When Your Melanin Poppin’

Imagine. Just for a second.

You were born into a family where no one looked like you, spoke like you or liked the same things as you.

That is my dilemma. Not exactly, though. I know something like speech and personality doesn’t compare to something as sensitive as skin tone in the black community. But it is something that I cannot change.

In my immediate family, my mother and father are light-skinned or, in more explicit terms, “pretty.” Both my sisters fit the bill, however, I was born six and a half pounds of warm chocolate milk.

My family LOVED it, seriously. My sisters would always tell me how much they loved my skin and my parents always found an excuse to pinch my cheeks. They never made me feel different. I noticed it though, as I started to mature. My sisters and I went through the dressing up/making up stage. And I quickly discovered that some colors didn’t fit well. And I couldn’t wear the same color foundation or use the same color schemes for my lips or eyes as they could.

It made me feel slightly left out but they assured me that it wasn’t a big deal and that I should just get over it. So, I did.

Until a student at our high school pointed out my difference. My sisters and I were close in age so at one point we all attended the same school. One day during a conversation with myself, my sisters, and a fellow student, she points out our relation. She asks, “y’all got the same daddy?” The young lady was aware that my sisters were related but when she discovered I was related to them, the questions arose. As if two African-Americans couldn’t produce two pretty light-skinned girls and one pretty brown-skinned baby girl.

The black community is so rich in pigmentation that melanin varies in almost every family. It’s amusing to hear black people talk about DNA tests when a mother births a baby whose skin is opposite than his father’s. And in my case, both of my parents’ skin complexion is opposite than mine. I inherited the brown skin trait from my great-great grandparents on my mom’s side who are both darker skinned. So it actually makes a lot of sense. I also have grandparents on my father’s side who are of darker skin as well.

It’s just hard for others to understand, especially those who identify with being black.

Those childhood experiences had me believe that the blackness I experienced was somehow different from my sisters who share lighter skin tone and, therefore, a ‘lighter’ form of the black experience.

I’ve grown to love my brown sugar skin and am comfortable with loving both light and brown skin women as well.

Let’s get this straight. All black is beautiful. And melanin is NOT something we should be ashamed of. Instead, let’s celebrate all shades of melaninated magic.

Ladies, bless my blog post and leave a picture of your melaninated magic below!

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