In Praise of Darker Hues

Lupita Nyong'o
Lupita Nyong’o

I’m very glad that Lupita Nyong’o was voted World’s Most Beautiful Woman! So proud to see a Dark Skinned Sister Honored in this Fashion.

I read her Oscar Acceptance speech reprinted in Essence Magazine. It certainly resonated with me. Even though I’m 25 years older than her and was raised in New York City I can still hear the taunts of “Tar Baby”, monkey, Black African (Black was not Beautiful in the 1960s) from my school-mates on the playground. Watu Wasuri Use Afro Sheen came much later in late 1970s. Still light skin was in. There was a saying I heard many times growing up, “If you’re light, you’re alright. If you’re brown still around. If you’re black get back.” From straightening combs to weaves the Self-hatred becomes internalized.

Weaves looking like Davy Crockett hats perched atop uneasy heads marching LocKstep with conformity. Multi-hued raccoons skipping across Jungle Fever Brows missing nesting material in which to snuggle Eurocentric brainwashing.

Even when I went into the U.S. Army my always thick, kinky and Knappy was called a Brillo pad. I was always made to feel so ugly usually by my own Black people. I expected whites to call me the “N” Word after all this was the 1960s and my parents who knew Jim Crow by heart prepared me for rejection as a Black girl in a white dominated society. In a way I was very surprised to hear that in a Black dominated/ruled society/country such as Kenya young Lupita experienced similar taunts, jibes and insults.

Many times I would come home from school crying. I hated my skin color and my hair texture. My father tried to soothe my broken spirit and build my self confidence by telling me, “The Blacker the Berry the sweeter the juice. If the berry’s too light it has no use.” I did feel better for a while but it was not until I was well past age 40 that I began to really appreciate being dark-skinned with coarse thick hair. For one thing now that I’m well past 50 all this wonderful melanin truly means, “Black Don’t Crack”. As for my hair menopause has removed the thick & coarse texture but I’m proud to wear my hair natural since age 36.  Over the years there were times when I battled a Eurocentric mindset but as I journey through middle-age and beyond I embrace and am one with my African heritage.

Yes Ladies, “Say it Loud! I’m Black and I’m Proud!”

Summer Vortex

Brooklyn Ice Sculpture
Brooklyn Ice Sculpture

Now that the Polar Vortex has finally released its icy grip from the Big Apple’s throat,  Just keep in mind this little prose/poem when the summer temps hit the high 90s and New York City becomes the Big Apple Fried Fritters.


Brooklyn Ice Berg
Brooklyn Ice Berg

Gotham a frozen Wasteland bordered by filthy fallen ice bergs lining alternate side of the street parking.  Flesh flayed by snow ice razors slashing any exposed skin, pummeling Eskimo hide thick coats, sweaters, thermals, socks, boots, hats, gloves.   Dagger driven Stalactites and stalagmites primed to guillotine busy commuters racing whipping winds hindering purposeful movement.

Sidewalk streets concealing threatening black ice ready to break bones.  Genteel timid Silly Walks a narrow twisted slow motion dance around and over snow removal made dirt mountains.  Empty blizzard sleet filled neighborhoods with only a few Yetis braving truly Abominable Old Man Winter.



Spider web moon lit night
Spider web moon lit night

Art is both a window into the past and a portal to the future.  But tourist cellphone camera incessant  obsessed picture taking visitors to the House of Order and Learning neither see the beauty before them or view slices of history, science, fashion, politics, sociology, economics or religious passion plays of life being acted out in single snatches of time.

The suffer from blindness of the soul and spirit that no oculist can cure.

They Refuse to Drink from the Well of Wisdom or eat fruit from the Tree of Knowledge for fear that their eyes may be opened and the Wall of Delusions collapse into Dust.

Seeking to capture personal notoriety, authority and fame vicariously through corruption camera filter brutish minds unchanged and unchallenged by purity of mind and purpose.

Forever caught in the spider web of Tourist Trap Disneyland manufactured Coney Island Barkerville of Samsara sitting at the feast yet unwilling to eat or absorb life giving mind expanding sustenance settling instead for bitter crumbs ejected from dated tour books.

Spider-woman DeBorah
Spider-woman DeBorah