Does the term “redbone” offend you? How about when it’s used to confer a level of superior beauty or as a description of aesthetic preference? If you’re an Eric Benét fan, you may have already heard his single “Redbone Girl.” You also may be aware of the controversy it’s stirring.

The song, which features Li’l Wayne, is an ode to a former light-skinned paramour. The chorus is:

She’s my, redbone girl
A bitter sweet, but she’s my world
Coffee cream, thick and lean
My redbone girl, redbone girl, yeah
She’s my redbone girl
A bitter sweet, but she’s my world
Coffee cream, thick and lean
My redbone girl, redbone girl, yeah

This may seem innocuous enough. Benét himself doesn’t outright state a preference for light-skinned women in the song. The Li’l Wayne verse has folks a little more up in arms, with lines like, “I like the long hair thick redbone” and “I like them light skin, lighter than a feather.”

Journalist Akiba Solomon finds the entire song problematic:

“There’s a clear premium on light skin and on straight hair, whether it grows out of your head or not. I’m not a big fan of songs that fetishize dark skin, either. But you could argue that [the "dark-skin" devoted songs] offer some sort of resistance to the prevailing beauty standards. He’s attempting to be provocative. He’s pretending that he’s never heard about light skin preferences. Let’s not pretend that it doesn’t exist.”

In an interview with CBS Local, Benét defended his song and even went as far as to claim that those who took issue with the song were engaging in a “form of racism”:

“I think it’s its own form of racism. I did a song called ‘Chocolate Legs’ about my experience with a dark-skin lady. There was no anger or uproar of ‘How dare you.’ So ‘Redbone Girl’ is one song about one experience about a girl who happens to be light complected, but there was quite an uproar.”

Allegations and blatant instances of colorism are nothing new in the worlds of R&B and hip-hop. Two years ago, Wale was under fire for neglecting to cast dark-skinned models in his video for the song “Pretty Girls,” which was seen as a particular slight, given the title of the song. In Benét’s case, he insists that the song refers to one relationship — and I’m willing to go with him there. When artists begin to censor and edit their experiences so as not to trigger backlash, they limit the work they’re able to produce.

Is Benét courting controversy with his comments about the song? Absolutely. And I can certainly understand why. Despite four Grammy nominations, his U.S. chart history and sales have never been very high. He can use all the press he can get. I’m most annoyed by his penchant for making these stock songs with “girl” in the title: “Poetry Girl,” “Ghetto Girl,” “Weekend Girl,” “Redbone Girl.” Now he’s talking about doing one about an Asian girl? Sir, quit that now.

  • http://AirInDanYell.tumblr.com Erin

    He couldn’t left Lil’ Wayne off the song if he didn’t want this type of controversy. It’s pretty much known that Lil’ Wayne has something against darker skinned women and he states his disdain on most of his songs by excluding them from his lyrics.

  • S.

    *shrugs*

  • flower

    Honestly as someone who is red bone I feel that a lot dark skin people are stuck on colorism…the first time I felt racism was not from a white person but a black person, on facebook the people who always talk about race are dark skin, the people who always call me names like light bright, red bone, yellow, mello yellow are all dark skin meanwhile I don’t call and never called a dark person a name and then dark skin people want to use the excuse its harder for them…its hard for light people too..white people don’t like us eiter cause were still black look at our president…i’ve never seen so much racism since he got elected, then dark skin people always want to make jokes with us

  • 726

    As a very fair skinned Black woman, I do get offended by the term ‘redbone’ or ‘yellowbone’. How it is used does not matter to me.

  • erica

    wow a song about the love of light skinned girls in a culture that clearly values light skin over dark skin, what a fucking revolutionary.

  • S.

    This ignorance will never end

    So if you don’t like it, don’t support it. Let’s move on…

  • Cee Cee

    I am not a huge Benet fan but I am not offended by the song. I agree with his view that if it has been a song about chocolate skin, like his previous song, no one would make a big deal. Dark skin and kinky hair can get all the compliments and praise in the world but say something positive about lighter skin or wavy, loose curls and BAM…all types of comments come flying about self-hatred and colorism.

  • Cee Cee

    Amen

  • Nadell

    Let the man sing about ‘redbone’ chicks. EB is not partial when it comes to love of women. He did praise ‘dark’ skinned chicks in “Chocolate Legs”.
    I think the backlash is because of Lil Wayne solely – and we all know his perception of women….

  • flower

    Thank you!

  • 726

    “What chu mixed wit?”
    “Ain’t you mixed? Somebody in your family has to be White!”
    “You look like an albino”
    “Where are you from?”
    “I’ve always known you were mixed with something, so what is it?”
    “Is your mom White?”
    “Aye, what’s up, light skin?”
    “The yellowbone girl waited on me.”
    “What do you know about racism, you’re light skin!”

    My experiences have been similar. It is always those who are brown skin or dark who make comments about my skin tone and never have I ever done the same.

  • NY’s Finest

    I think the problem is Lil Wayne. He could’ve done a song dedicated to a redbone girl all he wanted, but when u have an ignorant ass rapper who feels women who are darker, including his daughter are inferior to those who are lighter featured on the song, how are ppl supposed to react?

    I really don’t care what song he makes Eric Benet gets on my damned nerves. I wish he would stop singing in that fu**ing falsetto because it just doesn’t sound good.

  • Nicole

    With all due respect, it seems a bit catty to make a jab at Eric Benet’s chart history. I am actually not an obsessed fan of Mr. Benet’s and I certainly don’t own all of his albums but he is a respected artist with a solid history in the music industry. Quite frankly, Eric Benet could have ‘sold out’ years to ago to make the kind of mainstream music that would catapult his albums into the Top 100, but he hasn’t. He makes the kind of music he wants to make and appears to have that luxury. So to dumb down his backing of his own song and reduce to it mere ‘publicity’ is a bit out of touch. He made a good point: where was the outrage with ‘Chocolate Girl’?

  • Joseline

    So he can make a good song about dark black women, but not about lighter black women? Please! Hypocrite!!!

  • Joseline

    Exactly! They keep on pushing a willy lynch agenda.

  • erica

    give me a fucking break two can play at that game
    “burnt crispy”
    “ugly black bitch”
    “you’re pretty, for a dark girl”
    “i only date redbones/yellowbones”
    among other things. i’m getting tired of these “im light skinned, woe is me” comments when y’all have always been treated better and better represented than your darker counterparts.

  • erica

    i love how what could have been an interesting discussion on colorism in the black community turned into a circle jerk for light skinned people

  • L

    Damn, black people argue about the dumbest ish & it’s so depressing. We come in all shades and hues. Some people come out attractive, some people don’t. Attractiveness is not specific to a skin tone. And Lil’ Wayne?? He looks like a reptile…why anyone would be take offense to whether or not he found them attractive is beyond me.

    I think it’s embarrassing that people still have this mindset. The white man did a really good job fckng us up and we do a really good job making sure we stay fckd up!

  • Anansa

    Funny because my first time being mocked for my color was from a fair skinned boy. It can go both ways.

  • Pseudonym

    OMG! Finally an R&B song about our lighter shade sisters and it’s this corny mess?

    [empathetic face] I’m so sorry ya’ll.

    As a chocolate skinned sista, I have to say I definitely notice the disproportionate representation of all the shades when it comes to praising black women (in a non-degrading rap song in, say, R&B or neo-soul). Darker women get “chocolate,” “mocha,” even “brown-skinned” said in a sexy tone. All lighter skinned women get is “red bone” or “yellow bone” and are often referred to as girls, chicks, or b*s as opposed to “women.” Somebody tell me: what is sexy about the term “red bone?” I would like light skinned women to have their own “Brown Skin” (India Arie), “Brown Skinned Lady” (Black Starr) and candy-themed innuendo to sing along to, but this…WAS NOT IT!

  • OSHH

    I am not fan of Eric Benet at all or being called redbone but the man made an EXCELLENT point.

  • GlowBelle

    Preach!

  • Morning Rain

    I think that was the point – that it goes both ways.

  • comment

    I haven’t supported music by a black male rapper (other than lupe fiasco) in ages, so this type of thing just makes me laugh now. Lil Wayne is the worst minstrel of the 21st century, I mean really an embarrassment. Let them praise whoever they want in their songs, while ignoring their larger fan base — it’s free speech, but good luck staying rich that way!

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    I’m offended that up to now, folks take the little gremlin serious. That’s what’s upsetting. Other than that, eh, Benet did make a chocolate legs song why weren’t you guys up in arms. It seems he likes all kinds of hues, next it will be “Caramel Donk”.

  • GlowBelle

    @726 Spot on. I’ve (sadly) heard all of those before. Some of the cruelest comments I’ve received about my skin tone have been from dark-skinned Black people. It’s like I almost have to apologize for looking this way…so sick of colorism.

    @Erica Try walking in someone else’s shoes…you’ll find our feet hurt just as much as yours do.

  • Nicole

    YES! I agree 100%

  • NY’s Finest

    That always happens whenever colorism comes up, that’s why we’ll never get anywhere with this topic. Instead of listening and trying to understand what someone else is going through and is coming from it always turns into “well it goes both ways” and talking about how problematic it is to be light skinned, knowing damn well it ain’t the same.

  • That’smyname

    lol@ Caramel Donk.

    My goodness does the black community ever stop with the petty ish. Seriously, black people come in all shades, but they are still black people regardless to what shade they are. If anything black people should be mad about the separation regarding the different shades of black that is upheld in the black community (red boned, caramel, honey & dark skinned & whatever other ones there are). That is why we can never get along, we black people see ourselves as being different instead of the same, rather if it is based on: hair type, skin tones, body type & shape, facial features etc. It seems that we always find something to segregate each other and to outcast one another, it is disgusting, annoying and like someone above me previously said, it is depressing. I’m just happy that black woman are being praised no matter the shade of skin. Black is black and ALL black is beautiful.

    Lastly, I wish people would stop using the word ”racism loosely”, it is annoying, especially when it doesn’t apply.

  • Anon

    Can folks let go of the “willy lynch” whatever. The whole thing was made up anyway.

  • Dishon

    (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ …friggin black ppl I swear we will never overcome…Why the fudge does everything have to be about race….gaah, there’s always that group of BUTT-HURT black people that just won’t STFU about skin color…Complain about how white people are racist and in the same breath you’ll take crap about someone else of your own race because they’re a different pigment. Who gives a crap? It’s just skin people, it dies and turns into dust around your house and if you haven’t noticed dust is the same color. And when we die our corpse will decay and breakdown into tiny little granules of ash. *sigh*
    ┬─┬ノ( º _ ºノ) ….I’m calm now.

    P.S.
    whether you’re light skinned or dark skinned–if you’re ugly you’re ugly. boohoo,

    P.P.S – somebody won’t date you because of your skin color…..”So TF what?!” Get over it and move on to someone else, obviously their not for you….

    P.P.P.S
    Have you hung around those island dudes, apparently anyone who’s lighter than them are still “redbones” —it’s an “inside” black term of endearment/flirtation….ish ain’t that serious….

  • ChickenHead

    No one was complaining when my hunny Eric made Chocolate legs.This is no different. It’s a shame that his music is unappreciated by many. He is a great artist and sounds just as good if not better when singing live. His “lost in time” album was great. Love that man…..

  • http://diaryofasmalltowndiva.blogspot.com/ Petite Diva

    It does not bother me. I don’t think light skinned or dark skinned women need Eric Benet or Lil’ Wayne to tell them they are sexy. The solution to the divide should be that the black community teach each and every little boy and girl that they are precious no matter what shade they are. It begins with us. The world is so divided on so many things, let’s not let something as trivial as a little more pigment divide us. I pose this challenge: say something positive about both light and dark skin people to your children. I also challenge you to examine & analyze your views about light or dark skinned individuals and where your views are derived. Other than that, let’s celebrate our differences together.

    Petite Diva
    XOXO

  • isola

    Historically there has been a celebration of light skinned women as the ideal beauty, that is where the hurt stems from. Skin shade is still a sensitive subject with many people of color. You can tell just by the comments on here. Colorism is one of the saddest remnants of slavery in our society. The day we overcome this light vs dark issue, is they day we truly overcome.

  • lola_z

    lol@ African Mami!! lol… We see race when someone made a comment about Jay Z’s features. We see race when Eric Benet makes a song. We see race when EB doesn’t make a song..
    The problem I have is that when we focus on petty stuff like this, the real issues are also grouped into blah like this.. smh

    I mean if I were to go by this, I (a dark skinned, brown skinned, chocolate, mocha, whatever) would be mad that this song talked about my mom who would be considered yellow or my auntie. And then when EB had made the song about the “chocolate sista” or whatever it was, my mom or cousin, or auntie would be offended? WTH? SMH? Please stop w the petty stuff. This is funny…

  • lola_z

    +1 @ isola (not sure where this will post)

  • YB

    Lol @ the light skin ppl on this page acting like their privilege doesn’t exist or that being made fun of for being light equates to dark skin blacks facing harsher prison sentences, greater profiling, more discrimination in the workforce and so on and so forth.

    Y’all privileged fukks slay me, your crys mirror that of white folks. This coming from a light skin black person.

  • apple

    i wanna say something but i dont want to be one of those light skin circle jerk people so i guess keep calm and carry on.

  • 726

    Psshht. What is it you have to say, Apple?

  • DivaX

    Personally it’s a song it could have been made strictly for marketing purposes since blacks are with this color-ism ish now a days…and to be quiet frank as he stated “if” it had been about a dark skinned girl there would not have been a problem we all get praised sooner or later this song went to the red bones …get over it– try being happily in the middle color wise and drop dead gorgeous to a fault–and equally hated by red bones and deeper skin tones alike because you have just enough but not to much…..we need to come together as a ppl ….next topic plz

  • Libby

    Please who took chocolate legs serious? Both of this wives were biraical and probably his child’s mother. His new wife is Italian and egyptian. Only thing Eric like chocolate is a damn hershy. Hell heavy d made black coffee no sugar no cream ( he shouted out dark & lightskin girls in that song) and his child’s mama is italian.
    Please

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    Free speech will protect you, go ahead apple.

  • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

    Is “Eric Benet fan” an oxymoron?

  • Arcy

    This song closely resembles Louisiana Bell by Stephen Foster. Ew.

  • omfg

    poor little light girl.

    in a world (and community) that values lighter skin, it’s hard to sympathize. i mean, seriously.

  • Ms. Information

    Eric Benet is so 1997…..he needs some money so this is what PR people are paid to do…but his wife is not a redbone…she isn’t black at all…maybe he should do a song about Italian Egyptians?

  • Ms. Information

    yep………I don’t know one light skinned chick that would trade places with a dark skinned chick….

  • Ms. Information

    I like em brown yellow puerto rican and Haitian (ATCQ)………..include everybody in the song and you can sell to EVERYONE. Simple marketing black people.

  • Jaslene

    I would think so. Like jumbo shrimp.

  • Jaslene

    Well I don’t know what facebook you are looking at but I see light skinned girls posting also you can go on twitter and just hashtag #teamlightskin and see a those going hard for the lighter tones. If you say that its hard being light skin than okay but don’t act like its harder than being dark skinned because that will never ever ever ever be the case.

  • http://none get real people

    Eric don’t need your money he is he and is black Egyptian Italian wife and kids are living good in 2012 and will continue to live good with gods help.

  • http://none get real people

    I pray for idiots like you

  • http://beautyinbaltimore.blogspot.com BeautyinBaltimore

    Eric Benet is in desperate need of a hit. He, like most other marginally “famous” people will do anything to stay relevant.

    &

    Lil Wayne, well we no how that simple minded i*ot gets down.

  • Kim

    Didn’t know he still had a record deal. I have an idea. Maybe he can stick to singing about Latinas. My goodness. This mess is too funny!

  • Rosie (the first one)

    well, if anything we can see that this discussion is a master class on how insecure black women (of all tones) are. crabs in barrell.

  • Anthony

    If Eric Benet had made a song called “My Sexy Dark Girl,” no one would have said anything. It seems that we can’t wrap our heads around that fact that we are a heterogenous population in which some people are quite dark with very “black” features, and some of us look less black, and some look very “white.” The fact that African American beauty standards have been influenced by whites seems to me to be an unavoidable fact of history. We are a minority in a country where most people have different features that we do, and we have bred with that population majority population and it shows physically.

    My point is that I feel any positive comment about a woman’s beauty is wonderful. I am only worried when men or women belittle those with “darker or African” features.

  • Kim

    Is this Eric’s wife? LoL!

  • Temi

    A guy once told me the easiest way to rule women is to divide and conquer… I guess he’s right. Who died and made lil Wayne the authority on beauty. Most ladies would not touch lil wayne with a barge pole but he talks about ‘red bone’ whatever that means and we are up in arms

    Didn’t Tpain and Chris brown make a song that had lyrics “nappy boy and pretty boy” they made the song, made their money and moved on (to make songs about white/red/yellow bone
    girls lol)

    Black women please get a hobby and stop looking to this loser(s) for validation…

  • Serene

    If Dark skin women were always paraded as the love interest in music videos and Black and White film, and had a history of being the standard of beauty in our community since slavery, then Eric Benet making a song about chocolate legs would have caused an uproar. Yet, since the reverse is true, that’s why it’s problematic.

    If you turn your t.v. to any Black or White channel, it normally is the light skin/mixed Black person images we see when they represent Black people..

    There is no equal representation of light skin women vs dark skin women in the media. That’s like comparing White women’s representation to Light Skin women in the media. A big difference. Lets not pretend that there isn’t a difference in our community either, regardless if you had a horrible upbringing because you were light or dark, doesn’t change the privilege system that was set up for you based on Eurocentrism.

  • Ms. Information

    Eric has and never will get my money…he is played out and his music is wack…lol

  • Ms. Information

    +10000000000

  • http://Www.lovemoniquemusic.com MoMelody

    Okay Ladies look at the real Problem here! We have managed to let two insecure less than men based on their history turn against each other! Now dark skinned girls and light skinned girls on this blog talking about color! Eric Benet needed this! Let’s stop giving them attention please… Every time people wanna get seen they do some shit to annoy black women ! And by the way. … Light skinned girls he was talking about white girls ! That was just the safest way to say it! Y’all stop writing abo Lil Wayne on the Internet. Let everything he do go unnoticed !

  • http://www.soulseedtees.com SoulSeed Tees

    In the words of the late Rodney King, “Can’t we just all get along?”
    From a Black woman’s point of view I would have to say that it baffles me why any woman would want to represented as a video vixen. And to be in any “Lil Wayne” video would not be an honor to me, it’s degrading. If we are going to fight let’s make it for something deeper than skin tone. I am dark skinned but I do not feel any animosity towards my light skinned sisters and neither do I feel inferior. If ones self esteem comes from songs and videos than there is an issue of self esteem. I created a shirt strictly for this madness it reads, “Dark skin to light skin it’s all beautiful black skin.” Check it out at soulseedtees.com

  • Chika

    +1
    I swear some people don’t get it. Light skinned, dark skinned, or somewhere in between. BLACK people just have it hard. Period. Folks need to quit it with the oppression Olympics.

    “and Lil’ Wayne?? He looks like a reptile”
    *dead*

  • YB

    -1 Yes, we have it hard because we’re black but some people don’t have it As hard being they are privileged at being light skinned. Saying we all black is they same dismissive tactic white folks use when they exclaim, “We’re all humans, we all bleed red.” Its a tactic used by privileged people to dismiss the cries of the marginalised.

    They only people who need to quit wih the oppression Olympics is the light skin folks pretending that their pain is comparable to that of a dark skin persons. Puh-fucking- lease.

  • Samira

    Is this news? I wonder why no one cried about his Chocolate Legs song or India Arie’s Brown Skin? That’s becuase darker skinned people feel that the world is against them and the appreciation of anything other than their looks is a slight towards them which is totally false. I remember the uproar about Wale and his video and also his shoutout to Ethiopian and Somali women in his songs, AA women were in arms about it.

  • Gina

    Shouldn’t we just be happy that someone is praising the beauty of black women generally. I would say I’m more brown but in this world where white is seen as beautiful and anything less than a shade of tan is ugly-any song about OUR beauty is great. Yeah yeah, light toned women may be romanticized a bit because of skin tone but at the end of the day they are BLACK WOMEN. They are still just a nigger to white people. They would still be slaves (albeit working in the house) but slaves non the less. I swear, some of ya’ll make me think that you believe light skin/dark skin are separate races!

    I hate that little reptile Lil Wayne but the issue cannot solely be blamed on him. It’s within ourselves and the way we have let MEN (Not just black men either) divide our community just because of a preference that some men have about black women.

    Let me repeat, BLACK WOMEN. As a whole. A unit. Black bitches and Light skinned bitches too. I just want to be called a black woman someday instead of a bitch or a female. So can work on that ya’ll instead of this colorstruck bs?

  • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

    I see we have a stan in the house. Lol

  • http://gravatar.com/ohyeaohyea Meme

    I agree with you on everything except that Black folks, and others, will keep Lil’ rich for the rest of his life. Ignorance sells.

  • http://gravatar.com/ohyeaohyea Meme

    IKR, my reaction exactly. It’s a waste of breathe talking about race issues, anymore. It’s so-1988; so first seasons of ‘A diff’rent World’.

  • 726

    No love for the light skinned ‘sisters’ on this site.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mizzraynay Renee Aisha

    i think the reason why everyone is upset is him putting lil wayne on the song because lil wayne obviously suffers from colorism issues so to have him co-signing a song about “redbones” is giving ignorance a platform.

    at the same time, i think us black people need to realize, we might get upset about songs that praise light-skinned women because of our painful history and slight envy. no, i am not saying nor implying people want to be light-skinned, i certainly don’t i love my tone, but what ia m saying is that people are envious because being light-skinned is held at a higher regard and it’s something that divided our community for centuries but… at the same time, we also divide our community by feeding into the light-skinned women hate.

  • simplyme

    Any Black people out there that don’t self identify or identify others by skin shade??? *Raises hand*

    We come in a variety of shades. Not just light/dark. It really isn’t even a light to dark “gradient” because of all the varying undertones we have. Its just a bunch of colors. We even change colors/undertones with the seasons, the lighting, and sun exposure. Some days I look caramel some days i look more like peanut butter and some days I look more like chocolate. Its beautiful and its complicated. Thats why its so damn hard to find makeup.

    I wish people would stop trying to diminish that and classify people into this light skinned dark skinned dichotomy which the vast majority of Black people don’t even fit into. I went to the dmv earlier and saw loads of Black people… and guess what? Most of us are just some middle brown shade anyway… Its all such an irrelevant distraction if you think about it. I still don’t even know what “redbone” really means because everyone seems to describe it differently. Its dumb. Of course colorism exists… but theres not much you can do about an artist stating a characteristic they personally like in a song. Whether it comes from a genuine place or from years of media brainwashing how would we ever know?

    I think whats more damaging is how people label and box themselves/each other in. “My skin shade is lighter therefore I am envied by others” “My skin shade is darker therefore I am looked down on and unwanted” NO. you skin shade is just one of millions that exist in the world and it doesn’t define you. And maybe this is just my form of ignorance, but honestly I think the less attention we give this topic the better.

  • Anansa

    @Morning Rain. I was just making sure we were all clear on that.

  • Jasmin

    @erica,

    Sadly, life is unfair. We cannot do anything substantive about the color we are. It is true that light skinned people have a different, sometimes more positive experience in America than dark people do. Are light skinned people supposed the shut up and stay in the corner if sometimes we feel unfairly treated by darker people? Why should we–because you feel we get a break in life? I can honestly say that I have never in my life said anything derogatory or rude to someone darker than I am and I’m the color of a white person with a slight tan, so I’ve has plenty of opportunity. I just don’t think that way! We make so many false assumptions about each other based on color. It’s this internalized hate and anger that I sometimes think will divide black folks forever. Our feelings are just as valid as yours. Dor black folks to believe anything else is to succumb to our oppressors and believe that they are right.

  • Jasmin

    Amen, Cee Cee. It’s like we’re supposed to hang our heads in shame and apologize for being light . I’ll never forget a thread I read on Blackplanet years ago where a woman wrote about how she had no desire to be white, but she enjoyed being beautiful, light and having long hair. OMG! The hate that came her way could have set off a nuclear explosion. And, this was online! Who knows? She (or he) was probably a troll. However, dark women jumped in and proclaimed their beauty to the sky and nobody made a peep. All you have to do is suggest that you are light. And if you say that you have long hair– get ready. Posters will pour in to tell you that you ain’t all that. SMH.

  • Jasmin

    Wonderful post, Anthony. You are so right .

  • Jasmin

    @Serene,

    No one is pretending that there isn’t a difference. IMO, we need to all come together in spite of it, because, as we have all said. We are all of African Ancestry. The problem is that we continue to punish and judge each other because of skin color and the perks that may or may not come with it.

  • Jasmin

    @726,

    No, we siddity pale faces are doomed to walk on eggshells forever, lest we offend anybody.

  • YB

    Yup. No love for you privilege denying broads. Cry us a river while you benefit from being closer to the white standard and enjoy its privileges.

    Boo-fucking-hoo.

  • apple

    i’m light skin and i wont act like i’m so oppressed because people tell me about being red or whatever color. yea its annoying to hear sh*t about being light skin but i won’t act like i’m not aware of its privilege…just like if i’m skinny and was bullied for it but i’m not gona deny its a privilege.. or if i was rich i wouldn’t deny that privilege or if i was white or being american (which i’m not sure if its a privilege because i never left the country but there might be?) .. so even though we are both suffering this race problem, i won’t deny that society treats one tone marginally better

  • http://www.clutchmagonline.com/2012/07/is-backlash-against-eric-benets-redbone-girl-a-form-of-racism/ Mimi

    Thank you Serene!

  • Jess

    @erica – yu’re completely right. everyone knows that black people in america – and dark skinned blacks in particular – have borne the brunt of colorism and racism , to a much higher degree than lighter skinned blacks, and definitley non-blacks. my question is – why keep supporting these black males (who are not light skinned or “red boned” themselves) and making them rich when they tell you in every way that they hate you? the fat that eric benet would do a song with lil wayne about skin color shows that he is lauging in the face of black women in general, and dark women specifically. he’s bitter about something – maybe a dark skinned woman rejected him – but either way, stop giving these fools attention and you’ll be alright. generally, when they start praising the red bone black girls, it’s juist their cowardly way of working their way slowly to white women instead of running directly to them. let ‘em go and forget about ‘em. find the non-color struck and keep it moving.

  • Jess

    too the peole syaing that eric benet made a song about a dark skinned girl, so why complain about a song about a light skinned girl, you are ignorant. EB made a song about dark ksinned legs, not dark skinned girls. he specifically references “red bone girls”, not light skinned arma, light skinned feet, or any one body part. he’s telling you he values everything about a “red bone” girl, but only specific body parts on a darker girl.

    it’s like when black men will compliment a darker black girl on the size and shape of her butt, but value the lighter (and in many case the white) on everything. eric benet is as big a minstrel monstrosity as lil wayne – i’ve noticed that most black womanizers are color struck.

  • isolde3

    “No one is pretending that there isn’t a difference. IMO, we need to all come together in spite of it, because, as we have all said. We are all of African Ancestry. The problem is that we continue to punish and judge each other because of skin color and the perks that may or may not come with it.”

    @Jasmin

    Yes, yes, I’m with you. The oppressed should shut up and come together in spite of being oppressed within their communities because we’re all of African Ancestry. Where have I heard this before? I know, “we should all support Lena Dunham’s “Girls” because a victory for white women is a victory for all women” or “Shonda Rhimes shouldn’t be calling out Amy Sherman-Palladino about the lack of racial diversity on her new show because that goes against the ‘sisterhood’”

    Have several seats with that mess.

    @Erica, Apple, Serene, YB

    Thank you for breaking ish down for these half-wits.

  • Name Withheld

    & thank you Jasmin,
    I’m not even light skinned but this is irritating. Lighter skinned is being portrayed in the media because that is the way the White man wants it, since he is the one who controls and owns everything concerning the media, not the light skinned blacks. So don’t get mad at your brothers and sisters, get mad at the real enemy who keeps trying to divide us, the white man and then get mad at yourself for letting him play your mind and seep through your television and divide your people. I think we are confused about who the enemy really is, that is why we keep fighting each other, smh it’s a shame.

  • Name Withheld

    @Jasmin, I agree.

    I’m not light skinned but this ish is annoying. @Serene it’s white people who control the media, so the only representation you will see of a black person will be light skinned. However, this doesn’t mean that it is the fault of our light skinned brothers and sisters because this is the way it is, we live in the white mans world. We have confused ourselves (as black people) about who our enemy is, it is not each other. Get mad at the white man and then get mad at yourself for allowing him to seep through your television and be able to control your mind and the way you feel about your own brothers and sisters. White people have always used the strategy of praising lighter skin over darker but it is all about dividing us, until we began to hate and destroy one another, so that they no longer have to do that. We have a low self esteem and behave like abandoned children looking for someone to love us that we turn it into a competition against each other.

    For white people to show anyone black person of darker hue in a positive light, will give us too much power and we would began to esteem ourselves, and we all know they can’t have that ish.

  • Jasmin

    @YB,
    No one is denying that light people have more privileges! What angers you is our very EXISTENCE.

  • Jasmin

    @isolde3′

    Huh? Oh, yeah. We’re half wits no matter what because….oh yeah, because we’re light! Whatever. Go ahead and wallow in your bitterness if it makes you feel better. BTW, what exactly is it that you want, anyway? Empathy from your fellow sisters who happen to be lighter clearly isn’t enough. I see women who are obviously black ALL OF THE TIME in the media, particularly in commercials and print ads. In fact, when I was modeling (legit fashion, not that video/glamour ish that passes for modeling) I often didn’t get jobs that would go to a darker woman because they said I didn’t look black enough. You didn’t see me whining about it, and that was money that didn’t go into my pocket.

  • erica

    most people never heard chocolate legs because no one is checking for eric benet

  • Kam

    You guys do know there is a historical reason why a song for light skinned girls draws more ire than a song for dark skinned girls? You’re living in a race conscious and racist society. This isn’t happening in a bubble.

  • Black Is Black

    Thank You for sayng that. I think it’s never said that all “light” skin women are not dying to be woo’d in that way. I find to be sick that we as a people are in need of our skin and hair to look a certain way to love each other. Pretty sad reality. Own It!
    The song is tasteless….By the way made by an interacial man.

  • Black Is Black

    Eric Benet *crickets* who is he really? you know. People will do anything for attention…point blank period. His mom is NOT black so do you think he cares about offending black women or stirring trouble in our community. No! he do not. people have to be smart about what you entertain.

  • Black Is Black

    I think it’s interesting people are tryin to pretend that discrimination and injustice do not have a place in the conversation. It has been proven dark skin blacks are singled out first as criminals… I mean we need Paula Patton to play Whitney Houston…LMAO…we just can’t find a more qualified black “singer” and actress to play her. We even do it in movies and on tv shows the bad guy is always a dark skin black guy. The bad mother, the slave and the maid…. you see these pictures floating ont he internet attacking black women about bad attitudes it’s always a darker sistah and oh yes…she is overweight …. It’s not just about who is superior in beauty thing(which you were taught)…there is a bigger problem that we as a people are not correcting….people are to busy pretending that these things don’t matter or exsist. and clearly they do.

    Eric Benet needs to have several seats and take lil with him. from a Redbone

  • Q

    I don’t think we need to “get along” and “come together” at all. That’s a total non-issue. There is no way that two people/groups/entities can discuss things with even the smallest shred of truth if there is that nagging fear of “not getting along” and of hurting feelings and “being divided”. I mean, let’s face it, we already don’t get along, and are already divided. Colorism and racism be damned, I really don’t think there’s anything left to lose. Do you?

    Instead, we need to be united in a different way; not simply because “we’re black” or because of the assumed commonality of our experiences. Ideally, we should be united because we want to understand each other, to be heard, to find the truth, to get to the heart of the suffering, hurt feelings or not. To consistently place blame on things outside of ourselves, on history, on society, on Lil Wayne’s questionable preferences and Eric Benets contribution to a society that isn’t even geared towards womens’ interests is fine, but a diversion from the real issue.

    And what IS the real issue? I think we find that out when we ask ourselves why this song offends us, why it hurts us (or doesn’t hurt us, in some cases), not because society is jacked up, but for reasons that lie within ourselves.

  • shlbshl

    There is most certainly an asymmetry between the color-based derision, scorn, and exclusion that has SYSTEMICALLY been aimed at darker black folk, versus the anecdotal recollections of colorism by some of the lighter skinned kinfolk on this thread. I’m certainly not trying to minimize another’s experience, but folks are being purposely obtuse if they cannot acknowledge the very real set of privileges accorded to lighter skinned black folk relative to darker skinned black folk. And moreover, it ain’t just us. The utter disgust that is heaped on those with dark(er) skin is a global phenomenon. I was shocked to find out just how nasty colorism is in asia. The sheer volume of lotions, potions, and elixirs marketed here as “whitening” makes me want to blow a freaking gasket.

    But I’m with the journalist: why must we continue to fetishize skin color at all–light or dark? It just seems so…lazy and circumscribed to name a song after a woman’s skin color. And this, apparently, is not the first time that Benet’s done this. You have a love affair with a woman, one that was memorable/significant enough to pen a song about, and this is the best that you can do in terms of a song title? I think Benet was just trying to stir some stuff up.

    And he was moderately successful.

  • tiki

    Im my opinion, many rappers of today are nothing but minstrels. The only thing they rap about is what material things they have, mistreatment or degrading of women, and violence. I do not support any rap artist either.

  • Bosslady

    I haven’t got a problem with the song as a dark skin women, he wasn’t stating a preference to redbone women, and even if he does have a preference for them, that’s fine, so long as he doesn’t put down women who do not fulfil that criteria.

    As Erin said, the main issues is that he chose Lil Wayne, with his ignorant self to feature on it…

  • my_reply

    @GlowBelle – Seriously? Some darker people pick on lighter people because they are jealous. They are jealous because black and non-black people will find you more attractive just because you are light. They are jealous because you will get lighter prison sentences. They are jealous because people put you up on a pedestal. They are jealous because people will treat you better because you are closer to white.

    I am light skinned, but the whining on this thread from light skinned women is crazy. They are not talking about the fact that you personally had a bad experience. They are saying that on average, a light skinned person is valued more and treated better than a dark skinned person.

    You get called redbone, light bright? Poor baby. My cousin got called tar baby. Others get called skillet or cockroach. How many times have you heard a black man say “I don’t date light skinned girls”? Exactly.

    It’s fine to say that you are hurt by terms like red bone or high yellow, but when you start to say that they are on the same level, I just have to laugh. It’s like white women saying to black women that their suffering is equal because white women get picked on for having pale skin just like black women get picked on for having dark skin even though white women are held as the pinnacle of beauty by Westen media and pale skin is seen as good. In black media, light skinned women are put on a pedestal in the same way.

  • 726

    Marginalizing and minimizing the comments of the light skinned folks isn’t exactly going to help anyone’s cause.

  • Buhrit

    Ignorance at its finest. Ignoring race issues only exacerbates them.

  • Life is 2 Short

    I’m white babe, lets have kids – problem solved!

  • Jasmin

    @black is black,

    No one is pretending anything! We can say a hundred times that light skinned people know darker skinned blacks are often discriminated against and no one hears it. That is no excuse for us to spew hate upon each other. The blogger was talking about women and this particular song. That’s the focus here, not the criminal justice system.

  • Youwishyoucouldbeme

    I think our obsession with color, whether light or dark is the problem. I realize that lighter skin gives people advantages, but at the same time, we have to stop putting so much emphasis on both sides of the spectrum. And I really can’t wait for the day when Black women don’t look to these singers and rappers for validation of their beauty, when so many of these men are wounded themselves.

  • Simone L

    WHO CARES?? God forbid anyone we love falls sick, or we fail a class we need for graduation or we lose a job. we’ll quickly see this was a non mutha—kin factor. Geez.

  • Suburban Soulgirl

    lol lol lol

  • Alexandra

    The insecurity in this comment section is so thick, my eyes hurt. This turned into a light vs. dark, but take skin-tone out of the equation and many Black women as whole just want to complain about who Black men like, date, fuck or marry. I think if the song was ‘White Girl’ rather than redbone, all of you light and dark would complain together. Eww.

    I agree with his comment and I’m not even a fan. If he made disparaging comments about women who don’t fit his redbone beauty, then I would understand protest.

  • isolde3

    @jasmin

    You’ve given me plenty of ammo to defend my point about certain commenters’ “half-wittedness,” but let’s start with this remark, “Oh, yeah. We’re half wits no matter what because….oh yeah, because we’re light!”

    Just because I referred to certain commenters as half wits doesn’t mean that I think that all light skinned people are half wits. As you can see, I co-signed Apple and YB (commenters who claimed to be light skinned), did I not? What kind of logic fail is that anyway? As if being a half-wit is dependent upon phenotype . . . Next?
    __________________________________________

    “Go ahead and wallow in your bitterness if it makes you feel better.”
    __________________________________________

    Right I’m bitter, and you know this because I’ve been spamming this thread for days now with multiple comments about light skinned women’s pain. Oh wait, that’s you (LOL) . . . You tried it tho

    _____________________________________
    “BTW, what exactly is it that you want, anyway?”
    ______________________________________

    There are so many silly comments from you on this thread, but I chose to respond to this one in particular because a) it was a tired cliché and b) I was late to this party; so, other commenters have, for the most part, already shredded your other arguments.

    There’s nothing I can say to you that hasn’t already been said. You claim not to be denying your privilege, right? That’s what you said to YB, anyway, yet when you’re not trying to silence the systemically oppressed (in this case dark skinned women) in the interest of “racial harmony” (We’re all of African Ancestry), you’re doing your damndest to try to paint yourself as just as much as or even more of a victim than the people who you claim are more oppressed than you. What would be nice is if you could see the irony in all of that, but I digress.

  • LemonNLime

    Wow the comments on here are the reason why I ALWAYS laugh in jest when people talk about the “black community”. There was no such thing and there never will be. There were house slaves and field slaves, those who pasted the paper bag test and those who didn’t, those who are middle/upper class and those who aren’t, blacks from the Americas and black Africans, and of course the ever popular blacks versus one-droppers/biracials. There will always be divisions of some sort whether they be due to color or class. The sooner some of y’all realize that, the better.

    And enough with the “white people” this, “euro-centric beauty standards” that. Companies may push European and lighter features as prime rib, but that doesn’t mean you have to slap on bib a partake from the nonsense. These companies and the media couldn’t continue to push this nonsense, if there wasn’t an audience there to willingly reenforce their nonsensical standards.

  • S.

    ASK_ME is right.

    Black women need to work on their self esteem. That or come to the realization that you really can’t force feed people our beauty no matter how unfair their opinions are or how brainwashed they might be.

    No one is gonna find us beautiful out of pity and political correctness.

  • Fuchsia

    Eric Benet is a known sex addict. It doesn’t surprise me that he doesn’t discriminate and probably has loads of “____ Girl” material to draw from. It’s just a song, and I’m sure by the time he’s through he’ll have a song for just about everyone girl out there.

  • Elaine

    I love it! The first seasons of A Diff’rent World! LOL!

    Couldn’t agree more…who cried foul for brown skin by india airie, no we sang along go’on girl etc… move on people nothing to see here

  • http://www.facebook.com/felicityrankinsrhode Felicity Rhode

    Exactly. I don’t really give a darn about this man’s experiences or his preferences. The subject matter of the song does not offend me, but it just doesn’t sound good to me. The song sucks, but not because of what it is about.

    Lil’ Wayne just needs to sit down somewhere.

  • honeyluvr

    Tell it Jasmine! None of us picked our parents so i neer understood the h8…. why is the h8 directed at us fairer women anywayz? shouldn’t the men with obvious complexes be attacked? Where are their black mothers? some of the browner skin women on this thread have or will have black boys who will rebel against them for their disdain of other black women b/c of their hue and run straight for them…..

  • honeyluvr

    NY,

    you are correct its not the same however it doesnt make it any less valid. we’ve heard and i believe have sympathy for the how all people of color especially browner toned people have been treated throughout history. We get it, its blatant, we can read it in history books, hear it in Lil wayne songs, we understand and wholeheartedly support your valid frustration. For the most part, b/c of threads like this fairer skinned women dont just out and scream ” whoa is us” for no reason… we go on defensive when we’ve been unfairly attacked due to some rappers ignorance by which some women feel disrespected and rightfully so.. but its not the fault of lighter skinned women.. Us trying to explain that we too have sensitivities and have been affected by colorism is not us trying to diminish the unfair treatment of browner people, but is us trying to get others to understand that we too go through it. Its not a light/dark issue .. its a black community issue that needs respect and undestanding on both sides of the color spectrum. We black people didn’t create this battle but we sure are losing the war.

  • honeyluvr

    YB,

    do you not like lightskin people/women at all? how have we wronged you? Should we ask our parents to conceive w/a darker skinned person for your comfort? priveleged how so? b/c other “black” people with colorism issue treat “some” fairer people better? and i emphasize black b/c whites treat us ALL the same (republican vs. obama).

    again this divisiveness doesnt help us come together. its pulls us further and further apart.

  • flower

    Thank you as a light skin person, Back in the day I wanted to compare my self to something sweet I tried to call myself caramel and they said I was too light to be caramel so when I was 14 I asked my step sister who is chocolate what would I be called and this chick said lightly seasoned chicken before you cook it…the hell…and then black barbies most of them are dark skinned so if I got a black barbie or doll period that wasn’t really representing me either…the only doll that I could some what identify myself with was “hispanic” dolls….black people we come in all shades and instead of embracing all the hues we’re subjected to have one color represent us

  • Alison Buckner

    I so agree with you on this. People with dark skin are encouraged to celebrate their hue while we with light skin must hide in the back because of the so called “privileges” that we benefit from. Get over it we are all black.

  • http://www.facebook.com/renee.bledsol Renee Bledsol

    LOL! Resurrected!

  • http://www.facebook.com/renee.bledsol Renee Bledsol

    Never really had an issue with colorism, not to the degree that it would shatter my perception of myself. No, I was to busy dealing with racism and sexism in the Deep South….. Trust me, its harder being an intelligent black woman (of any shade) than anything else. Perhaps it is time to move past this, past this hurt and deal with myriad of things running up against us. Remember a house divide cannot stand.

  • Penny

    flower, I see where you are coming from and as a light skinned woman, I’ve had “light bright damn near white” type insults hurled at me for a long time. However, the fact of the matter is that we (redbones, yellow chicks, whatever) tend to have it easier in society. Sure, we get a lot of crap from other darker skinned black people, but we also tend to get more preference from those in power. It’s messed up, but it’s reality. I don’t know why more of us don’t admit it. I think it would help matters a lot. I’m not saying that we should walk around and feel guilty about how we are privileged, however, we need to stop being in denial about it. We need to be more conscious of it and how it affects our darker skinned sisters, friends, cousins, etc. Yes, we have it hard, but darker skinned women have it harder. I have seen some beautiful darker skinned women get passed over for dates (by darker skinned men!!!), get insulted by relatives, get passed over for parts in commercials (because the brand preferred a lighter skinned black girl), get passed over for promotions because the boss thinks they have an attitude problem (when they were only expressing a difference of opinion…and in a nice way!). I am 40 and I have seen plenty of sh@t with my darker skinned friends and cousins. No question, I have it easier than them. It’s hard for all women, but darker skinned women have a harder way to go.

    We need to listen to our darker skinned sisters more instead of dismissing their stories and comparing them with our experiences because really, they just don’t compare. Maybe it’s just me, but I think there’s a big difference between being called “yellar girl” by a bunch of black people and being labeled as physically undesirable by much of society. And we need to stop allowing certain sh@t to happen. Perhaps it should be considered bad taste when complexion is glorified in a song. We (black women) need to tell each other that we are beautiful since we can’t depend on that from certain black men who are too busy pitting us against each other….and profiting from it in the process. I hear white women compliment each other often. How often do we compliment each other? I know it sounds corny, but if we love each other and have each other’s back more, fools like Eric Benet wouldn’t dare make such songs.

  • http://orneno.tumblr.com Ms. Write

    Eric Benet has a point. No one said anything about Chocolate Legs. I think the song is controversial because we all know Lil Wayne has serious complexion issues. But you know what? I’m tired of making other people’s color complex issue my own. I know who I am. I’m over going up in arms every time a rapper prefers a light skinned woman. Their issue, not mine! Plenty of black men who love brown girls to choose from!

  • http://orneno.tumblr.com Ms. Write

    +1!

  • Keke

    I think we do ourselves a disservice when we deny the experiences of any group of people. I have no doubt that as a lighter skinned individual you have experienced discrimination from your own people. As a darker skinned woman I have experienced the same. Truth of the matter is, Black people have a hard road no matter what we look like. And it’s not just coming from Black people, either. I’ve met Whites who will say things like “Well, she not all THAT black. She’s really light.” As if said person is somehow not really apart of the experiences that shape African Americans because they’re lighter, or somehow it makes it easier for them to be around. I have biracial cousins who are constantly told “You’re not like THOSE Blacks.” And then I will hear Black people criticize light skinned individuals as if these individuals could help who they are anymore than anyone else can.

    Then on the flip side, I’ve heard people of all colors deride dark skinned people. Calling us “crispy,” “coal burnt,” and the like. I’ve been told by my own people that “You’d be soooo much cuter if you were lighter.” In the end, all this is just a ploy to keep us divided and to keep the wheels of hegemony going. The moment we ALL stop caring about complexion and caring about character that’s when all the racists will REALLY be afraid.

  • Keke

    ^^^^^^THIS!!!!!

  • http://gravatar.com/motrenaissance motrenaissance

    LOL @ Slight envy… LOL

  • http://gravatar.com/motrenaissance motrenaissance

    1. Black men are not allowed to have a preference, regardless of conditioning… Women who don’t fit the standard will always b*tch & moan

    2. Don’t light skin men go through silimar romantic challenges that dark skin men don’t?

    3. This entire comment thread:, GET OVER YOURSELF… First World Problem, call me when there is a food shortage in NYC

  • Chika

    @YB
    Hey if that’s how you feel, that’s fine. But I disagree with your comparison to white people saying “we’re all human” because the whole divide between light skinned folks and dark skinned folks is a stigma created by white people. So you keep on being divisive all you want. That’s exactly what a lot of people would like to see. Me? I’m gonna take my dark and lovely self somewhere more peaceful. *pats fro and walks away*

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  • LMO85

    Say word to This.

  • SimplyFantastic

    That is sad to hear Flower. Black women need to stop hating on each other. If you are light…you are teased by the dark. If you are dark…you are teased by the light. We need to stick together and just be black women! Most of the girls in my neighborhood were lightskin and they called me names and teased me all the time. I don’t hate them as a result, in my adult age. It’s time for black women to unite!!!

  • SimplyFantastic

    THANK YOU PENNY FOR KEEPING IT REAL!!!!

  • shadi

    …it all smells of self imposed aparteid.

  • E

    I noticed the comments after Demetria’s newest article have been closed. Whenever, darker women aren’t willing to play back-patting handmaiden to our lighter ‘sisters’, out come the thinly veiled claws. “Y’all are just bitter, self-hating, self-esteem lacking, jealous, angry, hateful dark Negresses and that’s why nobody likes you” as if self-esteem grows on trees and roses grow from concrete.The lack of empathy in these comment (“you are confirming stereotypes by seeming bitter and jealous”) is exactly the silencing and gaslighting some get all their lives. And then when you get a grown-up Lil Kim situation, everyone gawks and laughs and says she must lack self-esteem.

    Well, I won’t shut up, I won’t pretend being called “Hey light skin” at a college party is the same as being called “black crispy critter”. I won’t walk two steps behind any grown-up Maureen Peals for fear of being labeled jealous. Too late for that. My most honest lighter friends admit straight-up that they are privileged as partners for black men and that any ‘hate’ that came their way as kids was minimal compare to what dark girls went through. That is not divisive, it is simply true. I won’t bother being friends with anyone, man or woman, who tries to silence my lived experience under some fake-kumbaya “we are all black” bs.

  • Light like me

    WTF were the comments closed on Demetria’s article today? What a lot of the bitter commenters coming from the darker folks on these threads fail to realize is, whatever PERCEIVED privilege that you automatically ASSume lighter skinned people have–you effectively negate (collectively) when you hurt them through words and actions just the same. It is not quite the same as other privileges–for instance, black men -due to sexism have privilege over black women- BUT black women do not make black men suffer the consequences of said privilege–which is unfortunate but that is another topic. White folks aren’t made to suffer (whether physically, psychologically or especially economically) by Black folks for their privilege. But when it comes to colorism, it is this thing where even if lighter skin people have overall societal privilege, it is not some tangible enjoyed thing by all, it is there on paper but in real life, and speaking as a light skinned woman, I have suffered for that light skin. It does NOT take away the real suffering and discrimination that darker skin folks experience, or the real consequence of having darker skin. But it is true that hurt people hurt people–so whatever so-called privilege I get for light skin–I pay the cost as well. Every time I am told I am not black enough, or asked “what are you” or are you mixed–when I am no more mixed than a lot of Black folks, or you damn near white, or you think you are better than me, or referred or preferred JUST BECAUSE of having this skin but not for all of me, getting shoved intentionally to knock me down for no other reason than because of how I look, to other snide, rude and hateful comments about me or my light parent, or to other light skin folks comparing their skin to mine to see who is darker, to me hanging out in the sun and going to tan salons risking skin cancer, and dreading the summer because then I have to compete with white folks over who is darker, to having the lowest self-esteem for most of my life because I hated my light skin, that I still struggle with, wishing I could be darker, or at least have brown skin so I wouldn’t have to hear all the SH I T that comes from having this light skin for ONCE in my life. That in 2012 I am STILL having to hear about at 30-some years of age, just for once, for once I wish that we could unite and fight the good fight. For once, I wish we would realize that I was still called a n i g g er by a white boy, I was still discriminated against in past employment opportunities because of my RACE and CULTURE not my skin tone. For once I wish we could RISE ABOVE the madness, stop letting black so called men dictate who we are by wishing their pain on us, (their self-hatred is inflicted on us by dividing us because they don’t have the collective STRENGTH to endure the way that black women have endured for centuries). For once I wish we could unplug from the matrix and realize that color is really only skin deep. Culture is what matters. IF we joined and truly united, the white system and how whiteness acts to discriminate with their racist policies and media, would and could actually be dismantled. They are and have always been afraid of Black skin and that is the truth–no matter the shade or tone. Intelligent, strong in mind, body and especially spirit- from those they have oppressed- is truly what they fear. IMAGINE for once how much more their practices would be mitigated if we TRULY fought back with Unified voices against make up companies, clothing designers, network tv, Hollywood, if we used our economic power. Imagine how Black men would be forced to change their behaviors if we truly pulled back from them economically and in every other supportive way? But we cannot do that because hurt people hurt people and apparently don’t want to change. Instead it is easier to bytch and moan that your blues ain’t like mine, so I don’t want your help, don’t want to hear your story, I only want to wallow in mine. I have only ever had to hear about my skin tone from other Black people. It is a sad fukking shame.

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  • 726

    I agree with many of the things you have said here.

  • DAVE

    After reading the comments here I can see there are a lot of feelings of anger and resentment. I believe this comes from the media that always tends to portray the good and evil theme. Good being personified by light and evil being personified by darkness. This theme, when used by racists, has been applied to the human race and its many different shades of colors, for centuries since racism became a practiced socialized past time. Now in the 21st century it is no different. Any conscious black person will tell you the current color wars between dark and light skinned black people is a direct result of racism from the past that has now survived to the present. We all know this. I think. But the question is what to do about it? Well unfortunately we can not change the way people think.

    We can not go up to a person and say, “hey you should only date dark skinned sista” or “You should only date light skinned sista.” Its just preference. Thats what that individual likes. For example I was raised up in a home where my dad was a light skinned brotha and his wife, ,y mother, was dark skinned. Me and my sister were too different complexions. She was dark skinned and I was light skinned. Never once did our parents ever play some type of favorites game with us. We were raised to love all hues of our people and to love our people and our history period. My sister is very beautiful and she was always praised by people, whether they were light or dark for just being a pretty young lady. Of course she got comments about her skin tone, but they were always greatly positive. This only helped strengthen her self esteem. I always got shown love from light and dark skinned women. I’ll admit though, I do love chocolate sistas though. Something about that dark beautiful shiny skin just gets me going lol. But you see what I say about preferences? Now some brotha may have the same feelings about a light skinned sista. Understand. But what sets me apart is that I do not down our women. I don not disrespect them. I don’t go around saying, ewwww light skinned women are disgusting or some other silly crap. Thats ridiculous and deconstructive. We’re all black. We all live in AMERIKKKA. You know what that means right? I’ll sum it up. What does a white supremacist call a light skinned or dark skinned black person? NIGGER.

  • http://sweetilocks.blogspot.com aliciafiasco

    I just think the term “red bone” is incredibly offensive and just plain stupid. I mean, bones aren’t red. Same with “yellow bone.” It just exudes the ignorance that people are tired of hearing. R&B was always much more creative than that anyway and I do think Eric Benet just went with it for shock value. We already know Lil Wayne has colorism issues and he needs to be shut down. But he’s furthering the racist and self-loathing agenda of the white execs who sign his paychecks, so I’m not surprised. We also know that Lil Wayne is there so Eric can get some radio play with this song. Typical of popular music these days.

  • Leonard Smalls

    Interesting comment; however, allow me to add that Colored people come in all shape, sizes, and complexions as depicted on temple walls that date back at least 15,000 years. This being the case, a song that pays tribute to a subgroup of the the larger group arguably should not raise any eyebrows, because it is still a song praising Colored people.

    Applying your erroneous, miseducated, and fallacious analysis to James Brown’s anthem “I’m Black and I’m Proud” or Tupacs infamous line “the blacker the berry the sweeter the juice” would lead me to conclude that these men were being coarse with so-called “light-skinned” Colored people?

    This is ludicrous!

  • Ms. J

    Amen.

  • Ms. J

    This is why I don’t bother with a lot of popular music today. I’m more disgruntled at the people working at the record company who let these artists produce such a song; what were THEY thinking???
    We as black people must be careful what we put into our minds; a lot of this so-called “entertainment” is very questionable…

  • TheBestAnonEver, Part 2

    SMH. There is no hope for us. So so sad.

  • D_SJ

    Actually Mr. Smalls, I just wanted to praise you on your “In Defense of Light-Skinned Women” comments (but the comments section is closed, so I could not reply). Fantastic post, thank you!

    I am in my 40′s and still have women rolling their eyes at my *light-skin-ded-ness.* I think I was about 4 y/o the first time I had a dark-skin girl pull my hair and ask me “what are you?”…so, yuh, its been going on a while. Fortunately for me, I no longer carry around “light-skin-guilt” (which is a very real thing, btw)…and feel no need to appease the haters…although I am working diligently to instill a sense of self into my (light-skin) daughter, but she’s got haters coming from all possible perimeters…thanks Lil Wayne ;)

    And while we’re on this ridiculous subject…black people, WE’ve got black men getting murdered and locked up on an hourly basis; I think if we spend more time focusing on parenting (underline/bold/CAPS), marriage, love and family instead of who is lighter than whom, we may one day evolve.

    Thats all I got-

  • bawse

    lmao darkskinned women cry too much. you see darkskinned men crying like this? nope niggas dont care they keep it moving.

  • http://fromthoughtsintowords.blogspot.com/ Rose Kahendi

    On the one hand, I understand the backlash.

    On the other hand, I think we rely too much on the media to tell us what’s good and what’s not. How about we turn the TV/ music off and interact with each other in ways that affirm that which is good in each of us?

  • jbruins

    I appreciate your honesty and you summarized the issue very well in my opinion. We all are beautiful and should encourage one another instead of declaring one better than the other. We, the women, have to set our own beauty standards and live by them. We have a cultural esteem problem that has to be addressed before we can move forward.

  • H.Mustermann

    I’m dark-skinned and I think this is DOUBLE STANDARD at it finest. There was no problem when Eric Benet sang Chocolate Legs or when India.Arie sang Brown Skin. So what the fuss? Get over it, he’s an artist and can pretty much speak about anything.

  • Fed up sister

    Even if he did say in the song his preference is light skinned women, so what?!?! That’s his business. At this point in history, colorism is an excuse. When chocolate legs was out and a hit, no one was complaining then. Music is art. Art is a form of self expression. He writes his own songs, so he’s expressing his feelings at some time. And the comment about him never having much success in US charts and him getting all the press he can was quite stupid and has nothing to do with the issue at hand. Get it together, sisters.

  • Youwishyoucouldbeme

    I find it absolutely crazy that this song creates so much drama and controversy. Why do we continue to let these Z list musicians affect us so much. Eric Benet had an ode song to darkskinned women, “Chocolate Legs” or “Chocolate Girl” or something like that. However, I must also critique Clutch magazine, particularly writer Demetria Lucas for her article “In Defense of Light-Skinned Women.” Not so much for writing an article that addresses the very real pain that lighter women experience, but for the manner in which she wrote that article. It was completely irresponsible and messy, and I suspect she knew this when writing it, since she started the article off writing “I know this probably won’t be a well-received article.” If you know that, than why are you writing it in this way? It’s problematic and the fact that they closed the comments is indicative of the ticking time bomb set off only to leave the readers in the rubble. You can’t start that kind of controversy and then walk away when things get a little hot. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.

    However, I also want to critique some of the comments, particularly those people who act like light-skinned people can never have a sigh moment. I get so irritated when people say “light skinned hurt will never feel like dark skinned hurt.” No one said it was on par, but that doesn’t mean that light skinned people don’t get their feelings hurt or don’t get abused because of their skin color privilege. Believe it or not, being favored is more of a burden than some people realize. My mom grew up in a home where she was her father’s favorite and all the other siblings knew it. And because of this, her father always praised her openly in front of the others. He was also more emotionally abusive to the others. And guess who caught hell for that? She did. And she would try to stop her father from behaving like that, and she spent much of her adult life trying to compensate for that by letting her siblings treat her like absolute shit. They used her, took money from her and my dad, she let their kids come to our home, trash our house with the toys and then leave and not clean up. My grandfather used to show us that favortism too because we were her kids. But truly, part of the reason I believe my grandfather favored my mom, was because she never got in trouble, made straight A’s, went to a great college and grad school and married a successful, loving man. No my mom is not perfect, not by a long shot, but she really didn’t give her parents a lot of grief. And also because her parents had to work so much, she was often the one who had to sacrifice having a childhood and going out with friends so she could be home to cook and clean and babysit her siblings. On the other hand, her siblings cut class, dropped out, had a baby out of wedlock and then went back to school and finished college. One of her siblings has struggled with drugs, the other married an alcoholic who thank God is sober and has been for a while, the other one married a man who never reached his potential and the other one married a womanizer. So they all ended up hurting. But was my grandfather’s favortism of my mom her fault? Hell no and I watched her most of my childhood take on that burden of guilt and let these people treat her and us like dog shit at times. Unacceptable. It’s not light skinned people’s fault that the White man destroyed our race through color. It is their fault when they abuse people because of it.

    But darkskinned people are to blame too, and it is their fault when they turn around and abuse people who they perceive have a privilege.

  • Youwishyoucouldbeme

    Well said Dave

  • Sally

    The African American community will never meet its full potential because we are so divided. The color of our skin is not important. Why must we continue this foolishness. Other ethnic groups are coming together and their communities are reaping those rewards. Yet we continue with our stupidity. This makes me sick. It is time for us to wake up black people. We have bigger issues like the educational gap and fatherless children. It is time to fix the things that matter so our community can rise.

  • Suave

    +1,000,000,000

    Perhaps this will clarify, white people actually do go through discrimination and racism. The qualifying difference, however, is that the racism against non-white people is defined as “effective racism”. Effective racism just refers to the fact that because white people are an overwhelming majority, their racist ideas and actions are able to effect black people in a way that can not be equaled in a reverse trend. Experts will tell you that we do indeed need to work on racism against white people, but it is a low priority because they simply are not experiencing much more than hurt feelings on average. All societal ills work this way, i.e. colorism may cut both ways, but the heft of the damage still remains on darker spectrum of skin color in the black community. Effectively speaking, light skin people at most have people question their “blackness” by other black people, on a human level will you really compare that to the horrendous way we have historically treated dark skin people (women specifically)? If you don’t like terms, say something, when you hear a dude disparage your dark/light sisters let em know it’s not hot, don’t support rappers who set women back for anything, etc.

    I say this as a dark skin gay male who is currently entering academia in the biology and chemistry fields. I look at comments everyday on videos/blogs about the glorification of light skin people. We literally have the same mess! Lol. Light skin boys believe it or not are considered “pretty”, “red-bone” and “yellow” also. The problem isn’t pride in being light, it’s the problem of light skin people often seeming to need to place their value on how low the stock of dark skin people is at the moment. It’s akin to the fact that somehow “white pride” somehow always comes at the behest of devaluing racial minorities, rather than just pride in a culture.

    Last note: Irony is that we are placing racial pride on the fact that we find lines with more obvious “white” in them to be the most prized of our race. Throwing up black power, but celebrating the more eurocentric of our features over our pride in our African descent. Smh.

  • SayItLoudImBlackAndProud

    Why do you feel the need to say something to defend Eric Benet if you feel the song is appropriate. Thats because you know the song is inappropriate. For centuries dark skin people have been victims of racism so people want to hear a song uplifting darkskin women. People in the black community are tired of the self hatred the.

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