Happy Monday Geeks,
I saw the trailer for the Dark Girls movie a while back and then again yesterday. Hence this post. I almost do not know where to begin with this topic! Sigh. I’m gonna try and not get too deep on you. Ok forget that! FAIL. I am just gonna give it to you like it is ( FYI I just deleted a paragraph of well written, poetic and politically correct prose! lol)
My mum is light-skinned Sudanese and my dad is dark skinned Sudanese. They are both beautiful. I came out on the darker side. I cannot tell you how many times I heard comments like the below, from a very early age:
“oh she came out on her fathers side, who told her mum to marry a dark skinned man”
“Maybe she will grow out of it and get lighter like her mum as she gets older, I’ve seen it happen, so and so daughter got lighter”
“one out of three is not bad (my youngest sister looks the most like my mum)”
I was lucky, I got the chance to leave Sudan. I had the opportunity to read and learn my history from all perspectives. I am blessed to have met people from all over the world who counteracted the above and spoke of how beautiful my skin tone is. I had the space to see for myself how beautiful we are in all shades, shapes and sizes. Eventually, I got over the early negative feelings associated with me, my skin, my person. I LOVE MY SKIN COLOUR, in-fact I love it when I have caught the sun and I am a few shades darker. Now when someone says to me “you came out on your fathers side” I say “Yes I did, and I love mine and my fathers complexion, thank you”
Here comes the science. Hope you are ready 🙂
Skin lightening is a huge problem in Africa, Asia, India and the Caribbean. Skin lightening (bleaching) cosmetics and toiletries are widely used in most of these countries. Currently, in the UK the rate of skin lightening is increasing despite many products being illegal. They are being bought under the counter and medical skin conditions are not being diagnosed. The active ingredients in these cosmetic products are hydroquinone, mercury (yes, mercury!!) and corticosteroids. Several additives (conconctions) are used to enhance the bleaching effect. Since these products are used for a long duration, on a large body surface area, and under hot humid conditions, percutaneous absorption is enhanced.
The complications of these products are very serious and are sometimes fatal, they are listed below. I want you to know them, so if you are ever in a situation that allows you to inform someone who does not know, you can. Scare the living daylights out of them if you have too, I do it all the time when I go home to Sudan, some of my cousins wont touch the stuff. Sadly, some ignore me and carry on using them. The pressure is immense. I continue to tell them they are dark and beautiful.
Dangers of skin lightening include:
Exogenous ochronosis (i.e bluish black discoloration of tissue and skin),
Impaired wound healing and wound dehiscence
The fish odor syndrome ( basically, your body stops breaking down some of the oils in your skin and you smell like a fish! literally, I met someone with this condition and it is no joke!)
Nephropathy (leads to diabetes)
Steroid addiction syndrome
Predisposition to infections
Endocrinologic complications of corticosteroids, including suppression of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis aka HPA (basically it messes up everything, as your HPA regulates stress, digestion, the immune system, moods and emotions, sexuality, and energy storage and expenditure!) Now why do you wanna go mess with that eh? O!
Here is the official preview for Dark Girls
Now listen to this to make you feel better, it worked for me 🙂
I have shared a bit about myself on this post, I hope you will share with me your thoughts? Leave a comment and let me know what you think of the trailer for Dark Girls. Gentlemen, I am especially interested to know your thoughts.
Knowledge is power, so share the knowledge.
Health, Love and Life
So sad but true that this is a huge problem in Africa, thanks for highlighting this bbl (beautiful brown lady) xx 😉
Let’s all continue to try educate our people.
Thank you for your comment Wafa and I am going to use BBL to spread the love Ex
There have been whole movements around African beauty (“I’m Black & I’m Proud” by James Brown, “Black is Beautiful,” etc.) and it makes me so sad that our collective still has such self-esteem issues around skin tone. I mean, a dark-skinned sista is the First Lady of America- which most would have recently thought impossible! And the clip with the little girl and the colored illustrations is absolutely heartbreaking. I have 3 chocolate-covered nieces so I hope and pray that they recognize how beautiful they are…
I’m from a family comprised primarily of dark-skinned people. But I’ve dated sistas across the spectrum- some who look like (what I would imagine as) pureblood dark-skinned African to some who aren’t easily identifiable as Black. This video makes me wonder if I have ever contributed to any dark-skinned sistas’ skin tone issues simply by virtue of being out in public with a light-skinned sista (?). Or if dark-skinned love interests whom I’ve crossed paths with in the past thought that things didn’t work out, in part, because they were dark-skinned?
The enduring legacy of slavery and imperialism is a very very real thing.
Thank you for commenting Molaundo. You make a really interesting point as from my personal experience as a young lady growing up, in the 90’s, in London at least, I know that the “light-skinned” sisters were “preferred” to the dark skinned sisters. But it was the same for the Ladies, the light-skinned “pretty” boy usually got more attention. It was very hard for me to wrap my head around the concept. Fast-forward 12 years and it is still something we struggle with as a community. The enduring legacy of slavery and imperialism is very real indeed.
Thanks for highlighting this mega-important issue. Hair and skin are two massive areas that a significant proportion of black people are struggling with. I just returned from the Caribbean a few days ago and it upset me to see a large poster at Trinidad airport advertising skin bleaching cream. *sigh*
Thanks for the comment Keebs. We need a new poster campaign world-wide dear and we will rise to it, I am sure Ex
as a particularly vibrant red head (read ‘ginge’) i just have to sense the sun through drawn curtains before i start to go a bit pink – the i’ve been up to mischeif sort of flush. actually going out in it’s another matter and nigh impossible with out a generous caking in spf50 – i repeat spf 50 – which doesnt rub in very well let me tell you! the consequences are worse though; blistering skin which clashes with your hair = not a good look.
and yes, my freckles are nice but invisible under ambre solare / peeling skin / the huge hat that princesss margaret would be jealous of.
i envy more practical skin tones. embrace x
Thank you for your comment Katy. Keep on embracing the spf5o and red hair, it is naturally beautiful 🙂 Ex