Loving the Skin I'm in..

9:33 AM Keenya Kelly 11 Comments

Bet you can't guess which one I am...:)
Hello Everyone! Today I will come clean to the world about an issue I faced for a VERY long time. I'm the youngest of 4, the "dark one" as they called me. And today I am closets to the sister to the left of me; Tiffany (the one holding onto me). You would think that as sisters you would NEVER compete. You would celebrate the successes, encourage each other, motivate one another and love unconditionally; that was not the case with me. I don't know when it all began or how, but I will try my best to share my experience.

I don't remember where it all began, but I do remember certain instances. Tiffany is very pretty, light skin, she sings like a bird. In high school she was very popular, lots of popular guys talked about her beauty and how much they desired for her to be their girlfriend. My mother always sorta had Tiffany on a pedastal...in my opinion, it seemed like she could never do anything wrong. Tiffany was the "Golden Child."

I love my mother and I love my sister....this is an issue I USE to have!!! (Just incase you start looking at me differently...this was my journey to self-discovery)

My sister sang sooo well. She would always sing around the house, in our room, EVERYWHERE. My mother would always put her in front on display...I HATED HER FOR IT! I thought that since she was light skin, long hair like all of the rest of the women on television that that was the reason my mother put her out in front. (Atleast thats how I saw it in my mind). I hated myself. I overcompensated for who I thought I wasn't by being funny, making people like me...but deep down I was hurting. I remember being friends with Tascha, Brandy and Kenneisha, and I was secretly jealous that they were light skin with long hair. I never told them that...not even to this day...but it really was a problem of mine. It didn't effect my friendship with them or my relationship with my sister so to speak...but it really had a toll on me. I couldn't listen to women singers on the radio. I HATED Mariah Carey and all the women singers of the 80's and 90's because my sister was a singer..and I wasn't. They were all pretty much light skin with long hair as well. I don't think I began to listen to women singers until I was in my 1st or 2nd year of college. *yea college*

It took me a very long time to embrace myself. It wasn't until I got to college and all the men from different areas of the country began talking about how they loved my beautiful chocolate skin. I remember one girl....wishing her skin was like mine. At the time I thought she was a weirdo, but today it makes me know that she was darker than me and wished she was JUST a little bit lighter. Makes me sad to even think about it...but she too was struggling in her own skin. I don't recall anyone making fun of me because I was brown skin, as much as I hated myself for it.

Today I love women singers, light skin, brown skin, short hair, long hair...whatever and I Adore my sister. She can sing as much as she wants and I encourage her to sing. And I love myself. I never find myself comparing my skin with other sistahs....now the hair thing is different...I just started my natural journey a year ago..so I'm a work in progress. But today I love the skin I am in....I am chocolate and proud of it. My friends range in height, size, skin tones, hair types, relaxed and natural....because they are not their hair, skin....etc. They are my friends and I love them.

I am writing this blog because so many of you are dealing with this issue, and although its not out there in the forefront of your mind...its hurting you! And today is the day that we expose this issue...and take steps to your freedom.

If you would like to share comments, concerns or be a featured blog please leave a comment or email me at keenyakelly@gmail.com.

....til next time...Keep that lip gloss poppin.


  1. WOW, that's funny how you too had a little bit of disdain for light skin women with long hair-been there boo! I love your transparency cuz, and I appreciate you sharing this part of yourself-this is a struggle that so many people aren't willing to open up about. I have my own struggle with this skin color thing, not so much b/c of what I perceived as favortism with the family, but with guys-instead of me understanding that EVERYONE is entitled to a preference, in this case preferring one skin tone to another, one hair length to another, I took guys not being interested in me b/c I wasn't their preference that to mean that I wasn't good enough b/c I wasn't light with long hair, I fell to the trick from the pit! Took me a minute to get real with myself, and like you getting comfy in my own skin, to not pay it any attention. Great post!

  2. Girl! Today is the first day...I have a feeling more will come out...just hasn't hit my memory as of yet!!! I know this is a problem for women....they just haven't realized it or dont want to admit it.

  3. You're probably wondering y in the world I wud be touched by this cuz I'm sooooo light. But in out culture its the opposite. I've always had an issue with my skin tone and my hair. Wanting to be more like my cousins with the tan skin, or their beautiful "cinnamon skin" (how we say in pr) This summer I had three jobs and couldn't get a tan... oh girl. N hair! My cuzn have all this think shiny hair, whether curly or strait, honey blonde or jet black and I had this frizzy craziness.... I could go on forever... I'm definitely still a work in progress in this area.

  4. Keenya, first off thanks for being transparent in regard to this post! I have known you for almost 15 years and have seen the things that you have struggled with and to say this out loud and to the world is BIG! Kudos for doing so!

    I just wanted to comment in regard to all of us having complexes in regard to our skin or other parts of who we are. Sometimes we don't even realize that we have complexes within ourself or the minor comparisions we make (for example, in the past I always felt like the thick one in the family, even though I am not that big but compared to their size I felt it..lol)to other people. I am not even considered to be real light but I feel I am light enough to notice the "different" attention that one can gain from various atmospheres (or the comments from men calling me "red-bone"). I remember one day saying to my mother that I didn't want to be categorized for my appearance or skin color but for the fact that I have a lot to bring to the table. I have worked hard to acquire my degrees and to learn enough information to one day take over the world...in Jesus's name of course. :)

    So basically I am saying lets look deep down and see what insecurities we have and through God we can change them. I know you may be saying "well I don't think I have any" but believe me after self evaluation I reflected back on high school (those that know me know what I am talking about..lol) and found that as an adult I needed to continue to work on me so that I can help the next young adult see their worth. Keep pressing folks....its time to make changes so we can help someone else!!!!!

    Joi Sherrod

  5. Thanks Joi for that!! I appreciate your honesty sis! This really is a big deal for us..people just don't talk about it!!! I soo appreciate your honesty Joi!!!

  6. Nice blog! I love reading things like this. As an only child, and a person who I guess would be considered medium brown, I never even really paid much attention to the whole light skin/dark skin issues within the African American community until I did a paper on this subject for one of my African American women studies classes. It was never really in my face, so I guess I never paid attention. Then after doing my research paper, I realized how naive I was, and I started noticing all the subtle and not so subtle messages out there, especially in the media. All you have to do is look at music videos where the desired girls are always "ethnically ambigious" looking women, or listen to rappers as they talk about how they desire "red-bones" to understand how brown and dark skinned women at times feel the way they do. That's why it is good to talk these issues. I'm sure there are many lighter skinned women out there that could tell some tales too! It's interesting to get points of views from all hues. And oh don't get me started on "good hair" issues in the black community! Whew!

  7. Well Brittany thank you sooo much for sharing! Tomorrow there will be another blog discussing hair...please share. But if you would like....I would love to feature you. You open to that?

  8. While I believe my readers like hearing from me...I think its more important that they hear from you all...I am one voice...we need more. Thanks in advance

  9. This post really hit home. Not because my sister was lighter than me but because as a child I struggles with my complexion. The world can be a mean place for black little girls and even meaner when we get older. I am Puerto Rican & Dominican. Yes I know I'm always told to prove myself. Say something in Spanish! Like really? I don't fit the perception of what a "Latina" looks like. No we ALL don't look like J.Lo!!!! I wasn't light enough to hang with my brethren, my people and I was a Latina so I must have thought I was to good to hang out with African Americans!!! Yes I know it sounds really stupid. I would defend myself(and I still do even now)by saying when you see me what do you see? A regular black girl!!!! The only difference is my first language is Spanish my second is English and I eat different foods. It was difficult trying to figure out who I was when I was shunned because of my dark skin and because of my last name and the fact that I spoke Spanish. When I moved back to NYC where I was born I saw so many of brethren in a rainbow of colors. They looked like me!!!! Every now and then I come into contact with an ignorant person who is shocked that I'm a Latina( with the same color skin) and you know what my response is OMG you're Latino/a? Just to show them how ignorant THEY sound!!!!! Now that I have THREE BEAUTIFUL BROWN ANGELS I never let a day go by without telling them they're beautiful!!!!!!!!!

  10. Hallelujah Katrina..would you be interested in being featured as a blogger this week or next week. What you shared as a comment is extrememly powerful and I believe more people need to here it as well as what you are sharing with your daughters.