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By tamara
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Shades of Pretty Girls

Apparently Wale’s conditioning has been conditioned. I haven’t seen his newest video but it caused a bit of a ruckus on Twitter last night, for its apparent lack of color. The song, “Pretty Girls” pays homage to the feminine form, like every other song on the radio. The issue is that Wale’s pretty girls were all light skinned.

I never fit in with them light skins
I thought the lighter they was, the better that they life is
So I resented them and they resented me

I don’t understand how any person who has listened to Wale can feel affronted by the beige-scale video. He blatantly speaks of his insecurities and issues with skin tone in the song “Shades”. We all seem to think that he should be some champion of chocolate sisters because he knows what it’s like to be dark-skinned.

Um..no.

Man I hate black, skin tone
I wish I could take it back or rearrange my status
Maybe if I was khaki
Associating light skin with classy
The minstrel show, showed a me that was not me

Just because we speak about our insecurities doesn’t mean that we’re over them. Clap, clap, bravo to Wale for realizing that he harbors ill-feelings about his struggle with skin tone.  But at this point, we should all be aware of the fact that this skin color issue rides way deeper than that and it is hard to combat.

And know it was an act, a defense mechanism
What I thought that I lacked (confidence)

It goes beyond having the conversation and recognizing personal insecurities.  However, the answer isn’t to bite the head off of any rapper who doesn’t have a video that’s chocked full of dark skinned sisters. We can’t overcompensate where skin tone is concerned. The wound is too deep. It takes time. It takes forgiveness and understanding. We have to recognize our insecurities, yes. But we also have to forgive ourselves for perpetuating the problem by ignoring the beauty in all skin tones.

And then we have to allow ourselves space for our preferences. Just because I love dark-skinned brothers doesn’t mean that I think light-skinned guys are any less beautiful. It is okay to have preferences. We just have to ascertain if they are our preferences or society’s.