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Charlamagne the Colorblind, Colorism Ain’t Dead

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Recently, Amara La Negra, an established Afro-Latina musical artist, graced The Breakfast Club with an interview (watch here). Instead of being able to focus on her new contract and her thriving career, she was dragged into discussing colorism barriers for the umpteenth time.

If you let Uncle Charla tell it, he’s woke. He’s aware of the systems of oppression that are in place to keep disenfranchised minorities in the lower echelon of society. He even supports several movements that stand for the preservation of black lives, black businesses, and a strong black economy. Despite all of this, he’s unable to see how colorism effects Afro-Latina women because of Cardi B’s success. If he can’t see how it divides the Latin community, he isn’t going to see how it divides the Black community, but why? Having directly benefited from the success of Cardi B, who earned a platinum plaque in December 2017 for Bodak Yellow, you’d think Charlamagne would have discussed colorism with her. She’s easily navigating the Latin/US entertainment markets. We’ll save why Amara has to continue to champion for her people for another day, but let’s get to what we know.

Colorism is real and it affects everyone that's a product of the diaspora, including Charlamagne tha God and Cardi B. Click To Tweet

Say It Loud!

Colorism is real and it affects everyone that’s a product of the diaspora, including Charlamagne tha God and Cardi B. However, it impacts her positively because she is racially ambiguous. Whether she appreciates that or not is debatable. She’s gone on record to say that she thinks her natural hair texture is “fucked up” and she hopes her future children don’t inherit it. Cardi has called dark skin women roaches, which is another indicator that she was raised to think negatively of African features. She’s admittedly unable to stop saying the n-word although she identifies as Latina and not Afro-Latina. Colorism is what prompts Cardi to be ashamed of her blackness while simultaneously benefitting from its culture. She had the opportunity to accept her Afro-Latinidad heritage and proclaim it loudly but chose to separate herself from blackness, exploiting her racial ambiguity to make herself appealing in foreign markets. These same markets are often heavily laced with anti-black imagery by featuring predominantly fair-skinned people in positions of beauty or authority and dark-skinned people as criminals like Amara says in her interview with The Breakfast Club. Jamaica is on the list where this is an unfortunate truth.

Ozuna’s La Modelo, a Spanish collab that features Cardi, was set in Jamaica which has been in the center of a bleaching epidemic. Inhabitants of the aisle were the subject of a telling documentary in 2013 that showcased just how “fairer” skinned people were finding better wages and more reputable positions as dark-skinned people were relegated to work outdoors and frequently lived in slums. This also takes place in the Dominican Republic, Amara’s homeland, where 90 percent of the island has black ancestry. Perhaps Charlamagne’s newfound colorblindness is because he too lightens his skin. Let’s all hope that someone decides to put the flash on Cthagod so he can see we still live in a world where whiteness and everything that mimics it is still celebrated before he finds himself in the Sunken Place.

Charlamagne the God Bleaches his Skin

50 Shades Lighter

 

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For The Culture

Summer Walker & Social Anxiety

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Is T.I. Ok?

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Summer Walker Says We Don’t Deserve Her…And She’s Right

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Summer Walker’s recent Instagram post aims to remind us all to step away from the superficiality of social media and remember we’re only human.

In an age where people exploit “Love, Light, and Positivity” through discussions involving mental health and support, toxicity toward those affected has never seemed more prevalent. Conversations regarding self-care, emotional maturity, and navigating anxiety or depression seem to flood social media in ways that both normalize and trivialize the conditions. While the public perception of mental health is changing for the better, it seems our behavior does not match.

Social media has allowed us to become more accessible to one another but over time we forget there’s a living, breathing, feeling entity on the other end. We become crass, callous, and act without regard for another individual. In that ignorance, we forget that access to each other is a privilege and not a right. For someone like Summer Walker, who has reached their limit with public criticism, denying others access is no massive effort.

“Y’all Can Have The Music & Imma Just Head Out”

Summer Walker has always been candid about mental health. During her concerts, she often pauses to address her social anxiety while encouraging others to push toward their goals. Although she’s continuing to navigate the music industry and face her challenges head on, she recently made the decision that her first tour will be her last – partly due to social media criticism. Saying, “I’ve decided y’all don’t deserve me” Walker intends to distance herself from the public’s gaze upon the conclusion of her tour.

Following immense criticism for her Tiny Desk performance and hygiene practices, Summer penned a caption on Instagram in an effort to remind people she’s “just a regular person.” Believing people’s values are skewed, Summer said public expectations of her are too high and she has no desire to be in constant competition with the world. “Everyday/everything isn’t a Miss America bad b*tch contest and I don’t feel the need to put others down to stay relevant.” Adding that people are really disconnected, she said we’re hiding behind apps, filters, clothes, and other things that distract us from who we truly are. Imploring others to apply equal effort in enhancing their spiritual appearance along with their physical, Summer exposed the lack of self-acceptance and performative empathy that has affected so many.

Girls Need Love

It’s great to place so much emphasis on the importance of mental health care and showing up for your “strong friend”. But it isn’t truly being applied when your solidarity is so visible in theory but not in practice. People who experience social anxiety are not exempt from what causes it through the use of social media. For creatives, the irony of their work providing so much happiness while they often struggle with mental health issues is not lost. While Summer’s fans are hoping she does not refrain from producing music in the future, she’s made it pretty clear she has no obligation to shrink her emotional boundaries to please anyone besides herself.

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