Black Fascination

While waiting at an intersection on my way to class, I was struck. There was a girl walking towards me that captured my attention. Being in Philly for awhile now, seeing the “unusual” on the streets has become nothing more than common to me; however, this girl was different. She was dark. Not milk chocolate dark, or coffee with a little bit of cream dark, but black. Her skin blended in with the color of her charcoal-colored North Face jacket, and her hair camouflaged within her brows. I was mesmerized as she walked past me with poise and determination; I thought she was beautiful. After this brief experience, I brought it up with a friend. Yet, before I could give my opinion on what I thought about it all, my friend remarked with great sorrow, “Oh, that’s unfortunate. That must really suck for her.” For some reason, this comment took me by surprise. Being a darker girl myself, I always found immense beauty in black skin; and, I was primarily astonished because I had never seen a skin tone that dark before due to my upbringing in a predominately white town. Somehow I had forgotten the “lighter is better” rule that seemed to permeate through society—a rule that never made sense to me. Abiding by a system that forces blacks to measure up against white standards of beauty is pointless in its innate outcome of failure. Blacks will not be whites, and I do not understand the celebration of characteristics that are not intrinsically based in our culture. We need to stop saying “how sad” or feeling pity for darker-skinned Blacks. In dark skin you can see the history of our people—the struggle, the disaster, the survival. Anyone with darker skin knows the burden that is placed on us to hate our skin. However, the strength that fosters from the rejection of that notion and the love of one’s color is more beautiful than any fair-skinned myth society can hold. Like thick lips and wide noses, dark skin is a part of our heritage, and it is yet another part of us to celebrate. There is no shame in any of the shades of our black skin: accept it, love it, live it.

**A great poem that shows the beauty of black skin from Black Skinned Beauty Tumblr page**

11:59 (For those who’re various shades of purest black)

11:59

That is me. Not midnight, no

That’s the axis, the turning point wherein lies the promise of the coming dawn

11:59

I’m that one minute before twelve am

Those 60 seconds where noir colors the earth

When nighttime swallows all remnants of light

When even the moon bleeds black

I wear midnight on my skin

With skin as dark as the shadows on sunny days

And tones as warm as the center of the earth

I am 11:59

I am draped with night

Clothed in dusk

I am what God must see when He closes His eyelids

I am 11:59

Society tries to tell me

That we who’re bountiful in melanin, also lack beauty

That dark-skinned girls stay losing

That dark-skinned girls ain’t shit

There’s a reason darkness restores,

Why it is in darkness that you find peace

And rest for the weary

Why black soothes headaches

And mourners alike

11:59

Parents checking in on sleeping babes

Lovers falling fast asleep, nestled safe in each other’s arms

Teenagers slipping in, barely making curfew

Old folks peacefully reliving their glory days

The threshold between tonight’s calm and tomorrow’s worries

11:59

Peace. Still. Quiet.

On the heels of midnight

The last beautiful seconds

Before the disturbances of the morrow

I’m that dark-skinned girl

With nappy hair in braided twists

Borne on big bones and an even bigger heart

I am 11:59

– Joy Pickens, C’17

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