Kendrick Lamar: “I Wanted a Darker Tone Woman in the Poetic Justice Video”Rappers are repeat perpetuators of divisiveness through colorism. Most MCs are unconcerned with representing women of all hues in their videos, opting for those with Eurocentric features. Others praise lighter-complexioned women in their lyrics, expressing disdain for those without culturally-appealing aesthetics. But a new crop of lyricists, including Wale and A$AP Rocky, are shifting this paradigm by being conscious of the women highlighted in their visual art.

The latest MC to shine light on the chocolate sisters is Kendrick Lamar. The acclaimed lyricist changed the woman cast as his love interest in “Poetic Justice” to address colorism. He told blogger Miss Info how important it is to him to balance his videos instead of adhering to mainstream industry standards.

“We had another girl for the lead but I had an idea where I just wanted a little bit of a darker tone [girl] in the video,” he said. “It’s almost like a color blind industry where there’s only one type of appeal to the camera. It was a girl on set and I said, ‘Ask her.”

He cast Brittany Sky as the main video model, but also expressed his love for all women.

“Not Light “Vs” Dark tho. More about “BALANCE”..Givn every shade of woman life, not jus what da industry thinks is “Hott” 4 camera,” he tweeted for clarification. “When u put the term light “Vs” dark continues it as a BATTLE. My point 4 poetic was to spark the idea of making it an EQUAL.”

All of our sisters deserve love, so kudos to Lamar for defying colorism and seeking equality. If other rappers follow him and his peers’ leads, it will be the dawn of a new direction for visual representations of hip-hop culture.

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  • Destiny

    So much jealousy in here..so sad

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  • DjinnDjinnDjinn

    I am a year late to this discussion, but:

    I am what most people would consider “dark skinned”, not midnight black, but bronze. I have kinky hair, hardly any curl pattern at all. I don’t have a button nose, but it isn’t very thin; average.

    I say this because I am an East African girl.

    I feel where your qualms stem from, but I also think there is some confusion in your perspective. For every song praising East African women I can name two that praise African women from other places off the top of my head. Though I do acknowledge society’s obsession with European beauty, I also realize that Abyssinians have been around much longer than Europeans. That thin nose you reference is inherently of African origin first and foremost. Labeling those features European completely disregards the generations of African genetics from which they arose. That’s like invalidating the blackness of those features and the people who carry them, thus creating an intraracial divide.

    EA come in all different colors, shapes, etc; there is no one EA “look”. Prime example, Liya Kebede is beautiful, but I had no idea she was EA; she could literally pass as a black woman from anywhere, including diaspora. She definitely couldn’t pass for white though.

    In regards to Drake’s fetishization of EA women, it is just that: a fetish. This is a man who has had public tristes with Serena Williams & Rihanna, both women who have “typical” Black features. I don’t believe he means any harm, but that just happens to be what’s hot right now. In the 80s rappers were going crazy for the Grace Jones / Naomi Campbell types.

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