Last week, Kendrick Lamar confirmed his engagement to longtime girlfriend Whitney Alford. While most people were busy congratulating K. Dot for the good news, self-proclaimed “Dark Skin Activist” Rashida Strober took it upon herself to pinpoint some negativity.
According to Rashida, “The Blacker the Berry” rapper is a hypocrite for putting a ring on a light-skinned woman.
Before I get deep into this, let me give you all a little backdrop on Rashida. She’s the founder of the Dark Skin is Beautiful campaign to uplift and raise awareness about issues pertaining to darker-skinned Black women. The Florida native also created the plays, The Ice Cream Lady Dream and A Dark Skinned Woman’s Revenge. Her activism is a result of the verbal torment she endured as a kid for having dark skin.
“Known as ‘black and ugly’ ‘monkey mouth’ and ‘African Booty Scratcher,’ she was told by many that she would never make it as an actress,” reads an excerpt from her Facebook bio.
While it’s sad that this complexion issue is still a reality for our people, Rashida’s childhood experiences explains why she’s so angry. Clearly, she is still suffering from the psychological injuries that were inflicted on her as a kid. I have witnessed dark-skinned friends and classmates go through this same struggle growing up, so I understand the pain and hardships that this light skin vs. dark skin buffoonery has caused so many of our beautiful dark brothas and sistas. However, Rashida is adding to the problem, rather than aiding in its resolve.
I’m not exactly sure of Whitney’s ethnic background (did some deep digging but came up with nothing), but Kendrick’s new fiancé appears to be either a light-skinned African American woman, or a light Latina. Whatever the case, her phenotype says she is, without a doubt, of African descent. So does it really matter what complexion she is? Just because Whitney is not the color of molasses, Kendrick is a “fake conscious” sellout “muther fuker” for dating her?
Let’s be clear: Yes, some of our Black men have those same complexion-fueled self-esteem issues that are obviously eating away at Rashida, and date lighter women (or non-Black women) as a result of their self-hate. But we should not assume that ALL of our men who decide to date light or White despise themselves.
The chains of mental enslavement are clinched so tight that some of us have been conditioned to believe that no one who is dark could possibly date someone lighter without it being tied to low-self esteem. Kendrick couldn’t possibly be getting engaged to this woman because they genuinely love each other and have a spiritual, intellectual and emotional bond. He couldn’t possibly be getting engaged to her because she’s been with him for nearly a decade and has been his soldier years before the fame. The fact that Whitney has been riding with the TDE rap star since his high school days has nothing to do with his decision to put a ring on her finger.
Nah. It’s only because she’s light. Ken saw her complexion and thought, “I have to have this woman because she’s fair in skin and resembles the likes of good ol’ massa.” (Rolls eyes.)
Considering the strong possibility that Whitney is really just a super sunny-skinned African American woman, what then is Rashida saying about light Black women? Are we not BLACK? Are dark Black men, who are also OUR MEN and are a part of OUR RACE, not supposed to be attracted to us because our skin does not unfold like raw chocolate? Are we supposed to shame Black men for loving and valuing lighter-skinned women? And because a Black man dates, proposes and marries a light woman, does that cancel out his appreciation for a dark one?
At this point, this whole light-skin-dark-skin crap is really ridiculous. Kendrick Lamar may be with a fair-skinned woman, but that does not stop him from using his voice to uplift and empower dark-hued people, as evident in his art. So let’s break the chains and not only appreciate the beauty in ALL shades of our race, but realize that every time a Black man decides to date a woman with a lighter skin tone does not signify a subconscious hate for himself, or our beautiful Black people as a whole.