I don’t remember when I learned about colorism, but I know it was early on in my childhood. Family members assessed my color in hushed whispers (“she’s getting darker, huh?”) and as I got older and began dating, compliments from the opposite sex always hinged on my skin tone (“You’re a pretty dark-skinned girl”). When your complexion isn’t always celebrated or idealized, you sometimes have to arrive at your own definition of beauty, free from society’s hangups. It’s freeing to learn other beautiful brown-skinned women came to that realization as well, like Kelly Rowland.
The singer opened up to Eurweb about her journey to embrace her complexion:
You know what I had great women in my life to help me overcome that. I remember I went through a period where I didn’t embrace my chocolatiness. I don’t know if that’s a word, but I didn’t embrace my chocolate lifestyle. Just being a chocolate, lovely brown skin girl and being proud of that. I remember being out in the sun and I was trying to shield myself from the sun and [Beyonce's mom Tina Knowles] said, ‘Are you crazy?’ She said ‘You are absolutely gorgeous’ and she just told me how beautiful I was and how rare chocolate is and how gorgeous the skin is, all of this stuff. And I was just like ‘Yeah!’ Like a light went off and so and my mother had me sitting out in the sun a little more, just to be a little more chocolate.
Kelly’s confidence shows and her story is inspiring to women who may be struggling with the same insecurities. With all the messages in the beauty industry and popular culture that may not readily embrace brown skin, it’s important to have role models like Kelly to reinforce the truth that beauty comes in different shades.
Check out the interview here:
What do you think about Kelly Rowland’s comments, Clutchettes?