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Colorism in Africa: Jidenna's POV

jidenna says being light-skinned in nigeria made him a target
col·or·ism ˈkələrˌizəm / noun:
prejudice or discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group.

It is a known fact that racism is a prevalent issue around the world, especially in the United States. African-Americans have been the top, targeted audience in these acts of racism and discrimination by white supremacists. With that being said, who would've thought that a subcategory of racism called colorism would exist and be an issue within the African-American community?! Have you heard of "light skinned vs. dark skinned"?...At some point, this stereotype has turned into a joke and some people fail to realize that it is not a joking matter. It is hurtful, creates a barrier within the community, and breaks the united front the African-American community has built over years of oppression. The young OG 'Classic Man' Jidenna himself has faced colorism in his home country of Nigeria for being light-skinned!

The "Light Skin vs. Dark Skin" debacle can be traced back as early as the 18th century in the Colony of Virginia. William 'Willie' Lynch, a white slave owner, made a speech on the banks of James River. In his speech, he spoke of breaking the African-Americans unity because the unity led to revolts. He created "The Lynch" plan that would control the physical and mental state of the blacks for years to come. His plan focused on making the small differences within the community into major differences that would cause a rift. That is how colorism came about. Throughout U.S. history, the fair and lighter skinned African-Americans were treated better than the darker skinned African-Americans. 

According to an interview with VLAD TV, Jidenna, who is a Nigerian-American known for being a well-dressed, classic singer/rapper signed to Janelle Monae's Wondaland label, faced colorism as a light-skinned in Nigeria after going home to attend his father's funeral. He said he had to bring AK-47's for protection. In the interview, Jidenna also stated the following that gave a bit of insight into the colorism barrier in Africa from his point of view:

“Our family was light. When you’re light-skinned you’re a heavier target for being kidnapped. Because you’re seen as more valuable. You’re seen as white. You have more money. We were robbed. Our family has been assaulted. It’s different. For us, we’ve always been a target. When you come to America, it’s different.”

Since the July 9th interview, Jidenna has been receiving a lot of backlash from social media users, specifically users of Nigerian descent, for his comments. How can you fault the man for speaking on his own experiences?

There are more urgent problems in the world that needs our undivided attention than worrying about the color of our skin. Love yourself and the skin you were given!

(Photo: Instagram)

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