Colorism is a huge issue in the music and entertainment industries. Women especially are constantly being measured by the color of their skin. Black women are sometimes only as successful as they are fair-skinned, with acts like Beyonce and Rihanna dominating over the likes of Kelly Rowland and Teyana Taylor. Rapper Eve is gearing up for the debut of her new show Queen and has been very vocal about this issue in the past.
Just this year, the discussion pretty much derailed the success of “In The Heights,” the big-screen adaptation of the Lin-Manuel Miranda Broadway Hit musical. The movie about Manhattan neighborhood Washington Heights follows a group of afro-Latinos. However, the majority of the cast looking more European and white. When addressing this, Miranda stated that “I’m seeing the discussion around Afro Latino representation in our film this weekend, and it is clear that many in our dark-skinned Afro Latino community don’t feel sufficiently represented within it, particularly the leading roles. I can hear the hurt and frustration over, of feeling still unseen in the feedback.”
Hollywood actor Tyrese also spoke about the effects of this issue on him as a kid growing up. He talked with Essence in November of 2020 and discussed how he was made to feel due to having darker skin than those around him. “I caught every joke in the dark skin community ever. I was Black, burnt, tarp. I was all teeth and eyes. I was blurple — Black and purple and I just never felt attractive, ever,” he said. He says these critiques left him with a great deal of trauma that he took into his adulthood.
Hoping to help young women not have to deal with the controversial issue of color. Eve opened up on the topic during her time on The Talk, where she discussed how Beyonce’s success is always referenced in comparison to her skin tone. Particularly, they were responding to comments from Beyonce’s father, Mathew Knowles, who believed that if Beyonce were darker, she probably would not have had the success she has.
“The world we live in, we see color. It is what it is. Maybe it did have something to do with it, but I’m sick of him [Mathew Knowles] talking about it,” Eve says at the start of the video. “She’s has surpassed. She is beyond her skin tone. she is an artist that should be respected in her own right,” she said, talking about Beyonce. “Kelly Rowland is amazing. We are all amazing.” Sharon Osborn chimed in, saying, “Aretha Franklin. It didn’t hold her back, did it!?” Sara Gilbert offered her opinion saying, “I think there are some people that probably do get held back by their skin tone, and it’s something that’s worth acknowledging.” She then questions, “how talented do you have to be to break through our stigmas in society. We don’t live in a perfect colorblind world.”
They also discussed a lot of the endorsements and advertisements that Beyonce was able to leverage to her advantage when coming up and how many of those were offered to her because of her talent. Beyonce famously addressed the very same topic in her song “Brown Skinned Girls” from the Lion King inspired album The Gift.