You’re pretty for a dark-skinned girl

img_7885Growing up my beauty and skin complexion was heavily celebrated, especially by my Dad. As far back as I can remember, he was the first person who ever told me that I and my Dark skin was beautiful. On a regular basis, he would proudly proclaim in his raspy Jamaican accent yuh Black and pretty just like yuh Mumma’ or my personal favourite, Mi likkle Black Beauty’.

Whenever he would shower me with praises about my skin, you would always catch me with a face full of smiles. My mum too and as I grew in age, I became heavily accustomed to both their praises. After a while, I started mimicking my parents by showing love and appreciation to my skin all by myself. I guess you could say that their mission to teach me how to love my dark skin was accomplished. My confidence and self-esteem were built off the back of this and at four years old, I became comfortable in the skin that I was in.

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Inevitably, I soon came to learn that although my skin complexion was celebrated at home, it was not desirable by some on the outside. Racism is just one horrific example of this and sadly in 2018, darker skin being seen as ugly or less attractive is still a thing. My parents did not sugar coat anything for me though. I was bluntly told to expect this and possibly discrimination because of my dark skin complexion.

As harsh as this was my parents had every right to prepare me for what I might be faced with out there in the world. But I was reminded that no matter what people thought about my dark skin or said, I still had to love myself. Looking back now, I find it very heartbreaking that my parents even had to sit me down to tell me something like that. Sadly, even with the prior warning, this was something that I certainly was not ready for. So it was not surprising that I found myself swimming in a pool of confusion at 13 years old when I got my first ever real taste of colourism.

Colourism is where an individual is discriminated against or treated differently based on their skin colour. Those who take part in colourism usually value lighter skinned people more than those with darker skin.

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No matter how many times I heard my parents share their own experiences of colourism nothing really could compare to my own. The incident occurred right after I moved to from Brixton to Streatham. Two boys from my new area did not waste time in letting it be known to everyone exactly what they thought of me.  “She is pretty for a dark-skinned ting but dark-skinned tings are just not our thing”. EXCUSE ME? First of all, I did not know that I had even auditioned to be somebody’s dark-skinned ting.

So the unnecessary feedback truly caught me by surprise. It was very cheeky. I did not take it as a compliment and I certainly never took it to heart. But I was slightly embarrassed only because I felt like I had been singled out because of my darker skin. Now they may have said that I was pretty but that was beside the point, I felt very insulted. One of my younger neighbours clearly must have read the embarrassment on my face, because he turned to me and said, “Jenna, they don’t know what they are talking about”. I will never ever forget that because he was right, those boys simply did not have a clue.

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My little neighbour knew better and so did I. There was no way I going to let these boys and their words hurt me because their views meant absolutely nothing. I had to decide at that moment and every moment after that, that I was not going to let any negative thing said about my dark skin ever affect me. I may have been only 13 but the words of my parents and my beliefs were so deeply rooted inside of me. It was simply impossible to convince me to accept or believe in the idea that dark skin was ugly.

I managed to brush it off because even back then I knew that beauty had nothing to do with complexion. I was so sure of that and I was not going to let these two boys blindsight me with their foolery. Unfortunately, this was not the last time I was to be told that I was pretty for a dark skin girl but my stance always remained the same.

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I quickly came to discover that the notion of darker skin being associated with unattractiveness is actually still very common. A recent 2018 study by Jean Jaures looked into the impact of face skin tone on perceived facial attractiveness, results found that overall participants preferred light-skinned faces over dark-skinned ones. Again, this is not shocking because these type of findings have been relatively consistent for decades.

I know some people do not care too much for research or statistics but it would be ludacris to just dismiss such findings. It clearly tells us something and that is Colourism is alive and well and in 2018 and too me that is very concerning. I can only imagine what type of impact colourism could have on young impressionable people, both the victims and perpetrators.

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Another thing that I find very irresponsible is when people try to pass colourism off as personal preference, as opposed to what it really is, colourism. I totally understand that everyone is entitled to like what they like. But for someone to think that darker skin is ugly, for me that goes beyond just preference or what someone prefers. I love dark-skinned men, but that does not mean that I think Lighter-skinned men are less unattractive or ugly.

My Husband could be light-skinned for all I know, but I am yet to meet my husband, so I really do not know what he will look like lol. In my opinion, it is very possible to have a preference that is not built on the poison that is Colourism. Sadly you would think something like colourism should not exist. When in fact if you were to take a closer look you will see that it can be found almost everywhere. The media, the entertainment industry, institutions, the workplace and sadly the list goes on.

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One thing that you should know though is that colourism happens between racial communities and sadly within them. On Black Twitter where some use the hashtags #teamdarkskin and #teamlightskin as a sign of unity within their own group, there are others who abuse this and use it as a way to keep division amongst the two alive.

Sadly the issues between both groups were well established before the birth of Black Twitter. Issues stem from as far back as the days of slavery. Where dark skin slaves were kept out working in the fields and lighter skinned slaves were kept in the house. Lighter skinned slaves were treated fairly better than darker skinned slaves. Reportedly this is just one of many factors that contributed to feelings of superiority amongst those of a  lighter skin tone. The big issue for me is that both groups were slaves and personally I find nothing positive in that, but each to their own.

Some may argue that this superiority is still around today and it continues to feed colourism within the black community. It is very important to know that colourism is not a one-way street though, it affects both dark-skinned women and men. Even those of a  lighter skin tone can fall victims to colourism too. In this day and age, you would think we would be so further away from this.6a87683bb26df9d7e939f9a07eff4653--black-models-black-art.jpg

I feel very blessed that I was able to fall in love with my dark skin from a very young age. By the time I was fully exposed to some of the negative perceptions out there in the world of darker skin, I was unshakeable. I have my parents to thank for that because things could have been very different for me.

There are many dark skin women out there who maybe did not have someone to teach or show them how to love their dark skin. So it is not surprising when faced with negativity about their dark skin, they end up internalising it and it then manifested in other ways. Colourism can be very toxic and damaging to its victims as it can impact everything from self-esteem to mental health.

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Famous actresses such as Gabriella Union and Lupita Nyong’o have openly discussed how they both battled with self-esteem issues because of their complexion. Both extremely beautiful women, who believed that their dark skin was ugly because of the constant negativity they were led to believe. Sadly, there are thousands of other dark-skinned girls and women who have been led to believe the same.

One of the most damaging things has occurred as a result of this is skin bleaching. I think for me this is probably the worse one of them all. It has now become a worldwide pandemic that has many physical side effects as well as psychological. People are going to extreme lengths to change the appearance of their skin, despite knowing the dangers.

Bleaching products are so easily accessible all over the world. I could go online or walk into any black hair shop owned in London and start my bleaching skin journey. I seem to believe if people were openly selling crack cocaine in these local hair shops, the UK government would go to extreme lengths to shut that down. I just do not believe enough is being down to crack down on this. If bleaching skin products are getting through the cracks of the system, then someone is not doing their job properly.

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Things do not stay the same forever and nowadays thing appears to be heading in a positive new direction. Especially within the entertainment and beauty industry concerning dark skinned women. More and more dark-skinned women can be found on covers of international magazine covers like Vogue. Dark skinned women are now leading major beauty campaigns and landing themselves in lead roles in tv shows and films.

Opportunities like this for dark-skinned women were literally non-existent many years ago. Supermodels like Naomi Campbell have paved the way for models like Leomi Anderson to be to able to do what they do. Representation matters and by young dark skinned girls seeing women who look like them in the media,  it is possible that this could have a positive impact on their self-esteem leading to a better self-image.

Dark skin women are now taking centre stage and creating their own narratives instead of being phased by the plague of colourism. It still exists, but more and more dark-skinned women are determined to embrace all of their dark skin chocolate goodness regardless. There is now a strong sense of self-love and pride that oozes from dark-skinned women especially on social media platforms. Everyone appears to be loving their dark skin and they are being unapologetic about it. Again this is amazing stuff as it only helps to uplift those within the dark-skinned community.

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Sadly on these same platforms, there are trolls who work just as hard to keep colourism alive with the constant bullshit they put in tweets and memes. I pray that those who use these platforms positively will develop a zero tolerance for colourism and anything that is associated with it. In today’s society, colourism should have no seat at anyone’s table.

It helps no one and this idea that dark skin is ugly or less attractive needs to come to a swift end. It is complete and utter nonsense and this is me being polite. Dark skin like any other skin tone is beautiful. I can only hope that those who think the opposite comes to know the truth.

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To you, my reader whatever complexion you are, I urge you to be proud and love the skin that you are in. Try your hardest not to be impacted by the mean or hurtful things that people say. Especially on social media if someone talks craps, educate or block them, do whatever is easier for you. We are all equal in Gods image, no one is superior to anybody despite what people may think or promote.

I do hope that this post was insightful to you in some way. I know that is a little different from my usual context but this baby blogger is out there spreading her wings.

If you have had any experiences of colourism or if you want to let me know your views on this post, let’s chat in the comments or you can hit me up on Instagram or Twitter @Jennasworldview.

PS: I have a special skincare post out on Monday 17th September 2018 and I can’t wait for you to read it. Make sure you are signed up to my email updates. All images above were found on good ole google.

Stay blessed

Lots of Love

Jenna

xoxo

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Slaying in all my dark skin goodness in Barcelona – August 2018.

26 & never been on a Bae-cation…

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For those of you that don’t know, a Bae-cation is a vacation that you take with BAE. The Bae in question must be your significant other. Borrowing a BAE from someone else would be quite problematic. Personally, I would avoid that and I urge you to do the same, but hey that is a new blog – post for another day lol

I thought long and hard about this and yes I’d love for the chance to escape to an Exotic Island or be whisked away on a City break with Bae. I never travelled with my ex so this is a new territory that I am keen to explore. As I am now part of the Travel blogging community, I see so many travel pics of couples daily and it really got me thinking about me and my own experiences.

So I decided to reach out to my Instagram family to find out who has been on a Baecation and where did they goIt is safe to say, that I am not the only person left on the earth who has not been on one, whew. There are both Men and Women out there, young and old who are yet to jet out with their partner. I guess this means that I am not an alien and I can stop stressing myself out right?. Mmmm I’m not yet convinced, this lack of Baecation stuff is going on my prayer list, so watch this space, lol.

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 In my head, a Bae-cation goes something like this . . .

Together both of us will be killing it our holiday outfits, from the colours right down to the footwear. We just naturally complement each other as we travel through a new country, exploring and making new memories. Our beach days will consist of long walks, hand in hand in the sand, whilst the waves of the sea flow as our background music. We will stay up late into the evenings, talking about whatever comes to mind right through to the early hours of the morning. Each day away will give us both the chance to recharge, reconnect and plan ahead.

These scenes from a romantic film that I am describing are probably far from the true reality of Bae-cations. I know it sounds so scripted and glamorous, but hey a girl can dream lol. I am an outsider here so I wouldn’t know where to start.  If I am way off hit your girl up and drop some knowledge on me in the comments, lol.

In my mind, a Baecation seems necessary for all couples. Time away from our natural habitats does everyone good, I expect that a Baecation would probably do the same plus more. Chances are it gives some couples the opportunity to pour into each other with minimal distractions or outside influences. From what I have seen and heard, a Baecation is like a Kinder surprise, you just never know what you might get. It is possible to go on a Baecation and not come back the same way.

How many couples have you heard of that went away and come back engaged, eloped, pregnant or even separated?  You just never know what a Baecation could bring, but I am here for it, and can’t wait for my turn. Travelling is a big part of me. Travelling has shaped my character as a woman.Travelling has broadened my horizons. Travelling holds a big place in my heart and life. I can’t even begin to imagine, what it would feel like to share this with Bae. I know this sounds mushy, but hey I said, what I said lol.

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Even before I announced this blog post, I have had lots of questions floating around in my head about Baecations.

When is the right time in a relationship to go on holiday?

Is there a Bae-cation vetting process?

Would I take wigs on a Bae-cation or nah?

Where would we go ?

What started out as a fun light-hearted blog – post quickly took a negative turn, that left me feeling out of place.

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My mind was doing overtime putting this blog post together. To the point where I almost abandoned it. I felt like I was mentally self –harming trying to understand something that I was yet to experience. As I pondered on the fact that I am 26 and I have never been on a Bae-cation, it was getting me very pressed. The thought of it got me extremely agitated, my mood kept dipping and my nostrils flares were on 100. I had to seriously question myself and ask “Jenna what is all the fuss about with this Baecation stuff”? Then it hit me like a ton of bricks and I ended up going down that road of self-reflection.

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I will be 27 in December and my life is really just getting started. There are a lot of things ahead of me, I have lots to see and even more to explore and experience. Even though, I know this to be true, I sometimes have moments of ‘when is it going to happen?”  and I am sure that I am not alone. From about 15 years old, I have planned out my entire life. According to my plans, I should be a qualified Clinical Psychologist, married, pregnant with the twins, renovating my 5th property, and coordinating business deals back and forth from New York.  I am so far away from this plan, it actually chokes me to know that I haven’t achieved anything I just shared on that list.

 I am not where I THOUGHT I would be by this age. Acknowledging that I am now 26 and haven’t been on a Baecation, reminds me that the plans that I made for my life at 15 have not come to fruition. I do feel some type of way, but I have just been getting on with my life and buried these feelings. We all have things that we bury deep down inside of us. In hopes that we never have to deal with them ever again or that if we ignore it the feelings will go away. The truth is, as I get on with life, my faith and my fears are at WAR but only one of them can win. My faith tells me there is still enough time for all of those beautiful things to take place in my life. Whilst my fears tell me, that my career, travel plans, love life and future will never happen. It is a constant battle, but I am determined that my fears will not win.

On this life journey so far I have broken down and hit many roadblocks as well as diversions. I set out on one route, took a few wrong turns, couple detours and there. I have been lost, was given many directions, ended up ditches, rerouted and then found myself back on the roads, with the breeze blowing through my hair. I made plans for my life and believed I would go down a particular route in order to achieve them but that has been far from the case and that’s fine.

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Sometimes in life, the route in which we take to achieving our plans will be the very thing that destroys us. We have our hearts and minds set on things that have nothing to do with where Gods wants to take us. I am not saying that we must not set goals or plan.  I am saying that if you plan something and it doesn’t work out how you thought it would, don’t be disheartened. Just know that God has SOMETHING better in store for you. When you get caught up in what did not work or what you don’t have, you lose sight of where you are. Even if something has not happened in your life just yet, doesn’t mean that it will never happen.

I am guilty of living my life through an unrealistic checklist created by me, influenced heavily by family expectations, peer pressure, society standards & Culture. I can confidently say that I know I am not the only one.There is no real manual on how to do this life thing because it is very much all trial and error. In a weird way I felt very disappointed that I had not achieved some of those things on my list, because If I did, Bae-cations would have happened already. Those plans that I wrote for my life at 15 have secretly been holding me hostage. My unrealistic timelines have made me feel some type of way about things that I cant control in life.

The truth is this, it doesn’t matter how much we stress or wonder when things will happen in our lives. At the right time, in the right season, with the right people, everything that is yours shall be given unto you. Stressing is a waste time because it won’t get you to your goals any quicker. Do not to focus on what has not shown up just yet in your life, have faith that GODS plans will lead you to everything that you need.

So yes, I am 26 and I have NOT yet been on a Bae-cation, but it will happen, just like all the other things that are destined for my life. What I have and what I do not have, no longer has power over me and that now gives me hella strength.

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Stay Blessed peeps

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You can find and follow me on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook @JennasWorldView

Jenna’s Words of Wisdom

Remember it is always good, to be honest with yourself about your inner thoughts and feelings. Self-reflection is key!

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Lots of Love

Jenna

xoxo