Red Bone and Blue Ivy

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  • Sad to say, but the troubling issue of self-hatred in the African-American community is rearing its ugly head yet again.

    The internet has been aflame with chatter about the facial features of Blue Ivy, Jay-Z and Beyonce’s baby girl and the release of Eric Benet’s provocative new song, “Redbone Girl.”
         
    After a recent picture of baby Blue Ivy circulated on the web, numerous Facebook and Twitter posts, some from black folks, attacked her for having "big lips” and the potential for her developing a “wide nose” like her father…hmm.
     
    Then there’s Eric Benet’s recent release of “Redbone Girl” featuring Lil Wayne in which a light-skinned female is celebrated in the song.
         
    Though Benet doesn’t say the woman is superior because of her skin tone, many feel that the fact that he personally secured Lil Wayne for the tune, the target of a recent boycott for derogatory statements on dark-skinned sisters, is a thinly-veiled attempt to move record sales by creating a color controversy.
         
    Two things need to be said. First, attacking a baby for her beautiful God-given features is insane. I’ve rarely, if ever, heard of any other group of people consistently attacking their own racial or ethnic characteristics, especially those of their children.
         
    Secondly, how we address the issue is significant. As several journalists recently pointed out, it’s insincere for Mr. Benet to suggest it’s a positive thing that we are having this discussion on color after provoking a controversy that he is simultaneously benefiting from…
         
    Many of you’ve heard me say that we need to deal with and heal from the unfortunate skin tone issues in our community. However, we need to do so sincerely and honestly, rather than through some gimmick to sell records.
         
    We need to question how we see ourselves, and what our current standards of beauty are.
         
    We need to celebrate who we are and teach our children to do the same so that they don’t grow up hatin’ on a beautiful baby with features like themselves.
         
    It’s time we free ourselves from this tired mentality that has us looking in the mirror and hating who we see.
         
    Fortunately, there are groups out there, like the Community Healing Network, committed to building a movement for psychological freedom for black people. You can see what they’re doing at communityhealingnet.com.
             
    Let us know what you think about this issue.
           
    I’ll close with a quote from writer Akiba Solomon who, in a recent Colorlines piece on Blue Ivy, offered this:

    “I hope, in our media-saturated, appearance-obsessed society that is still so wounded by white supremacist aesthetics, baby Blue will find peace and joy in the simple act of living, no matter what she looks like.”

         
    Until next time, this is Stephanie in love and hope.
     

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