YELLOW PAWPAW: THE MENACE OF COLORISM IN NIGERIA

First of all. Question

Do we have colour issues in Nigeria? Or not?

I ask because I see people going in on celebrities when they talk about their skin issues; being grateful for their rich dark skin, falling in love with its black velvety wonder and not having enough role models with such skins to look up to. You’d see people telling them to shush it and stop acting like we haven’t had various black beauties to grace our screens or dominate our industries. So the question is…are those celebrities trying to force American colorism issue down Nigeria’s throat by going on about how skin denies one from breaking into some places? I have seen Beverly Naya talk about it, Tiwa Savage and a host of others.

Personally I think the Nigerian society has a strong obsession  with skin colour and complexion. Some of us have been around people who have trolled others for being skin dudu, dudu, charcoal, burnt offering. I have been part of those who derisively call dark skinned Ganiyat from secondary school Ojaka(local black rat). No I am not proud of that but back then it felt like a harmless nickname until she expressed her displeasure. Poor Ganiyat with all that trolling and hurtful remarks about her skin.

I believe our society’s meanness and the way they put down dark skinned people have contributed a lot to people bleaching and wanting to be as white as snow. We can’t equate the way people troll light skinned people to dark skinned people, fair skinned people are called oyinbo, yellow, fanta from a place of endearment and not mockery. We see fair skinned women at the top wrung when it comes to beauty, an example is beauty pagaents, you can count the dark skinned ones who have worn the crown on your fingers, see the entertainment industry as well especially the music industry you seldom see ebony women as vixens or a love interest. Instead you see fair girls, mixed babes, exotic looking women or in some common cases white women! Remember when Tekno rejected that dark lady? How many dark skinned women have we seen on billboards for Nigerian companies? How many have you seen advertising beauty products? You guys remember delta soap ad of early 2000s? Featuring Sandra Okagbue and the rest? That ad was a display of different shades of fairness. Remember when Nadia Buhari became an ambassador for a skin care brand too? Thank God for queens like Genevieve Nnaji, Ini Edo, Joke Silva, Funke Akindele and the rest who refused to bleach and showed the dark skinned women they can serve that magic in whatever skin colour they are.

Some of us have been unfortunate enough to be at the receiving end of discrimation due to our skin colour. Whether we want to admit it or not some people can be unjust to others due to their skin tone, some women have gotten rejected at jobs for being dark skinned and the reasons range from not being able to attract customers to not fitting into the look the company wants. Does skin colour affect the brain?

Even mothers know the society’s insane preference for light skinned babies, are always eager to please light skinned kids, quick to call them cute, cuddle and carry them. That so explains why women were taking lightening injections during pregnancy, taking pills and all sorts to birth a fair skinned baby! That explains why mum’s would mix bleaching creams with baby oils, funbact A with shea butter in a bid to kitten their babies skin. Those women don’t care about their babies health to them they are doing what is best for their babies. Who would blame those women when it is mostly fair babies you see advertising baby products – diapers, clothes, shoes, cereals. Who wouldn’t want her child to be the toast of the teacher and other students? Who wouldn’t want their child to be the one everybody sees in a sea of other dark skinned babies.

This colorism issue is so deep seated in our society that we also exhibit the behaviour unconsciously because how else would we explain Nigerians trolling Kenyans, Senegalese, Ghanians, Sudanese and other dark skinned people for their skin any time there is a Twitter war? That is the number 1 and 2 things Nigerians go for. Their skin colour! Ironic for a country whose majority parade dark skins.

For how long would we keep peddling this colonial mentality? For how long would we keep feeding it and nurturing it and handling it over to the next generation? How long would we keep being the dump site for all sorts of harmful mixtures? How long would it take us before we drop thst slave mentality and start appreciating everyone for what they look like. I mean we are Africans, we are black with different shades.