Eric Benet’s Dark Skin Vs. Light Skin Song Causes Outrage

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  • Eric Benet is feeling the heat from fans and some new enemies after dropping controversial song, “Redbone Girl,” playing on the classically Southern phrase describing light skinned women.

    Outraged critics claim that he’s promoting the mainstream, racist standards of beauty.

    “I think it’s its own form of racism,” he told CBS Local of the controversy. “I did a song called “Chocolate Legs’ about my experience with a dark-skin lady. There was no anger or uproar of ‘how dare you.’ So ‘Redbone Girl’ is one song about one experience about a girl who happens to be light-complected, but there was quite an uproar.”

    Despite him attempting to justify his position, online critics are relentless, saying the light skin beauty concept is linked to privilege and superior beauty.

    “There’s a clear premium on light skin and on straight hair, whether it grows out of your head or not,” said Akiba Solomon, gender blogger for “I’m not a big fan of songs that fetishize dark skin either. But you could argue that [the ‘dark-skin’ devoted songs] offer some sort of resistance to the prevailing beauty standards. He’s attempting to be provocative. He’s pretending that he’s never heard about light skin preferences. Let’s not pretend that it doesn’t exist.”

    But Benet doesn’t accept the argument, saying there is a double standard in society when it comes to artists expressing themselves and sharing their experiences.

    “You can talk about how wonderful it is to be with a dark-complected person but how dare you talk about having an experience experience with light skin person,” he said. “By no way is ‘Redbone Girl’ me professing my preference for any type of skin color. It’s just the songwriter talking about one experience. When people look into it much deeper than that, it’s on them.”

    While Eric Benet does attempt to provide some sort of balance with a separate song and a disclaimer, Lil Wayne takes a less nuanced approach on “Redbone Girl.” He raps about the pleasures of a lighter skin girls in general terms, as if he’s taking a 2012 version of the “Doll Test.”

    “I like the long hair, thick redbone … I like ‘em lights-kinned, lighter than a feather…”

    Benet says no matter which side of the argument you are on, songs like “Redbone Girl” ultimately provide an opportunity to have the discussion about how blacks view each other.

    “I think the fact that we are talking about it, it’s an issue,” he said. “Now it makes me, on my next record, want to talk about an experinece with an Asian girl. What I was trying to do as a songwriter is talk about the beauty of all. One at a time. The fact that it’s so sensitive, we need to talk about it.”

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    38 thoughts on “Eric Benet’s Dark Skin Vs. Light Skin Song Causes Outrage

    1. I am a dark skinned older woman, who neither listens to Eric, or Wayne! I should also mention that I am so comfortable in my own skin, that when the summer comes, I sit out in the sun (with protection of course, as it evens out my skin tone very nicely), and have lighter skinned blacks question it! Not because of the danger it may cause down the line, as that’s not important to them at all! The enormous factor in it for them is, my actually “wanting to get any darker, and or, be darker, than I already am”!
      I don’t have an issue with, anyone’s music, choices, or lyrics, but this is what brought me to this page in the first place!
      I know quite a few light skinned people, who are verbally insulting to their darker hued counterparts! My sister’s mother in law for one, has always referred to my very handsome dark skinned nephew, as “Sammy”, and is always concerned how “light, or dark” others are, or how light the new baby born in the family might hopefully stay! Especially in her family, and obviously treats my nephew much differently than my lighter skinned niece, and he’s very aware of this!
      My husband has a few friends who act the same way, and also refer to him as “Sammy”! I have a big issue with this! Especially since these are the very people who talk the most about ” being black” (so to speak) and black pride”, while they claim, their disdain, for white people, and how they don’t feel comfortable around them! But get around their own, and are doing constant comparisons, to make sure that they are lighter, and poke fun at those, for being darker! Even by a mere shade!
      My husband’s friend at one time stuck her arm out next this white person who was at a dinner party, and showed this person, just how “close to white” she actually was! I guess it made her feel that she would be more accepted, by this person, or something! My jaw literally dropped! I thought that crap played out back in the late 60′s and early 70′s when we were kids, but it’s alive, and very well today! Unfortunately, I see these folks as being very confused, and self loathing, but need their darker brothers/sisters, to make them feel superior to at least some group! Unfortunately, this crap is generational, and definitely needs to be talked about in my opinion!

    2. Everyone has their personal preferences, people practiced this for years. This is not worth all the time & attention its getting. WE as a people have more important issues to address. Register, vote & follow the issues!!!

    3. WOW!!! His opinion is HIS opinion. I am secure in my BROWN skin. STOP responding, getting all worked up over senseless issues about people opinions referencing the color of your skin. Be YOU, whether your skin tone is dark, light, brown, etc….Time is to precious to be wasting over a DEAD Issue such as this. To each it’s own….and this is just MY opinion.

    4. This is just lame to attack this dude….Can some women just get over the fact that some men like red bones!…I mean for me my moms is light which psychologically speaking would mean am genetically pre conditioned to light chicks,…smh,,,

    5. The fact that this is even news proves that the psychological “mind job” done so long ago is still wreaking havoc on our community. When will we get past the “shade of color” issue? The idea that there is one standard of “beauty” (i.e color (or shade of color), facial features, bodily features, etc.) for everyone to strive to fit is insane, and quite frankly boring. We should be celebrating ourselves in all shades.

    6. First of all Eric Benet’s album is outstanding. Second, Eric and Lil Wayne announce right up front that they like all women but this one particular girl is what the song is about. I think it is great that the dark-skinned sisters like the record and that is the mature way to look at it. The “redbone girl” song has a great beat and he even says”chocalate queen” in one of the verses in the song. Eric Benet has done some outstanding music the last 7 to 8 years and I don’t think this song should detract from that. Also, why isn’t Lil Wayne taking heat? My suggestion is buy the cd because the man has jazz,country, and r &b type songs on it.

    7. Exactly! It is not like Eric is the only one who has done a song about light skinned women. If you listen to a lot of the rappers, you will hear them talk about the type of women that turn them on. One characteristic is that they are all light skinned. I’m not even going into the subject of big behinds, because that is another controversy in the making.

    8. I am a dark skinned woman and comfortable in it. If you know your worth as a woman regardless of your skin color, what people sing about in songs won’t matter. Celebrate the rainbow of colors in our people. We are all beautiful!

    9. I like the song he’s just talking about an experience w/a girl that happens to be light skinned. He doesn’t say that’s what he prefers if you listen to the words. Chocolate legs is about obviously a darker woman with pretty legs that he had wrapped around him. It’s a damn song! Get over it light skinned dark skinned YA STILL BLACK! And I loves me some EB and yep I’m light but I liked chocolate legs too I didn’t give a crap if he was talking about a dark skinned girl it’s what he said in the song that was hot!

    10. I see no reason to take offence to this song. Everybody’s experiences and preferences don’t have to be the same. If Eric wants to sing about a two-headed girl or a one-armed girl, I can afford him not only the right, but the understanding to do so. Songs have been sung about red-heads, brunettes, blondes– I see no difference. I’m a dark sista, and I feel good about me. I don’t depend on artists to define my worth. People are being way too sensitive, and maybe that is an indication of low self-esteem. We all know that beautiful women come in all sizes and shades. If that brother wants to highlight a particular type of woman, let him. What’s all the stank-tude about?

    11. Folks are taking things way too literally these days. Stop pushing your version of someone elses thinking. His mind, his art.

    12. Folks are taking things way too literally these days. Stop pushing your version of someone elses thinking. His mind, his art.

    13. People stop hating on each other and love who God made you to be. I’m a 55 year young male and from experiences of seeing how what can an attraction do between a male and female it’s what attracts one the most. Yet that does not mean you’re going to have who you would preferr the most. For some it don’t make a difference because in the dating life it’s who can please you good while you’re dating. Quote “To Be Or Not To Be”

    14. this is crazy we are all god,s children no matter what color if you went into a dark room to be intimate with someone but you could not see them you could not tell what color or race they were i am so sick of the race card which has been going on since time began like the late rodney king once said “can,t we just all get along”

    15. It just furthers the belief that blacks are still hung up on skin color. Whites are treated with far more respect by blacks…and oh my God help you if you are a light skinned black person. What you mad about?

    16. So it was ok when he was singing about chocolate legs but redbone is a problem? We’re always looking for something silly to rail about.

    17. So it was ok when he was singing about chocolate legs but redbone is a problem? We’re always looking for something silly to rail about.

    18. We all are God’s children, but sometimes it’s hard to believe. Who cares what Eric Benet writes about. I mean, I am sure he wouldn’t blink an eye if someone wrote about short, skinny men who wouldn’t be in the hulk category if it wasn’t for his voice and it’s not all that great. Publicity hound, that’s what it is. As for whether he touched my self esteem, not one bit. Sisters, you know these “I am like massa now and I gots me a white girl” black men can’t be trusted to weigh to heavily on anything, let along your self esteem. Just leave Eric where he is and don’t buy his records. I have started to do that. I don’t pay for sh*t I don’t like.

    19. Eric Benet is trying to build up a FAKE controversy around this song. NO ONE heard this song, it wasn’t posted online ANYWHERE then all of a sudden he says its backlash!! Nice try Eric but the truth is NO ONE CARES.

    20. Eric Benet is trying to build up a FAKE controversy around this song. NO ONE heard this song, it wasn’t posted online ANYWHERE then all of a sudden he says its backlash!! Nice try Eric but the truth is NO ONE CARES.

    21. Eric Benet is trying to build up a FAKE controversy around this song. NO ONE heard this song, it wasn’t posted online ANYWHERE then all of a sudden he says its backlash!! Nice try Eric but the truth is NO ONE CARES.

    22. No body gave a damn when he did “Chocolate Legs’ so what’s the big deal. I’m a readbone girl and I liked Chocolate Legs so much better than red bone girl. It’s just a song get over it people. Why is it always an issue with skin tone with black people. Stop showing out in front of company!!!!

    23. What difference does it make what hue of woman you like? Some men prefer the darker skinned women, and others prefer the lighter skinned women. Do you think this same type of outrage would happen if Eric would have done a song about being with a non-black–white, Hispanic, Asian–woman? If the answer to the question is yes, then you are very insecure about your own self worth. It is not the outside that makes a person beautiful, but the INSIDE of a person that brings out the beauty of a person.

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