Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Colorism Does Matter in the Case of Fantasia

It is unfortunate that Fantasia had to address the issue of colorism at a time when unwise decisions and straight gutter behavior in her personal life undermined the truth of skin color preference in the media that has been going on forever.

Before I start my piece, I too as a married woman would’ve been on the hunt for Fantasia, right after I dealt with my hubby. So I speak as a sister who is in love, and celebrates the sacredness of marriage.

Now let me continue…

I cringed at Fantasia’s reality show (especially her coon brother Teeny) and oft-bad hair days of many unflattering shades; but I cannot turn a blind eye on how much negative press she has gotten since her emergence into the limelight or should I say blind-light.

Fantasia, a functioning-illiterate, high school drop-out and young single mother when she won the American Idol competition became the butt of jokes that many people snickered loudly after she publically confessed her educational flaws and social status.
She became the ignorant welfare-mother with the predictable dead-beat black baby daddy that we oft-hear too much since the Moynihan reports of the 1950s.

Fantasia fits perfectly into the quintessential black woman that mainstream America imagines—uneducated, lonely and poor. The fact that she is darker in her brown complexion with broad facial features and big-ole booty, made it easier for the jokes and perceptions to continue.

She is the Jezebel, the Mammy, the Sapphire, the Aunt Sarah and Peaches in Nina Simone’s infamious song, “Four Women.” Hell, look at how Nina Simone herself got treated. Or for that matter, Shirley Chisholm, Cicely Tyson and even Gabrielle Union who can’t land a job if she sucked every director in Hollywood.

Fantasia is aesthetically displeasing from the lens of a supremacist mindset that has never embraced brown-skinned ladies as the epitome of beautiful.

Truth be told, America is still trying to convince them that Michelle Obama is pretty with its overemphasis of her grace and charm.

It took an exposé of her affair for Fantasia to articulate what she had been feeling and thinking for a long time. Hollywood, America, and the black community still operate from a skin color hierarchy.

Of course her claims were done in wrong timing. I agree that her accusations were misplaced and serve as no excuse to contributing to the disruption of a family and fellow black woman; but her charges of a biased, color-eyed media are dead-on.

This is the part of the industry I loathe. High-yella folk (still) get all the fun, and frankly much of the good jobs. Of course they are surveillance and limited, but it is a truth that they enjoy a certain movement than those who are more closely associated to our African ancestors.

I often scratch my head when I look at the African-American correspondents of CNN—especially the women. It is as if dark-skinned people don’t exist in intelligent, professional, and savvy upper-echelon circles.
Or at the very least, have a degree.

The romantic love scenes, the “girl-next” door embrace, the Beyonce, the Rihanna, the Zoe Saldanas, the Vanessa Williams and the Alicia Keys are proffered the carte-blanche (pun—intended) or at least a second chance----even when they eff up.

When Fantasia and the Alicia Keys affair were running simultaneously, I also asked for simple, fair coverage about both matters. Keys not only had an affair with a married man, but Keys’ now hubby then fuck partner, Swizz Beats, had a newborn at the time when she began the role of mistress.

Swizz’ ex-wife, Mashonda Tifrere, was so upset over Keys & Beats affair, that she wrote an open letter to Alicia Keys. In it she states:

If you are reading this Alicia, let me start by saying, you know what you did. You know the role you played and you know how you contributed to the ending of my marriage. You know that I asked you to step back and let me handle my family issues. Issues that you helped to create.

This affair was followed by Keys’ pregnancy and public celebration of a South African traditional ritual to protect the child she will be birthing any day now. And of course, a glamour-filled wedding.

Fantasia’s shenanigans weren’t any better, but you know more about her personal matters because they were the topic of even “Good Morning America.”

Though I acknowledge the quasi-publicity stunt in Tasia’s suicide attempt and confusion of a typical side-chick behavior like thinking her married man really loves her, you cannot dismiss that her color is more of a liability in the media eye.

A book titled Bits & Pieces of My Truth, has a poem that speaks volumes to the colorism darker-skinned sisters’ face.

Fat, Black Ass
Ain’t it funny
More like two-sided
Darker-skinned men get projected
To be Mandingo Gods
Masculinity walking
True blackness in the flesh

When a sister appears
10 shades darker than mahogany
We just sit her in a corner
Disgraces of black women’s beauty

We be two-faced
Brothas rockin’
Hues dipped deep in midnight skin
Accepted, adored flavors to consume

Let his complexioned twin sister
Walk her black ass in
We silently cringe
Or look away

But maybe
If she had a slant in her eyes
Or waves in her hair
We be like
‘Oh, she cute—to be that black.’

And don’t let her be fat
It’s a fact
Her fat black ass
Would be a walking eye show

People silently gawk
Staring terrified at her black to bone
Black to the core
With all that back it up ass
Would remind us of Aunt Jemima
But she ain’t ya mama
She is a walking affirmation
That our roots run deep
Beyond ‘Roots’ series 1 thru 6

And fat black ass
Got people turning away
Turning slightly
Turning their noses

Her mighty epidermis is melanin-dominated
The world loves it
We hate it
She reminds us of who we are

Beauty unaccounted for
Her worth displaced
Somehow this fat black ass sister
Has become a discredit to her race

It’s funny
Every man wants to taste her
But is forbade to spend the rest of their lives with her
She would just make
Blacker babies
That look like…
Ain’t that ya mama?

4 ish talking intellectuals holla at a sista:

Anonymous said...

Why do you speak as if you were involved in each situation? Your words are nothing more than what internet blogs assume. No it had nothing to do with color. Britney Spears and Angelina Jolie were far more brutally tortured than Fantasia. Alicia stayed quiet about the entire situation, never denying, attacking the wife, or tattooing Swizz's name on her body. She also didn't attempt suicide which would have been a huge story. This is not an act of color-ism, seeing that Gabrielle Union is darker than Fantasia and got less press than Alicia Keys on "what she did" this can't be. Le Ann Rhimes is constabtly dogged and she isn't black. Black people use this color card for everything, sometimes you have to look at the facts. For one, Fox and all others did report and question ALicia in 2009, but Alicia's husband DENIED her involvement as soon as the rumor started. Fantasia's guy didn't do that..It's too many different factors that can PROVE why Alicia didn't get as much press as Fantasia..for one..there was NO evidence at all unlike the tattoo Fantasia had. Besides, WE don't know what went on IN REAL LIFE. Neither ONE of them should get dogged out if you ask me, let God handle it all because only HE knows what truly went down. I NEVER take one person's words for truth, because no ONE person is perfect.

Eco.Soul.Intellectual said...

thanks anonymous. i'm glad you read the piece. we disagree on this point, which is cool to me as well. yes there are many factors and colorism is one of them in regards of coverage. i speak from a point of a scholar and one who has down a plethora of research and someone who has worked in the industry. sorry, i'm not a christain. when you speak of HE, i am thinking of my fiancee, and he says i'm right.

bayoucreole said...

This is a great post. Too many people want to pretend that colorism doesn't happen. When in fact, it's happening all the time.

Reggie said...

C'mon let's be honest....they're both hoes.

It is what it is. They're not the first women to take someone's husband away from them. Are they sweet little girls next door?!? No, they're just a couple of hoes.

At the same time, I recognize that if you don't keep the home fire burning, then someone else will come along and throw a log on your fire.