By Erickka Sy Savané
You would think that marrying a beautiful brown-skinned TV and film star like Gabrielle Union would be enough to show Dwayne Wade’s sons that darker-skinned women are beautiful. Think again.
In a recent interview with Refinery29, the Gabs revealed a very important conversation that she had with NBA star Dwayne Wade’s 3 boys, and nephew, about colorism. In a nutshell, she asked them to show her who the hottest girls in their school were on instagram, and they all came back with…wait for it…light-skinned, curly-haired, big butt and boob girls.
It took me back to an article I wrote called ‘What Are We Teaching Our Boys About Black Beauty’ when rapper Kodak Black went off the rails talking about not liking dark-skinned women or his own dark skin. I interviewed a friend who has two sons, 8 and 13 year’s old, about whether or not she’s reinforcing black beauty, and she said,
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Pump the breaks…while it’s commendable to reinforce the beauty in one’s heart…we can’t ignore colorism.
When Gabby recognized a glaring red light when these young black boys only saw the beauty of light skin, she stepped in and began pulling up dark-skinned beauties on instagram, including actress Ryan Destiny, star of Lee Daniel’s ‘Star.’ Gabby says,
Black boys do have to have someone tell them that chocolate women are beautiful for them to believe it. It’s the same with our girls. We have to go that extra mile because we’ve been shown time and again that society isn’t set up for people are darker hues…But it’s not impossible. I’m encouraged by men like Kofi Siriboe and his rumored relationship with model Duckie. Dude is smitten like a kitten!
Model Duckie and Kofi Siriboe
President Barack and Michelle Obama
Then there’s our favorite First couple Barack and Michelle…
Now did they grow up in a household where black beauty was reinforced in the home? For Kofi, who grew up with a strong Ghanaian mom, perhaps. For Barack, who grew up with his white mom and then white grandparents, it’s unlikely. But it can’t hurt, and can only help.
I’ve seen the difference it makes with my own young daughters to proactively show them photos of beautiful brown and dark-skinned women (women who look like them) on TV, instagram, and in real life. Now they point out beautiful black women to me before I can even say anything. We have to educate them on how to see black beauty. Admittedly, my own education has come largely from instagram where dark-skin beauties are in abundance. See them and you know they’re in a league all their own….you know, maybe we don’t have these conversations with our young black boys because we think that there’s nothing we can do to combat colorism and this seemingly automatic turn towards lighter-skin women. This country is old and this has been going on a long time. But hopefully, what Gabrielle Union did with her step-sons, and what many of us parents are doing with our own younguns, will show that it’s possible to reshape this colorism conversation. After all, look what we did with hair.
Do you proactively affirm dark-skin beauty?
Erickka Sy Savané is managing editor of CurlyNikki.com, a wife, mom, and freelance writer based in Jersey, City, NJ. Her work has appeared in Essence.com, Ebony.com, Mad
amenoire.com, xoNecole.com, and more. When she’s not writing…wait, she’s always writing! Follow her on Twitter, Instagram or