Trying to understand Naomi’s bitterness toward chocolate

I’m always flattered when someone compliments me on my “chocolate” skin. Therefore, I don’t understand supermodel Naomi Campbell being upset at the Cadbury ad that refers to her complexion.

I would understand if the supermodel wanted to sue because the company didn’t pay her to use her first name, though I haven’t consulted an attorney to determine whether she would have a legit claim. But I don’t know when being called “chocolate” became a negative. Who doesn’t love chocolate?

For years my skin tone has been referred to as “chocolate” by Blacks and whites, even as recently as Memorial Day, and I can’t remember ever taking offense. I grew up in the “Say it loud! I’m black and I’m proud!” era.  I remember back in the 90s, one summer I wanted to see just how dark I could become. I spent seven days in Hawaii and never left the pool during daylight hours. When I returned home and looked at myself naked in the mirror, I looked like a zebra. My skin that had been exposed was about 20 times darker than the skin that my bikini covered. I loved it! (Yeah, I know I should do nude bathing not to have so-called “tan” lines.)

I know that being  this dark isn’t cool for some, including some Blacks who have told me I shouldn’t spend so much time in the sun. And trust me, they were not concerned about me getting skin cancer. Plenty of countries, especially those in Asia, still associate being dark with being a field hand. That’s why yachts purchased by wealthy Chinese might as well come with a cover-up deck rather than a sun deck.

High-profile people such as Isaac Hayes, Richard Roundtree, Cicely Tyson, Sidney Poitier, Iman and even Michael Jordan helped those who couldn’t have passed the paper bag test back when that insulting way to discriminate amongst our own was in effect appreciate their coffee-bean complexion. Later, women like Alek Wek and Foxy Brown, and even more recently First Lady Michelle Obama and Viola Davis, have helped people see beauty in our darkness. I’m thankful my parents didn’t hold back their love for me and my brother just because we came out so dark. I have Black friends who unfortunately have experienced rejection from their family because of their dark skin tone.

That’s about as ridiculous to me as Naomi’s complaint.

Or am I missing something regarding Miss Naomi? Is she overreacting?


1 Comment

Filed under Beauty, Fashion, race

One response to “Trying to understand Naomi’s bitterness toward chocolate

  1. BigSerenaVeeFan

    ah huh ah huh… This behavior is indeed programmed. I feel sorry for someone adding the burden of their color to all the other troubles we have to bear in the world. I remember an uncle explaining to me at around 10 years old – the reason we had so many variations in the color of black skin tones, and it was tough to hear at that age …but looking back I call it my ah ha moment – the moment that the allowed me to be proud and confident in my own skin..
    Thanks Kelly for addressing this tabu topic.

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