Dear Darkskins

Kemi Ibrahim

This a poem titled “Dear Darkskins” by a Charles Herbert Flowers student:
Dear dark skins
Firstly you are beautiful
From the coco brown women
to the darkest hues of man
Yes you too
Do not let these lighter
And whiter tones
Belittle you
Do not let them fool you
They are the same ones that
Set us up against each other
Calling each other out
For being blacker then
One another
Open your eyes
We have to work together
I’ll say it again
Open your eyes
we have to work together
Open your eyes
we have to work together
Do you get it now
Are you woke
Wake up
Escape from
That crushing attitude
The voice at the back of
Your head
That told you
You are not pretty
You are not handsome
You are not anything
Or anyone
That will make someone
Want you
That voice was put in your head
When you were younger
It started when your friends
Told you they
“couldn’t see you”
When you wear wore
Dark colors
When you were younger
And everyone told you
Not to stay in the sun too long
Or you’ll worsen your situation
These ignorant people told you
Not to marry within your own
Melanin range
When you were younger
And hated your tone
To point where you wanted change
you considered bleaching
Stop letting these past
Experiences with fools
Who do not know the struggles
That come with being dark skin
Effect how you see your own beauty
Do not you ever forget how
These snakes
That keep saying your pretty
Wait no sorry I meant
Pretty for a dark skin girl
Yes I said it
No we won’t get over it
We won’t stop calling out every last
One of you who refuses to
entirely call us beautiful
But instead
Insists on telling us
We look better then
The last dark skin
The average dark skin
We will continue to scream
And shout to
anyone who is listening
To anyone who can see
With their own two eyes
And to anyone who has
Sense enough tell
Others that dark skins
Deserve to be loved too
We will not condone
the stereotypes
The stereotypes that
dark skin women are
Aggressive and bitter
That dark skin men are
Angry and tough
Can we stop saying that
Dark skins are mad that
Lighter tones look better
No one is mad
No one is upset
We have our own beauty
To claim
We are all beautiful in the end
Stop trying the make lighter tones
Of black look better
We all bleed red on the inside
I know we all bleed red on the inside
Because when our daughters who
Made slits on the inside of their
Wrists when our love was not
Was all saw the color
When our sons who wanted to
Buy juice and night
Get shot mysteriously
We saw the color
Red it was and red it shall stay
But we have yet to find a way
A way that won’t make us look
Stupid to the other tones
A plan that will up lift
Our brothers and sisters
Instead of dragging down
Their souls
Their souls tainted with
The filthy comments
That lighter blacks thought
Was okay
But we have been screaming
That it is not
It is not okay
Y’all would crack y’all jokes
And we would laugh as though
It did no harm to our soul
But when some of us speak
Against your joke
We are all of the sudden too sensitive
If it was our joke then we are hating
And apparently we are jealous
I’m tired of y’all nonsense
Let this poem teach you a lesson
So next time y’all don’t get hit
When reality comes back around
And y’all are left to be
With the racists whites
Who will slander you
The same way you slander us
Oh wait did you forget you’re
Black too
Even the lighter hues of black
Will face prejudice and oppression
Do not let the whites fool you
In to thinking you white too
Because your shades are alike
But who can blame you
Your attitude for darker blacks
Started when the slave masters
Separated us making you think
That you’re better because you
Do house work
While we pick cotton
Back when they claimed
Light skin is the right skin
Based off of European beauty standards
They sold you for a higher price
Gave you no rights
Meanwhile they made you
Pay the price of your value
In sexual assault
And layers of animosity
Blacks have for each other
Now continue to let this
Sink in
Let us all take a deep breath
Turn to our brother
Then to our sister
Let’s tell them that
No matter what color
Of black
they were blessed with
they matter
And let them be aware
That they are beautiful
Then spread your love to them
Because black is the best love
A poem by Kemi Ibrahim