When I think of countering skin tones in terms of colors and feelings I think of black people vs. white people. In regards to the portrayal of skin, media has illustrated a desire for white skin. Everything associated with white skin is portrayed as better. Unfortunately, this raised and still raises a pandemic amongst young black people as they are forming their identities. They become affected by this and want to be white or have white features as illustrated in Ng’endo Mukii’s video “Yellow Fever.” Sadly, some people go as far as bleaching their skin to accomplish a lighter look.
Although, I believe that this issue was caused by the historical praise of white skin, there is also a prominent desire from dark skinned black individuals to be light skinned. I can remember as a child when I thought my light skinned friends were prettier than me. I remember roughly scrubbing my friend’s darkskinned baby sister during her baths so she wouldn’t become darker. I remember feeling disgusting with darker skin after running out in the sun too long. I remember seeing older ladies put certain crèmes on their face to make their skin lighter.
This idea that there is a particular shade of skin tone one needs to achieve in order to be “beautiful” is detrimental. As we are fighting to be respected as human beings, we need to remember that within our own diverse shades of blackness there is beauty all around us. If you are dark skinned you are just as beautiful as your light skinned brothers and sisters.
Here are some beautiful photos of individuals with the darkest skin by the magnificent photographer J. ‘Quazi’ King. For more of his photos you can check out his site at http://quazimottoonwax.com. You can also follow him on Twitter, and Instagram.
A photo posted by J. “Quazi” King (@quazimottoonwx) on