A few months back Caymanian actress and Empire star Grace Gealey expressed surprise at the light skin vs dark skin dynamic in the United States, saying that she hadn’t encountered it prior to moving here. Many folks understood where she was coming from, but others felt she was presenting skin biases as a uniquely American thing. But in a recent interview with Yahoo, actress Tatyana Ali, whose mother is Afro-Panamanian and father is Indo-Trinidadian, spoke honestly about some of the challenges she faced defining her own beauty.
I was forced to create my own standard for beauty, because I wasn’t exactly the same as any one side of my family. Growing up in a mostly white community in Long Island made things difficult as well. To be truthful, there are a lot of prejudices in the Caribbean and in Indian communities about hair type and skin color. So, I heard the good, the bad and the ugly and had to decide that I didn’t believe any of it.
Tatyana’s honest admission shines a light on the reality that colorism is a near-universal phenomenon, although it manifests differently in various cultures. Our own writers have spoken of their experiences with light skin privilege and dark skin prejudice in Caribbean, African, European and African American culture.
Ladies, what are your thoughts?