The #Fiftyshadesofblack campaign which kicked off sometime in August 2014, was born out of Beverly Naya’s inclination to inspire the African woman to have confidence in her skin colour. And make her realize that beauty is unearthed in different shades.
Colourism is a global phenomenon, however, colourism, as it obtains overseas, is the segregation between whites and every African shade-blacks. In Nigeria and other parts of Africa, colourism takes quite a different form. Colourism is the supremacy battle between the fair and every other shade of melanin.
“In Nigeria, a number of women do everything possible to lighten their skin instead; it really is about status and unattainable beauty standards”.Beverly Naya
In Africa, a fair girl is regarded as the icon of beauty and what other shades aspire to become.
This perceived thought that if you are not fair, it equates to you being not beautiful, not prosperous and not attractive to the opposite sex, has driven girls of a darker shade to attempt the use of bleaching creams and pills to lighten their skin colour.
“A number of Nigerian men have grown to associate having a light-skinned wife or lover as an achievement or trophy, bringing them closer to seeming somewhat successful amongst their peers”.Beverly Naya
And our gorgeous dark-skinned women, subjected to the demand of society, found a way to modify their skin colours just because: “eligible bachelors want the fair girls, fair girls get all the favours, their flashy shade snaps up all the attention, fair girls are considered first when it comes to certain jobs and positions“-and it’s true. I’m not going to waive this off as peddled report. It’s true. The way society is conditioned to view fair girls as trophies, it’s no wonder that some companies go for fair girls, and “specific” body types.
It does not even end there. Fair girls who consider themselves not bright enough, apply lightening creams to enhance their looks.
I stand strongly with Beverly Naya saying, this has to change. Before you dismiss me, “a dark-skinned girl campaigning for herself,” I am light-skinned, and I know we all are beautiful and gorgeous women, irrespective of our skin tones. Growing up, there were dark-skinned women I wished to be like; my mom for one. When she walks into a room, you just have to notice. Till date, there are skinned women I have met, who hold such an electrifying effect. You can’t help but crane your neck, to have one last long look at them before they are out of sight. So it does hurt when our women feel they have to bleach to attain a “certain” standard of beauty.
We need to do more than promote and like pictures from melanin hashtags on the gram and really deeply love our skin shade.
You should watch Beverly Naya’s Skin, a short documentary directed by Daniel Etim Effiong premiered in 2019, at the Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival and Lecture Series, in New York. It explores the roots of colourism in Africa, bleaching effects, and raw candid conversations with women who have used bleaching creams.
We’re currently planning a pan-African youth tour funded by the Ford Foundation and the goal is to screen at different secondary schools and universities across the continent.Beverly Naya
Naya revealed this information in her chat with Essence. This tour has since kicked off, and Naya is not backing down. Only recently she was at Igbinedion University Edo State to speak to the students on colourism and self-love. Way to go Naya!
Want more stories like this? Then sign up here. Don’t forget to check out our related stories below.
Featured Image: Beverly Naya