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21 more things = 42

The last post was the 21 things I KNOW at 42. At the end I said I'd consider writing 21 more things to make it 42 in total & then ...

Thursday

& Even Bigger Than Hair...

No...in conjunction with hair...

Is the issue of complexion. We're still brown paper bag testing despite barely being able to find 1 in a store. Besides getting chicks all up in arms about how much baby weight she should still be carrying, Beyoncé got tongues wagging again for her latest L'oreal ad. Apparently she breaks down, for the purposes of accurately matching her face paint to her body, what her full ethnicity is. This is NOT the 1st time we've heard 'bout her Native American & Creole blood. The issue, IMO, is that this typically comes up to justify hair or complexion. Many of us DO have Native American blood, even those of us who have no visible signs of it in the places most look: wavy hair & red undertones in your complexion. This practice of divulging one's multi-ethnic lineage was often used to seem a lil' mo' exotic than any ol' every day colo'd gal. Cuz who wants to be that? Right? Many years past the I'm Black & I'm Proud movement, we've had the entry & staying power of rap videos glorifying the ethnically ambiguous woman with all the T&A associated with Black women but none of the easily identified hair & facial features. It was yet another blow to "the blacker the berry" chicks, making them really question just how sweet their juice really is.

I'm not even worried about Beyoncé sharing, once again, her ethnic makeup. The problem for me comes in when it's necessary to lighten via foundation, skin bleaching, or photo shop to be more of that & less of the other. What's wrong with being all 3 of those things & STILL being the somewhat browner woman we used to know B as? As the notion of race continues to get challenged--& rightfully so since it doesn't exist--there'll be more & more people readily identifying every part of their genetics they can find. Some will search purposefully to find something to water down all this "Black" they've been uncomfortably rockin' their whole lives. Others will do so in an attempt to embrace who they are, which honestly, is exactly who they were yesterday. It's like the notion of discovering you were adopted & stating that you're somehow different now. Uhmmm, no; you're just adopted. You still belong to a family, your personality is still the same. You are officially OF the people who raised you, & always will be. You now have a few more layers, but you're STILL YOU! I promise. I have been shown the pictures on both sides of my family of the Native American members of our lineage. & it means...nothing. There's a history I'd like to know, but it in no way changes who I am. I'm not registering as Native American trying to be a card carrying "member." I'm not attributing the softer curls in my head to them. My assumption about my complexion is that I am the amalgamation of my parents & their parents & their parents & the way it chose to manifest this time around. We range from pale to olive in my families & it's ALL beautiful to me.

But that's just to me. That's not to say YOU don't see the beauty as well, but many don't, & that's disturbing to me. It was interesting & special this past summer to be in Venezuela during the conference for African Descendents. Gathered were people from different Afro-Latin countries who were a part of a movement to embrace the African part of their ancestry. Everybody ain't shame. Whatever the gumbo that makes you up, speak on that as part of the complexity of your heritage, but don't use it as a wedge to separate yourself from others, making them feel less than because they've still only been linked to a couple of field hands. There's much pride in that as well. Conversations are taking place, but as they happen, I need to see the spectrum of beauty broaden. I need to see ALL of these women counted as beautiful:

from this woman...

on to this on...

definitely this 1...

on to these ladies right here...

Stunning, all of them!! Hopefully we'll be more accepting of ourselves, & each other by extension, so we can stop having to hear, "she's pretty for a dark skinned girl," or "I don't like nappy hair, but it looks good on you," & other such ignorant statements. Then maybe B.B. won't have to feel guilty for being with a light skinned woman again...when perhaps he should set an example by dating a darker hued woman so the younglings can see it's OK. & then maybe I can stop feeling like I have to apologize to students & other grown Brownins for being light. Like Beyoncé, I wasn't consulted in the matter, & neither were you.

Watch us move...ever so closer to self love.

3 comments:

  1. That pic of Viola gives me fever!!!! Great post

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  2. As always, outstandingly stated...dammit girl...I just need you to write my first three sentences each day...that's all I want

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  3. Word, spoken just like a Pan-Afrikanist! It's like, yes, we are mixed with other races but our Blackness or Africanness predominates and we are proud of it!

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