In the past couple of years, I’ve been experiencing problems with colorism within my age group. I would say between the ages of 21 and 24, establishing who you’re going to be, who you’re going to spend time with, and what you’re going to do when you go out. I live in Washington D.C., so it’s a very vibrant place to party, and there are so many options when it comes to going out.
My most recent experience was at Howard University’s homecoming. I was going out with one of my friends, and my friend is brown skinned. She’s very smart, quirky, and she and I just have a good time together. I invited another one of my friends, another brown skinned young lady who is also very smart and well traveled, both women are really great people to be around, they’re my cup of tea. I have a few other friends who I would say are more girly, fairly lighter, and have nice shapes. If we all go out together as a group, we’re definitely head turners. One of those friends has freckles and curly hair, and she also came with her brother and some of his friends. When we all met up, she told me that her brother had turned his nose up at my brown skinned friends, I guess because they weren’t the type of girls he wanted to be surrounded by. We ended up splitting up, and I went to grab something to eat with my lighter friend. She told me, “Don’t be mad, but my brother wanted to split up with us because of the two girls you brought with you. You need to hang out with bad bitches at all times.” So I thought about it, and I ended up hanging out with her and the girls she invited, when I knew that I genuinely wanted to hang out with the two people that I invited. When I was with the “head turners” we just kind of stood around and just looked at each other. Some of the girls didn’t really speak to me, I felt out of place. I started to reflect on colorism, and I thought is it really worth it to try and place yourself in a circle with girls that look a certain way? It may be beneficial if I’m going out, but is it really wroth sacrificing hanging out with friends I have SO MUCH fun with? That’s not to say that one group is more fun than the other, but for what I gave up, I don’t know if it was worth it.
My Mom is very light and has curly hair, as well as a lot of other people in my family. Growing up, I kind of resented the fact that I was brown and that my hair didn’t feel like theirs, and it wasn’t curly “swimmers hair”. I struggled trying to fit in with my Mom, and tried to make sure I was always cute like her other friends’ daughters. When I was younger, people would assume my hair was a wig because they were super perplexed as to how a black girl could have long hair. I first experienced colorism in middle school. The first woman I compared myself to was my Mom, and also the Latina girls that went to my school.
I want to reject the idea of colorism because I want to be a black queen and embrace my color and embrace my hair texture. Normally, I wear my hair out in a fro, and I just feel so free and so liberated. The only reason I wear weaves is because I feel the style is more appropriate in a work setting. If I had it my way, I would just wear a bush everyday, and just be super black and speak about black issues, and just always be that one person that speaks from a black perspective. Another thing was actually learning about my hair texture, and what works best for it.
What makes me beautiful is my ability to inspire others. People say that my drive and ambition is bigger than me. You can see God within me, and I can impact and bless the lives of others.