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In a recent video on Instagram Live, 20-year old American rapper, Kodak Black, let his fans know how he felt about black women stating, “… I don’t really like black girls like that, sorta kinda.”
Following his comments, many black women took to social media to let Kodak know that they were not looking for him anyways.
The rapper obviously has no shame in making his preference for women with a “lighter complexion” known as his music is a reflection of his attitudes. On a song titled, “Fresh Out (My Struggle)”, Kodak raps:
Ay, where them yellow bones?
I don’t want no black [ ]
I’m already black, I don’t need no black [ ]
In response to the backlash, Kodak Black attempted to clarify himself in another post stating that he loves “black African American women”, but it’s just not his “forte to deal with a ‘darkskin’ woman”.
Although Kodak’s Instagram account has since been deleted, his comments – or preferences – bring about a bigger question regarding Instagram as a social media platform.
Yes, Instagram serves as a tool through which users can market themselves and build their brand. But, Instagram is not always a safe space for marginalized groups in that it cannot funnel out the forever embedded, Eurocentric ideologies that are disseminated through videos, photos, and comments.
This brings us back to last year when London-based Youtuber Jennifer Olaleye posted a selfie on Instagram and a girl tagged her friend in a comment which read, “I don’t know where dark skinned girls are getting this confidence from :/”. The girl’s friend later replied, “I think the confidence is fake tbh.”
Olaleye’s response highlighted the fact that her confidence was not in fact rooted in her being dark-skinned. “My confidence is very much real!” she commented, “And does not come from my beautiful gorgeous melanin infused skin! But from knowing that I’m simply a child of God :D.”
Colorism is real. If it weren’t, then darker toned individuals like Kodak would not feel the need to distance themselves from their most obvious feature in an effort to be different.
Like Kodak Black, everyone is entitled to their likes or dislikes and are free to express their preferences. Thank you First Amendment!
However, the issue is not that Kodak Black prefers lighter women.
The issue with his comments is that they do not give a real basis for putting ‘darkskin’ women into a category, implying that these type of women possess certain qualities or characteristics that are unfavorable.
Platforms like Instagram, a source of media consumption for 400 million users on a daily basis, should not be a space in which black women feel forced to define or re-define themselves. Still, within an environment in which likes and comments are a constant source of approval – or lack thereof – it can be difficult to challenge the venom of colorism while simultaneously working hard to ensure that one personally does not become the source of speculation. Because who wants that?
The best way to combat the stereotypes associated with black bodies is to be comfortable with one’s self independent of external approval. Instagram can be a medium through which black women empower themselves, but it can also be a constant source of comparison to other women of different backgrounds or of different shades.
In these types of scenarios, it’s important to hold onto and give momentum to the #BlackGirlMagic, #BlackisBeautiful, #TheDarkerTheBerryTheSweeterTheJuice movements that sprout from the hate directed towards women with darker complexions. It is also equally as important to not project notions of other-ism onto other black women simply because they have a lighter complexion. No one should be made to feel less than simply because of their skin tone.