Dear Melanin

POP!

Shh.

Don’t be so loud!

 

…What?

 

 

What do you mean you can’t help it?

Don’t you know you’re offensive?

That you’re ugly?
That you’re dirty?

…What?

 

I’m sorry…


You know that I love you. I know that you’re a part of me.

 

You know I love the way that you paint my skin a perfect m a h o g a n y.

…But they don’t like you.

 

…What?

 

I know all you are is a pigment produced in the basal layer of my epidermis. But they use you to define my cognitive ability, my temperament , my financial status and my worth.

It’s not your fault, but I need you to not be so visible.

 

They’ve used you as a reason to abuse me. To enslave me, to trade and materialise me. To lynch and dehumanise me. 

But that wasn’t the worst of it. No.

Because the scars fade, and the wounds hea

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will forever haunt me.

 

Even though they excluded me from using their bathrooms and fountains, their cinemas and schools. 
And they prohibit me from their parades of beauty and femininity,

 

What they really wanted was to steal my will.

After my will, my identity,

After my identity,

My solidarity.

After my solidarity…

After my solidarity, …

After my solidarity, I have nothing left.

 

When they snatched my brother from my mother’s womb and handed him the whip, their job was done.

Now it’s my brother who beats, lynches and sells me short every single day.

My brother that assures me that my skin is offensive, ugly and dirty.

 

So shh.

Don’t be so loud, don’t let them see you.

So they can see that I’m intelligent , that I’m creative, that I’m generous and kind, that I’m sensitive and caring, that I’m funny and happy. That I’m beautiful and elegant.

Shh!

Hide.

Don’t let them see you.

So they can see that I’m human.

 

 

This piece was born from many personal experiences and a recent YouTube video I watched.

Throughout High School, I was often told by my peers of all skin shades that mine was too dark.

One example that now only warrants a faint giggle from me but once stabbed at my self esteem, happened when I was 13 years old.

There was a boy in my  year that I had a ‘crush’ on. He was black ( in fact, he was darker than me, remember this, it’s important). He had found out that I liked him ( another story), and unfortunately for me, it was a case of unrequited ‘love’. 

I had assumed the reason was just the plain ol’ fact that he didn’t fancy me.

I was surprisingly okay with the fact ( if you don’t count the fact that I ran away/avoided him for the rest of high school )  

One fateful day, as I roamed around the corridors with my friends, a friend of his approached me and offered tell me what my ex-crush had said in response to finding out my badly concealed secret.

Of course I denied all interest in this subject matter but she proceeded to telling me anyway. 

She told me that in fact, it wasn’t the solely the fact that I was not attractive, it was specifically that I was too dark.

A male that was darker than me said that I was too dark for consideration.

Oh the irony. Oh the sadness.

This is just one of the many encounters that I have had regarding skin colour/shade.

Here is the Youtube video that also inspired this piece: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kac2sdg89fY

 

 

 

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3 Comments

  1. Bolanle, wao! Just wao. When words have to power to touch a persons heart the way this touched mine ; you just know its coming from the heart. You are more gifted at this than I think you know, i cannot wait to see where God takes you sha.
    Peace and love, umma stay tuned.

    Liked by 1 person

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