The topic of colorism is becoming more and more widespread now than it ever has been. I’m extremely proud of that because I really think that needs to be talked about more and the people guilty of perpetrating it needs to be called out and held accountable. Especially since this topic is ignored, deflected against, and swept under the rug A LOT.
Although I’m happy about colorism being talked about more, I did notice one problem with it. When talking about it, most people only talk about how it affects black women. Rarely are there ever any conversations about helping dark skinned men be confident in their skin or protect them from being discriminated against or disrespected for their skin. When dark skinned men are attacked for their skin, there aren’t as many people defending them like they do with dark skinned women who are attacked.
Lots of people point out how dark skinned women are overlooked, undercasted, and poorly represented in Hollywood. Lots of people called out the black men who publicly took swipes at Lupita Nyong’o for her dark skin. Lots of people dragged Kodak Black into outer space for his derogatory comments against dark skinned women. Oprah did an episode about colorism on her Lifeclass show. GREAT episode, by the way. I loved how everyone got to share their experiences with colorism and how they tackled the issue. But there was one problem. WHERE WERE THE BLACK MEN?!? Tons of black women shared their stories with colorism on the episode, but where were the black men to share their stories with colorism? (To add, another thing I wasn’t quite okay with in the episode was how they laughed and joked when they started talking about the Paper Bag Test. There’s NOTHING funny about that! Still to this day, many black people are mistreated, disrespected, discriminated against, and undervalued because their skin color is darker than a paper bag. If we’re going to talk about this stuff, we have to take it seriously! Sugarcoating and making jokes is NOT the way to solve a problem).
I will use some black male celebrities here as an example to prove that nobody really cares about how colorism affects black men.
I believe this happened back in 2009. There was an altercation where Fabolous went at T-Pain because he thought that T-Pain made a tweet saying, ‘Fuck Fabolous’. In response to this, Fabolous sent out a series of tweets:
But thats jus a taste of what u’ll get if u fuck wit me via twitter, Back to my Twitter chillin
Ok so i jus got word that it wasnt Tpain’s twitter page who said Fuck Fabolous..a fake page, w/ 900 followers.. oooops, damn i went in LOL
F.Y.I. This is not a beef.. jus Twitter fun. someone retweeted that Tpain said Fuck Me on twitter & truthfully i dont know if he said or not
#tpainbetter chill cuz i will air this ***** via twitter
#tpainbetter thank me.. he’s #1 TT.. the only place his name gonna b #1 for a lonnnggggggg time!
#tpainbetter apologize & blame it on the al-a-a-al-a-al-cohol
#tpainbetter stop singin in the fan… that aint talent we can all do that
#tpainbetter audition to be a California Raisin.. He’s done!
#uknowhowiknowuregay cuz u do a song wit Lil Wayne & change ur name to T-Wayne…eeeel
#tpainbetter stop playin for JayZ buys every autotune machine in the world & end his career
#tpainbetter stay his ass outta the sun for the rest of his life!!
#tpainbetter give Mr. Monopoly back his top hats!!
#tpainbetter not meet me in Brooklyn
After D.O.A., #tpainbetter not be mad, UPS is hiring!!
Jus heard Tpain says Fuck JayZ & Fuck Fabolous too over Twitter… Ok, now me & my twiggas/Street Twitter Ditta Dam must go in on him!
It was later confirmed that T-Pain didn’t really tweet that and it came from a fake page. As you can see, Fabolous admitted it in one of those tweets in the series. Even after knowing the tweet was fake, he still didn’t stop or even apologize for anything he said.
And even if T-Pain did actually tweet that about him, why does ONE statement generate this type of response? Obviously something else is going on with him here and I believe I know what it is, but I’m not going to get into it here because I feel like it will shift the focus of this post.
In one of the tweets, after realizing it wasn’t really T-Pain who made the tweet, Fabolous said he said all this not to diss, but for “fun”. This is what happens when black men get attacked for their dark skin. It gets classified as “fun” and people dismiss the blatant colorism because of it, thinking, “It’s just a joke”, “We’re just having fun”, etc. And I think this is one of the main reasons why no one speaks out against colorism against black men. But people, colorism is NOT funny!
And speaking of funny, I don’t even think anyone defended T-Pain against Fabolous for saying any of this. They just thought it was funny. Were T-Pain a dark skinned female celebrity Fabolous was saying all of this to, black Twitter would’ve definitely DISMEMBERED him and nobody would’ve cared that he said all that just for “Twitter fun”. As a matter of fact, I think him saying it was just “Twitter fun” would’ve made black Twitter angrier if T-Pain were a woman! Especially in this day and age when black women are being defended more against colorism than ever before.
Even though he doesn’t talk about it much, like most black men when it comes to colorism, T-Pain talked about how record labels rejected him because he wanted to be an R&B singer. They believed he would be better off going into rap. I believe they did this because he was a dark skinned man with dreadlocks. They thought he would be better being a thugged out rapper. Most dark skinned rappers had thuggish or threatening images. Think the likes of 50 Cent. I just don’t know why Hollywood is so bent on portraying our dark skinned men this way. He was obviously being discriminated against because of his looks, colorism, and racism. People don’t want to look at it this way, but it’s so obvious.
Akon is another black male celebrity that gets attacked for his dark skin quite a bit. I’ve heard lots of rappers say, “My car black like Akon” in their songs. If I hear another rapper make that stupid line in their raps, I’m going to lose it! On his Behind The Music episode, Akon mentioned how he would get into a lot of fights in school because he was picked on a lot. And I’m sure he was picked on because he was dark skinned and African. We know how a lot of black people believe all of America’s negative, racist portrayals of Africa in its media and respond accordingly. Even his mother who featured on the episode said that kids used to call him names, like “African Booty Scratcher”. We ALL know that’s a word black people use to attack someone who’s dark skinned. (Don’t try to deny it! Nobody has ever called a light skinned or mixed person that!)
And Akon has a brother named Bu who gets attacked for his dark skin as well. Look up his interviews on YouTube and read the comments. I’m happy that there were some people defending him, but the amount of colorist remarks in the comment sections on his videos are still just downright disgusting! With some of the comments I’ve seen, you would think that there were a bunch of racist white people trolling his page, but I know for a fact that most of those comments were from other black people.
A while back, there was one comment I saw on one of the videos that complimented his skin and said it was beautiful and lots of people responded to it negatively. What was the negativity about? Because someone thought a man’s dark skin was beautiful when they considered it ugly and it made them feel some type of way? No one would’ve responded to that comment negatively if he were a woman. They would agree and call her a melanin goddess and say things like, “Black don’t crack”.
If you can remember and think back, Bernie Mac was the brunt of quite a few jokes about his skin color in movies and TV shows.
I’ve heard people make remarks about Wesley Snipes’ dark skin as well.
And we all know Biggie’s line where he said in one of his songs that he’s “BLACK and ugly as ever”.
Tommy Sotomayor talked in many videos about how he was teased for his dark skin growing up, even by his own mother (That’s a HUGE thing to talk about as well when talking about colorism. A lot of this nonsense starts AT HOME, where dark skinned people’s OWN PARENTS and FAMILY MEMBERS make negative comments about their dark skin). He mentioned in one video that the first woman to compliment him for his skin in his life was a white woman (That’s a shame. As much as us black people complain about white people being racist, I shouldn’t be hearing any stories like this, but here we are).
Now, think about this. Have you noticed the amount of dark skinned male celebrities who have stage names where they’re calling themselves black? For example: Kodak BLACK, BLAC Youngsta (his is spelled without a ‘k’), CRISPY BLACK (This is an actual rapper’s name! Look it up! It surprised me too!), Michael BLACKson. And let’s not forget that almost every black person knows that one dark skinned man in their neighborhoods nicknamed “Black” or “Smoke”.
Is there a coincidence that all these black men are dark skinned and calling themselves “black”? How many light skinned or mixed men refer to themselves as “black” as a nickname or stage name?
And since I mentioned Michael Blackson, his whole gimmick in comedy is surrounded by making jokes about his dark skin and being from Africa. On his social media, he “jokes” with people who go back and forth making jokes about his dark skin and being African. I believe comedy is his way of dealing with his pain of experiencing colorism and being attacked for his dark skin and being African all his life.
I see this pattern with many dark skinned men. I believe they were attacked and discriminated against for their dark skin for so long, they began to make fun of and attack themselves. I believe this is their way of dealing with their pain. This is why we see so many dark skinned men nicknaming themselves “Black”. This is why we see dark skinned men make so many dark skinned jokes about themselves and other dark skinned people. This is internalized racism.
When the topic of colorism comes up, especially when it’s time to talk about black men, I hear a lot of people say, “It’s not about colorism”, “It’s not that deep”, “It’s just jokes”, etc. All of these sayings are FALSE. They are all excuses. All deflecting. All gaslighting. All lies. All lame.
Another thing I’m tired of is when someone does point out how America is more discriminating and unfair, particularly within the justice system and with police, moreso with dark skinned men than anyone else, someone always has to respond with, “They treat light skinned men like that, too, because we’re all black”. This is another blatant lie to minimize colorism against dark skinned men, especially in the justice system. Dark skinned men are more likely to get harsher prison sentences for a given crime than anyone else. Dark skinned men are more likely to be killed by police than a light skinned or mixed man. Look at the news! All or most of the unarmed black men that Black Lives Matter is fighting for justice for that police have killed are dark skinned. We all know this. Why are we so dismissive and acting so blind?!?? I just don’t get it!
I believe people try to minimize colorism against dark skinned men because they want to uphold the belief that dark skinned women have it worst. And that’s just NOT true. All dark skinned black people, whether they’re a man or woman, experience colorism. People just don’t see it because men handle it differently and society handles it differently.
We really need to start including black men in discussions about colorism and allow them to share their stories and experiences with it. And black men also need to not be afraid to express these feelings and stories because I do think a lot of black men are afraid to talk about how colorism affects them. Maybe they feel it will make them look weak. Maybe they feel the topic hits too close to home.
I dont even know how or why colorism came about to only focus on black women. Maybe it’s a tactic used to turn black men and women against each other? Maybe it’s because black women want all the attention to be on themselves? I just don’t know.
We will only be able to heal if we talk about these things instead of denying it or sweeping it under the rug. Think about any other problem in life. You can never fix it unless you acknowledge and identify it first. Ignoring, making excuses, denying, and lying to yourself about the problem doesn’t make it go away or make it not exist. It makes it worst.
This colorism that dark skinned men experience is probably a huge reason why many of them overlook or find dark skinned women unattractive and prefer light skinned or nonblack women. As much as black women complain about black men overlooking them, especially if they’re dark skinned, many dark skinned black men have been overlooked, rejected, and put down by black women as well because of their dark skin; they just don’t speak out about it much.
I believe that dark skinned men who overlook and talk down about dark skinned women actually hate that the woman reminds them of how much they hate their own skin tone. Also, I think they may seek out light skinned or nonblack women because they don’t want their children to experience what they experienced in their lives due to dark skin. If they date or marry a light skinned or nonblack woman, chances are their children will come out light skinned.
I really hope we can start including black men in our conversations about colorism very, very soon because these stories I highlighted in this post as well as many others I’ve heard and witnessed throughout my life really break my heart. I’m saddened. I’m hurt. I’m disgusted. We really need to resolve all the colorism issues between all black people. It’s not normal at all for our people to have these types of stories and nothing gets done about it. Or we pretend that it’s not that serious and it’s all in their heads.