are many songs, by many artists, that are very offensive towards unambiguous Black women. When this topic is brought up, it is usually dismissed and those who bring it up are deemed “angry Black women”.
Let’s take Netflix for example, have you ever realized that in most Netflix originals the “Black” lead is usually bi-racial? Not to mention they are usually Black and White and that is the only “Black” girl character in an all white/non-Black cast. Recently Netflix has been under fire for this, in the Black women community. Many Black women have been participating in online conversations about this, and have started cancelling their Netflix subscriptions, because of this.
Why is it that when Tv stations, or streaming services, cast a Black woman in a series she is usually Bi-racial? Why is Bi-racial the representation for all Black women? I get that when someone is mixed with Black, they are considered Black, but that should not be the case for mainstream media. It has come to the point where we need to explicitly state to these casting directors that Black women, and Bi-racial women, are not the same thing.
Vanessa Bell Calloway, the woman who played Imani Izzi (the lady who was supposed to be Hakeem’s wife) in Coming 2 America, recently spoke about her experience on the set. She said that colorism was the reason she did not get the lead role in Coming 2 America, and I definitely agree with her. “That’s something that we’ve always dealt with, within our race: A lot of men were indoctrinated by having a white woman or light-skinned woman on their arm,” she continued. “I didn’t want the part of Imani, I wanted to be Lisa — I had read the script and I wanted the bigger role. I just wasn’t light enough,” she says. “Even though Eddie had the final say on who played Lisa,” said Vanessa Bell Calloway to the source.
Vanessa Bell Calloway is not wrong, this is definitely a problem in the Black community, as it is in Hollywood. There are many rap songs out there, made by Black men, degrading unambiguous Black women, while uplifting light skinned/ambiguous Black women. In fact many Black men who have made it as rappers or famous sports players are colorists, and texturists, and very open about it. For example a few years back Chris Brown was called out for not letting dark-skinned girls into a venue. In a public interview a few years back, Kodak Black stated that “I love African American women, but I just don’t like my skin complexion. We too gutter, light-skinned women [are] more sensitive.” He even posted a picture of Lupita and Zendaya and captioned it “Me and bae”. Why is it that dark skin women or unambiguous Black women can openly be disrespected, time after time, and it is just a “joke”? Do not get me wrong, all Black men, do not degrade or dislike unambiguous Black women, but a majority of Hollywood does, and that is what is being pushed in the mainstream media. As a society, we need to be more mindful about this, and the damaging psychological effects it has on Black women.