The Black community and the WORLD is ABSOLUTELY Raving about the epic debut of Marvel’s trillion dollar “Black Panther” film this past weekend. Families, friends, and whole communities are banding together to view this historic and already iconic action film, complete with coordinating African attire. Mind you, at the time that I’m writing this, I’ve yet to see the film myself. Of course, I plan to soon. But nevertheless, I’ve definitely been impacted by the mere images of this film, as I’ve known about its pre-production since 2013(one of the perks of attending an HBCU).
In a recent post, I talked about my issues with colorism within the U.S. (You can read more here.) Anyways, “Black Panther” presents extremely positive representation for dark skinned women (and men). It’s almost unfathomable for me, as millennial African American woman, to witness such powerful female roles depicted by African and African American women. Florence Kosumba, Danai Gurira, and Lupita Nyong’o are just some of the captivating images that come to mind.
You know, a few years back, when I was working(interning) at NASA’s KSC, I went to the local mall to get color matched for Lancôme makeup. I was previously a M.A.C. girl, but my Mom had convinced me to give the brand a try since she’d recently made the switch. The makeup artist on-duty was an older White woman that told me that I looked like Lupita Nyong’o. Mind you, at the time, Lancôme had just introduced Nyong’o as their latest spokeswoman/Covergirl after launching new foundation and correlating powder shades for darker skin. Honestly, I thought she was just an ignorant woman who, like many, believed that all dark-skinned people looked the same-Which WE DON’T. Trust me, I get those comments enough to know. But, I admit, her words made an impression on me as I began to stare at Nyong’o’s image throughout the counter’s display. Though I think we look nothing alike, I noticed her skin was a similar hue as mine. My attention quickly drifted to the bold colors that she was wearing in her campaign, when I abruptly asked the woman for the raspberry lipstick shade that she’d worn. I bought that color and quickly drove home to try it on. I looked in the mirror and LOVED IT.
Yes, I know this whole colorism disruption isn’t about makeup or my favorite pink lipstick. But REPRESENTATION MATTERS. Before that day, I’ve never been able to imagine myself in bold colored makeup shades without trying them all on or considering others’ negative remarks. NO, at that point, I was then prompted to imagine myself rocking that color because an elegant, confident dark-skinned woman also wore it.
As a dark-skinned woman, I know what it’s like to feel unattractive, unappreciated, and overlooked. I’m familiar with the sulken looks of my fellow dark sisters. These women live their lives in the shadows of every society, only to be highlighted as the butt of a cruel joke. They’ve seen men, women, and children debase them with their words and their actions. This way of life is NOT what I desire for myself, others, or our children.
As a global society, we can reimagine a world free of subconscious Eurocentric beauty standards. We can ABSOLUTELY choose to shed our negative connotations of dark skin and adopt sheer respect for our darker hued brothers and sisters. Black Panther showed us how we can live outside of the divisiveness of colonialism’s hold. All brown hues indeed matter. But, I’m so glad that those of a darker hue can now see themselves in those enduring, timeless characters. Wakanda FOREVER!
Photos // Marvel Studios