Before this week I had not heard of Rapper Kendrick Lamar, but he made the news for taking a very nontraditional approach to choosing the lead model in his “Poetic Justice” video. According to Black Enterprise, Lamar fired the lighter skinned model and replaced her with a darker one, Miss Brittany Sky. Just taking a moment to give props to the rapper for going against the social norms and doing what felt organic to him. He had this to say in a recent tweet to Miss Info.
Not Light “Vs” Dark tho. More about “BALANCE”..Givn every shade of woman life, not jus what da industry thinks is “Hott” 4 camera. @missinfo
— Kendrick Lamar (@kendricklamar) March 1, 2013
Again, mad props to Lamar, but I have another more pressing issue to raise. Why is it, that in 2013 we are still having the conversation about light skin and dark skin? You would think Hollywood and the rest of the entertainment world would have caught a clue by now, but I guess not. It never dawned on me that this would still be a relevant conversation these days. Especially given the fact that we have had Viola Davis and Gabourey Sidibe nominated for Oscars, and since we have been looking at models like Alek Wek and Jeneil Williams for nearly 20 years. But I suppose I’m a bit naive then.
The question now becomes how do we find “BALANCE” in the words of our now heroic rapper dude? I’m thinking it starts with our own community finding more acceptance in our own diversity. These days we control our own production companies, TV networks and magazine publications…in other words there is no reason for us not to see more diversity in our ideas of beauty. But since our presence in multi-media ownership is still not making much of a dent, its time to challenge consumers.
I for one, only support establishments that support me. I don’t buy magazines that don’t have plus sized models. I don’t buy brands that don’t utilize women of color in their advertisements. I refuse to support television networks that don’t employ black people… see the pattern here? Its important support the people that support you. If we all take a united stand, I think you will be surprised at who is listening to our plea.
Let me know your thoughts, leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter at @JaiStone.