Primal Scream (7/2020 by Tamu)

It may be your reckoning, but for some of us, it is our awakening. Realizing that we have been bred to be complacent. To accept little morsels rather than a whole pie as progress. To follow the “status quo” and hope for the best.

To diminish ourselves, to make ourselves invisible, to silence ourselves as a method of self perseveration. To watch, read, and hear about black & brown people getting slain by police, by anyone white who “just feels unsafe” and metaphorically step over their carcasses and move past like it’s nothing in front of others while we scream in out our hearts like our ancestors before us watching lynchings and whippings, and loved ones being stolen.

To stuff the anger, sadness, and pain down deep and put a smile on our faces or provide words of solace to, or be the calm, sounding board; placating and acknowledging “it’s a shame” “but not all police” or “not all whites”.

We wonder why we haven’t been able to explain the sudden depression, immobility, inability to function, intolerance of excuses, and acceptance of “not all”.

The scream is no longer coming from our hearts.

Missing: Sisters of a Darker Shade of Brown (1993/94 by Tamu)

In Episode 4: The Color Chip, I read a writing sample I submitted to newly formed Vibe magazine. Here is the article, with video examples! Enjoy!

The problem is an age old one that many people dismiss as nothing serious, however, what they fail to realize is that no matter ow trifle my observation may seem, it is real and rocks the core of many darker women.

The other day, I was watching music videos when I noticed that the majority of the sexy video vixens were either Latinas or light-skinned brown women with long straight hair. I couldn’t place my finger on exactly what was wrong with that until I watched some more videos and realize that there were no darker brown-skinned women in the majority of music videos. Being a darker brown-skinned woman, I was angered and appalled by this atrocity because I know that there are beautiful darker brown sisters in this world, but, try to find five of them in the next Jodeci video–the odds are you won’t.

Circa 1991 – You know they were hot in those opaque rain suits!

What you will see are dark brown women who are very “natural looking” i.e., short hair–basically shaved close to their heads, skin the color of dark chocolate, and very large, full lips. Although these women are beautiful and sexy, they were not portrayed as such on the video screen; they were either wearing baggy clothes, or backup dancing, or doing some behind the scenes work. An excellent example of this is Portrait’s video “Here We Go Again!; all of the women they were singing to were light-skinned, tall, and slender The only darker brown woman was drowning in a pair of baggy overalls, holding a picture frame. She was a beautiful woman, but no one would take notice of her because she did not look like the other women in the video.

Circa 1992 – There was ONE dark brown lady love interest. What is up with dude’s karate moves?!

I say of this to say that what is seen on the video screen correlates directly into the mainstream of society. Look around at people walking arm in arm on the streets, you’ll see a majority of brown men with white, Latina, or light brown-skinned women. Why? The answer is that baby fine hair and a light honey-coated complexion is what most men are trained to desire and find beautiful. Videos add to this by only showing these kinds of women in music videos. The musicians are acting in accordance with society and doing what they have fantasized about all of their lives; a beautiful, buxom, fair-skinned sex goddess with hair down her back straddling them, rubbing her long fingertips all over their puny “muscular” frames, and , her body dripping wet with her nipples ever extended, making them feel like the most handsome and desired men in the world. Since the majority of men want to feel like men in the videos, they are going to overlook a beautiful darker brown sister and step to the lighter shade of brown.

To the women who love the songs sung by these men; don’t you sometimes feel disappointed when you see who the songs that you think are sung only to you are really being sung to? Isn’t it funny that when a woman has a jam that people love, like Janet, they cover the entire color spectrum so that no one feels left out and men can envision themselves as being seduced but Janet and others like her.

Circa 1993 – Get it, J!
Circa 1993 – Damn, Tish!

To the men who make the video with an equal opportunity flavor, I applaud you and hope that others will take your positive and unbiased view of music being for everyone.