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  • Adrianne Grayson

Brown Skin Girl: What This Song Means To Me

As a Brown Skin Girl, it is super fun to be able to have a song that's singing about you. Because as women, we like to be seen. Our genetic makeup MUST include that of a strong desire to be seen by everyone around

When we enter a room...

When we go to a new school...

Join a new church..

Start a new job...



Although we wouldn't generally want to admit it, there's just something about being seen that makes us feel validated in this crowded world.


So to have a song specifically created for the black girl/woman...this alone was definitely a reason for me to blast this song in my car, while singing to the top of my lungs with my four year old daughter.


But really there's so much more to this song..


It can seem, from the perspective of others, that black people are seen to always want to have our "own thing", desire to be excluded from the "group", or stand apart from others so that we can shine.


That couldn't be further from the truth.


We simply make our own, so that we can create avenues where we are celebrated for our accomplishments.


Uplifting and encouraging one another.


It might not seem as important if eyes are always on you, but what if they weren't and your world was bombarded by images of beauty that look NOTHING like you.


TV Shows

Commercials

Movies

Magazines

Social Media

the list can go on...



This is why this song touched my spirit, because not only do brown women and girls want to be seen, as any other woman and girl, we also want to be seen as beautiful.


There are three major issues that this song touched on which plague our society: skin color, hair and overall beauty features.


These issues are not ones that brown girls think of every once in awhile. But those that we think of, even fleetingly,


Every


Day.


Number 1: Skin Color


We are judged by our skin tone, by we, I mean even us ourselves. We look down at the color of our hands, feet and face and compare it with one another as we think the world does to us. This is a subconscious curse we were plagued with during slavery and we still can't seem to shake it over 100 years later. We think that if we're lighter we're more beautiful. We think that if we're lighter we're more acceptable. We think that if we're lighter we're worth more.

Worth more..

Something as insignificant as the shade of our beautiful skin we believe determines our worth...


So when Beyonce sang, "pretty like Lupita when the camera close in..." referencing the beauty of Lupita N'yongo, that was more than a clever line. Since her skin is so beautifully dark she was simply saying "Yes, dark brown skin girl, you are so freaking beautiful."


She also sings, "There's complexities in complexion, but your skin it glows like diamonds...". Our family members focus on color, our friends, our mothers and our grandfathers. It has permeated our subconscious so deep, that we make jokes about it while hurting one another and no one seems to even notice...


So Brown Skin Girl, the complexity in your complexion is neither here or there. It lives in your mind and only you have the power to rip out the disease and remind yourself that whether you are lighter or darker, to the outside world you are simply a gorgeous Brown Skin Girl.


Number 2: Our Hair


Beyonce, "I love everything about you from your nappy curls."Do ya'l remember when Beyonce was always criticized for "not doing" Blue's hair? It being in its natural state was not good enough for anyone it seemed. Instead she was ridiculed for "not combing" her hair. But I never really saw anything wrong with her hair. No it wasn't "slicked" and "laid" but it was in its natural state, and in it's natural state it was still flyy. She was unashamedly showing that her daughter had pretty "nappy curls". She wanted her to be proud of who she was while attempting to be the example of reminding us how beautiful all brown girls are



My sister and I talk about this frequently because we realize that a part of us likes our hair because society does. I mean why wouldn't we, we are constantly told, "we have good hair", hair that is more easily managed. Hair that is, more like a white person. Hair that is...coveted because the idea is, it is a luxury to have the least black in you as possible.


The idea that flows through generations is that it is coveted to be less like you...and more like someone else...


To be more...white


Truth is..how cool is it that NO ONE has hair like black people...the uniqueness makes us like royalty. The difference makes us a part of an exclusive club of which we should be proud to be members.


The way our hair can be molded and styled can be breathtaking. Ancient Africans were known to be flamboyant and enjoy creating beautiful hairstyles. Instead of this being seen as less than, back then it was a sign of prestige.


Number 3: Overall Beauty


The issue with the current beauty standard is that it does not typically include anything that comes native from brown women except for those features that are sexualized.


Our curves are what people deem as sexy.


But the beauty award typically goes to those who have features we see as European.


So when Beyonce sings, "When you're in the room they notice you because you're beautiful..."


A beautiful Brown Skin Girl...It is monumental


It's inspiring.


It's affirming.


This, like all brown mamas with brown little girls, is what we want our daughters to grow up and not only speak, but truly BELIEVE.


We desire that their inner self not be conflicted with society and culture brainwashing that is always telling us what beauty is.


But that they know that they are beautiful for being them.


Just them.


Until next time,


Adrianne


P.S. I dedicate this post to Aria, Audrey and Raevyn

(May they wear their nappy curls proudly, rock their brown skin confidently and know that their features, just as they are, are beautiful.)




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