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.