“she too dark to have on that red lipstick.” apparently, asap rocky isn’t the only person who believes black women on the darker side of the melanin spectrum shouldn’t wear bright lipstick. according to my big sister kdj, she faced this not-so-quiet whisper while boarding the bus, and was quick to couch it among the bevy of criticism and judgmental stares that she receives while wearing her precious ruby woo lipstick. not easily intimidated, kdj was unfazed, but her comments made me think: how many black women shy away from bright colors because we’ve been told that we’re too “dark”?
when i turned 16, my mom took me to the fashion fair counter and purchased my first makeup kit. the sales associate counseled me to wear warm colors and quickly applied a golden lipgloss that was as thick as molasses. the message was clear: dark-skinned girls like me shouldn’t venture to the more colorful side of the lip color rainbow. thank God some of us are challenging the ridiculous notion that skin color should be the only determinant for lip color.
reds, pinks and the current trend of even bolder colors like blue and purple are being worn by sisters as chocolate as sudanese model alek wek (pictured below). beauty is all about self-expression and confidence; let the naysayers mumble under their breath while we dark-skinned-red lipstick wearers continue to swag the fuck out. remember that the roots of this “no bright colors” rule comes from the same racist and sexist paradigm that tells us we’re not beautiful.
i’m sending power and love to sisters who boldly eschew the restrictive norms that are associated with being dark skinned. i see you.