Fashion & Lifestyle Magazine

Colour complex in our African communities

Around the world there has been a correlation with skin color when it comes to beauty.  Colonization and slavery of various racial groups  led to the belief of one skin color dominating another.  This is a thought that has continued long after slavery was abolished in many nations.  Many cultures believed that very pale skin was more attractive because it meant you were wealthy and did not have to work outside in the field or on a farm.  That standard of beauty has transcended through time and there are still many who believe that lighter skin is better. In some countries like India and Ghana, skin-bleaching creams are the best-selling beauty products among women.  In 2008 the skin-whitening business earned and estimated $43 Billion.  I have spoken to Indian women who have said that when it comes to marriage, a man usually looks for a woman with fair skin.  Even in many Bollywood films you will notice that the leading ladies usually are lighter skinned.  In Hollywood it is rare to see a dark-skinned Black woman in a leading role of a mainstream film. Very few females like Angela Basset, Tina Turner got to play in some big screen movies. For the most part Black actresses like Halle Berry, whose skin is fair, are given leading roles that appeal to a mainstream audience.


In the Black community there has long been a complex regarding skin color.  Lighter skinned women have been preferred and sought after as more beautiful.  In fact there have been Black men who have stated they prefer light skin women.  There are some who actually have stated they didn’t think dark-skinned women were attractive.  As a dark-skinned woman myself, you often get to hear how pretty you are for a black girl. The ‘pretty for a dark girl’ statement is perhaps one of the most twisted comments I have heard.  I believe that the men who have said this actually think it is a complement.  But really it’s like saying dark people are not attractive so, one is lucky that despite being dark one is pretty.  It’s just ridiculous. Multiple Skin tones among Blacks still is a source of tension when it comes to beauty and acceptance. This is one issue that is very complex, deeply rooted and will likely not go away.  It’s not easy to change the way people think when it’s been part of the psyche for decades and even centuries. I believe everyone has beauty in them regardless of what the color of skin may be.  Every human being was made to be who they are and I think there is beauty in us embracing all and loving all.  Once we can do that, we will see the change.  If we don’t, it will remain the same.

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