Thursday, October 27, 2016


Colorism is a hot topic right now,
so Im'ma tell y'all a story about when
it really settled in [for] me how    f***ed up 
it is.

My mom was good friends with a black woman at work who had children that I grew up playing with. We ended up calling each other cousins.

My cousin "T" was my age, also a girl, and very dark. Anywhere we'd go together it seemed like someone would comment how dark she was. She would always respond by laughing or making a joke of it. It got to the point where by the time we were in high-school together she would get to making jokes about her skin before anyone said anything. People would laugh.

She was super funny and likable, and attracted a lot of white friends who felt comfortable making jokes about her too.

She began to become more depressed. Every time she reached out her family would just say she wanted attention. I started seeing bleaching cream in her bathroom.

Every time we went out guys only talked to me and completely ignored her. They might even talk shit about her as we walked by. I could tell it bothered her a lot and it also really bothered me. At [some] point, every time we hung out,  I started getting uncomfortable with the overall vibe.

She would tell me I'm pretty in the saddest voice and it'd break my heart.

I remember she was a fantastic writer and would write these stories that were interesting but was always about a lighter skin girl who was wanted by everyone.

Back then I didn't realize how much being dark affected her everyday life. 

She distanced herself from me and others in the course of a year and dropped out of school randomly. I got a hold of her a couple times and she seemed sadder than ever, telling me she didn't want to be around white people anymore.

I didn't hear from her [for] a year.

One day I got a PM from a guy she used to date online. She had talked to him for several years and even made plans to see each other but each time it somehow fell through. She talked of him often and always mentioned how he liked her for her.

[So,] he messaged me one day (I've never spoken to him before) and said "Y'all are really f*cked up. This whole time you let her play this game with me. You just kept giving her photos knowing she was playing me? So f*cked up something wrong with both y'all"
I'm extremely confused. I reply "I have literally no idea what you're talking about, I swear. Are you talking about T? What did she do?"
After he was convinced I wasn't in on whatever he was talking about, he told me that since day one when he met T online years ago, she has been posing as me. He said she used tons of pictures of me, my family. Anytime he asked her to video chat she'd make sure i was around and just film us together being dumb and not really talking to him.

[Then,] I remembered that she would ask me randomly for pictures and I'd send them over, having no idea they were being used to catfish her online boyfriend. I asked him how he found out and he said she revealed it to him that day. He said he told her he never wanted to speak to her again.

The next day, I get a call from her. Her voice is weak and she says she overdosed and is going to die but she loves me. I rush to go get her and me and two friends help her into the truck and drive to the hospital. 

She ends up being okay. I knew it was about her revealing what she had been doing, and that guys reaction. I never said anything though, never asked about it. All I felt was guilt.

* * * * *

Black men should never, ever be left out of any colorism discussion
whether it be on a structural level or a personal level.
Not Ever. 

It has been six years since all of that and I still haven't said anything about it.

It is so hard knowing that she was suffering the whole time, hating herself and disguising it with humor. And to know that I was contributing in ways I didn't even realize to her pain makes it all the worse. 

Even though I didn't have a name for it then, I've seen countless instances of colorism happen to someone I love. I wish I could talk to her about it but she's doing well these days and I don't want to open those wounds.


 "...And all the wavy 
light skinned girls is loving me now"  

         ~From "December 4th" by Jay Z, The Black Album, 2003

  Marriage to Beyonce', 2008