Spice: Colorism and Black Hypocrisy

Written by: Charmaine Lindsay

Jamaican, Dancehall artist Spice, whose real name is Grace Hamilton is most popular for her erotic songs and music videos with her acrobatic female dancers. However, she took a break from that routine to speak out against colorism. She did this in her recent social media stunt, and soon after released single, “Black Hypocrisy”.

The artiste sent many of her fans on social media into a frenzy with her recent Instagram post of her with a much lighter complexion. Her caption said, “Nothing wrong with a fresh start…” Spice, who is dark-skinned, deleted all her previous pictures and video posts from her page and seemed to have made a big switch to the other side of the black color spectrum. Soon after, many people went craaazy and did not hesitate to let her know their disappointment with her move. But much to my surprise, someone expressed that they thought she looked gorgeous. Another jokingly said that they would love to find out who did her skin-lightening job so perfectly.

It became obvious though that she was on a mission. She was just creating publicity for her new single and video, “Black Hypocrisy”, which she immediately released after this stunt. In the video, she was back to her original rich chocolate brown complexion (a huge sigh of relief!). Here she addressed colorism among black people and how: “I was made to feel inferior cause society say brown girls prettier…”. In some parts of the video, her skin complexion looks altered again and she rhetorically asks: “do I look pretty to you?” Stating her struggle against inequity, she boldly proclaims that she does not need to meet the standards of beauty which many in the Caribbean and world at large have that light-skinned women are the ideal definition of beauty: “me love the way me look, me love me pretty black skin. Respect due to me strong melanin. Proud of me color, love the skin I‘m in.”

To some, her move may have seemed a little too much but I totally believe it was a point that needed to be made. As a fellow chocolate-skinned Caribbean lady, I have seen first hand the effects of this insidious: “Black people hypocrisy” which “leaves the girls them with low self-esteem”.  It results in many women of a darker hue, bleaching their skins and then having to hide from the sun to maintain their fleeting ‘browning’ look. Sad to say, as Spice highlighted, it is some of the same black people who should be uplifting other blacks who push this senseless ideal of beauty.

Who has the right to define beauty anyway? Why should a female artist who is obviously talented and trying to make her money feel less than because she is dark-skinned?

The US entertainment industry, as a whole, promotes this hypocrisy. They love black people, but they are quicker to accept the cookie-cutter ‘Hallie Berry’ and ‘Beyoncé’ look. Then, like with everything else, when America sneezes the Caribbean, who always seems to get the sniffles, adopted their behavior. I mean, if you take a good look at the array of female dancehall artists in Jamaica it will not take long to see that most past the ‘browning test’.

I hope this move by Spice will encourage other black women to start to appreciate their skin tone and that more of us will begin to realize that all black is beautiful.  Even more so, we realize that true beauty and talent is skin deep and free ourselves from the mental shackles that the Ethnocentric ‘beauty’ of lighter skin is better.

Big up to Spice for being bold enough to subject herself to the initial criticism to make a point for all black girls – all shades of black girls – to remind us we are beautiful.

“B – Black, L – Lovely, A – Attractive, C – Courageous, K – Kind”

Keep peace, love, and laughter in you’ heart and walk good.

*Note that the opinions expressed here are those of the blogger and not those of management.

 

Sources:

Black Hypocrisy! Dancehall Queen Spice Shares Her Horrific Experience With Colorism: bet.com

Spice made her point – Industry insiders weigh in on ‘Black Hypocrisy’: jamaica-star.com

Black Hypocrisy, Spice [lyrics]: genius.com

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