Black Man’s Kryptonite: The Booty

Black Man’s Kryptonite: The Booty

Superman had one vulnerability. At other times he felt invincible. Once Clark Kent changed clothes, there was no stopping him. However, once he found himself in the vicinity of a rare rock, kryptonite, his flaws began to show. He could be hurt. He could feel pain. He could be caught slipping. Black men have a similar vulnerability. It doesn’t hail from a far away planet called Krypton. Instead, it is often found in supermarkets, work spaces, shopping malls, and yes…even churches.

This little rock isn’t what gets black men in trouble. We deal with a whole ‘nother issue.

Today I want to address the black man’s kryptonite: the booty. Many Christian men struggle with this harsh reality. Otherwise invincible, they are serving God, loving life, and living out the Gospel. Yet something happens when they find themselves in the vicinity of attractive women. Flaws begin to show and, ultimately, Christian men could be caught slipping. Maybe it’s not their fault. Maybe they are just a product of their environment. They haven’t been saved their whole life. So what’s up with us men? Why do men generally view women as a piece of meat? More than that, what is our fascination with women’s derriere?

Let me tell you something, most men have struggled or do struggle (although some don’t even “struggle” at all because they see it as second nature) with lust. For those of you who haven’t or don’t, God bless you, but this post isn’t for you. This isn’t just a struggle for men who don’t have a relationship with Jesus. I have seen saved men struggle with the same syndrome that many unsaved men struggle with daily. While many unsaved men are “afforded the opportunity” to look without their conscious convicting them, saved men have to carry around guilt for failing yet another test when an attractive woman walks by. I have been saved for over a decade and it even took me some time to get over the syndrome. What syndrome is that? I call it the “domino” syndrome, the “head turning” syndrome, or the “daaaaaaaannnnnnng, look at that butt” syndrome.


For example, one day I was at local gym playing hoops in Atlanta. It happened to be a co-ed gym. Some brothers and I were sitting on the sidelines between games and a woman passed by. Without fail, as she passed each male head turned to look at “what she was working with”. All in order. Bloop, bloop, bloop, bloop. Falling like dominos. One after another. I refused to turn my head. Not because she wasn’t attractive. It was because I made a commitment not to conform myself to this world. I made a commitment to break a cycle and a curse flowing down through generations of men. This is especially true of African-American men. I won’t say that Caucasians or even other minorities are without the same problem, but for some reason African-American men have booty issues. We just like butts.

A Checkered Past

I remember in the 90s there was this song and video called “Nothing But a G Thang”. One thing I noticed in the video that alarms me now (besides all the half naked women)?  There is one scene where a toddler is standing with a group of men. A young lady walks by and everyone in the group turns to look at her behind; including the toddler! I thought that was hilarious when I saw it in the 90′s. When I reflect on it today, it echoes a harsh reality in our society. For many, this domino syndrome is a learned behavior that we pick up when we are very young. How many men remember women walking up to them telling them, “You are going to be a heartbreaker when you grow up”? And they grow up to be that heartbreaker. It was spoken over their lives How long does that word reoccur in their spirit while they grow and mature? For years it is cultivated. By the time they are of age, they are ready to fulfill their role as a heartbreaker. I’ll be dog gone if I speak that over my son. I declare right now that my boy will not be a heart breaker, but a heart mender.

How many men remember their male relatives treating women disrespectfully (sometimes abusing them) and grow up to imitate the same behavior? Children are sponges. They soak up everything they see and hear. Shoot, I knew some kids that could rival Eddie Murphy’s Raw with what came out of their mouths. Remember, the words that you speak near and around children have a very powerful impact on them. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…”(Proverbs 18:21). To single mothers, don’t tell little boys that they are going to grow up to be just like their daddy (that is, unless their father is a dynamic and wonderful man of God). You are speaking words of death over them when you do this.

So many of us men have learned the behavior of the infamous domino syndrome or head turn. That’s one of the complaints that I hear from many sisters nowadays. They hate to walk by a group of men. They feel like every male in that group is going to do what has been characterized as “what men do”; look at her butt when she passes by. And these are women who don’t wear provocative clothing, so the provocative clothing argument does not carry weight.

The Look—Not So Innocent

What if men knew the truth behind what they perceive as an innocent look? Jesus said something really profound that transformed my thinking about the innocent butt check. He said, “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Wow. Are you serious Jesus? You can’t be serious. You mean, if I look at a woman lustfully…I have committed adultery with her in my heart? Wow.

Married men, the “look, but don’t touch” principle is not in the Bible. I could not find that anywhere; Old or New Testament. I’ve seen so many men, with rings on their finger, happily married brothers, constantly looking at women as they pass. I’ve seen this happen at church. Jesus said that you commit adultery just by looking at the woman lustfully. How would married women feel if they knew that their husbands committed adultery…every day. Single men, being single does not exempt you sir. In fact, you disrespect God, yourself, your future wife, the woman’s future husband, and your biological sister (if you have one) by sneaking a peek at a woman’s behind. According to Christ, even without a ring, you are an adulterer.

Some men say, well I thought sexual sin was reserved to fornication. You know …the actual act. First of all, that’s a gross misunderstanding of what the word fornication means?  The Bible says, “Flee sexual immorality (translated: fornication). Every sin that a man does is outside the body; but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18). The Amplified version of this verse defines fornication as “impurity in thought, word, or deed”. Hold up, does that mean that all my impure thoughts and words are included with the deeds when you speak of fornication? YES! You fornicate with women in your mind even before the act. It’s a process my brothers. Check out this verse, “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:14-15).

Do you see the process? We are drawn away by our own lust. We blame things on the devil, but it is our own lust that draws us away. It’s a birthing process. The next thing you know that lust conceives and brings forth sin. Men start the process with their eyes. We are driven by what we see. We see a hot new car…gotta go get it. Why do you think companies spend millions of dollars on Super Bowl ads? They know exactly what they need to do to entice us. Our eyes are a window to our soul.

Serious Business

The booty epidemic is serious. It gives rise to so many other cultural issues and problems. It’s an issue that must be dealt with, but requires both humility and self-control. Humility knowing that God’s grace is the one thing that wakes up our conscious to matters to that other men may feel is trivial. Self-control is a bit of a misnomer. Honestly, we know that left to ourselves we’d do it in a heartbeat. Without thinking. But God has given us His Spirit to dwell in us who helps us exercise this control. We are to be held to a higher standard. We should continually challenge one another to live up to that standard.

So the next time you find yourself around some Kryptonite, you might need to become Clark Kent again. We all try to be spiritual Super Men, but God doesn’t require that from us. He just wants regular men who submit to His Spirit. Stop trying to fight this with your own strength. Because it is when we are weak that we are made strong.

The New Klan: The Real Threat For Young Black Men

The New Klan: The Real Threat For Young Black Men

The past several weeks my social media timelines and threads have been full of commentary about the Michael Dunn trial. At this point, trials like these are becoming an annual event—as expected as the Olympic games, only more frequent. But there are no medals to be won here. Just graves to be dug. Questions left unanswered. Parent left to grieve. Much of the commentary surrounds the controversial Florida “Stand Your Ground” law. Like an experiment of a “mad scientist” legislature, its passage, in some people’s opinion, has meant open season on young, black men. It’s the culprit that claims victim after victim. In some ways, the law itself has taken on the profile of a serial killer—similar modus operandus and similar victims.

CHICAGO, IL – JANUARY 02: Gang graffiti is painted on a stop sign on the 5800 block of South Sacramento Avenue near the spot where 19-year-old Devonta Grisson was killed in a drive-by shooting on New Year’s Day, on January 2, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Grisson was one of fifteen people shot in Chicago on the first day of the year, three fatally. While Chicago saw more than 500 murders last year, Aurora, Illinois’ second largest city, had no murders in 2012. (Photo Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Why I Mourn

Though I am a lawyer, I’m not here to denounce the Florida law. That’s not my primary concern when it comes to young, black men. Don’t get me wrong, I mourn with the nation. I mourn with the parents of those young men whose lives were cut short in Florida. It’s a travesty.

But I also mourn with a nation that finds an average of about 6,500 blacks killed annually—most by other blacks. In our two most recent wars, spanning over a decade, there were about 8,000 soldiers killed—a truth that’s hard to swallow. Almost as many black lives taken in one year as the total death toll in two wars.

There were 421 homicides in Chicago alone last year. The locals call it Chi-raq—embracing the comparison to the conflict in Iraq. They speak of war zones and battles like they are playing a war-time RPG on an XBox or Playstation. But there’s no reset button in this game. No extra lives. The end result? Cemeteries filled with young, black men. Gone too soon.

The New Klan

I want to argue that we’ve found the new Klan. Not in its ideology, but in its impact and fear. Over an eighty-six year period, there were close to 3,400 lynchings in the South—many at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan. In 2011, more than 7,000 blacks were killed in this country. Again, eighty-six years vs. one year. The one year total of black homicides is double the eighty-six year total of lynchings.

Blacks make up about 6.5% of the population, but almost half of the homicides. Black-on-black crime accounts for most of those homicides. It looks like we’ve exchanged fear of hoods for fear of the hood. We’ve gone from looking for black men to protect us from whites to looking for the government to protect us from black men. There’s a new nocturnal threat out there and its calling card isn’t a burning cross. Ironic, is it not?

We get squeamish when we see those iconic photos—photos of our ancestors. Strange fruit hanging from southern trees. But the nightly news hardly moves us when a 15 year old is brutally shot and killed in an inner city neighborhood. We’re unfazed when we see a dotted map of homicides in our city that are as numerous as the straight pins in grandma’s sewing needle pin cushion. We’re more concerned about our hashtags than we are our kids bodies being tagged by coroners. Are their lives not just as valuable? Why aren’t we as concerned about what’s going on every day in our own back yard?

Please Do Something

Last week, I did something I’ve been putting off for a long time. I submitted an application to become a mentor for a young person here in Chicago. I found an organization I really believed in and decided to get off my lazy behind and actually do something. Sure, it might just be one kid. But it could make all the difference in the world for that one kid. It could preserve that kid from being squeezed by the noose that life in the inner city tells them is inevitable.

I’m not saying this as some savior figure who wants to go in and save the day. Just a man whose Savior did just that for him. And because Jesus saved me, I’m expected to serve others in humility and love. This is one way I’ve found to do it. If you are capable—especially if you are an older, black male—I implore you to do the same.

Pulpits, Pimps, and Progress: A Lament

Pulpits, Pimps, and Progress: A Lament


The pulpit. A sacred space. The preacher’s domain.

I am a young, Black, Christian male seminary graduate—a dangerous thing to say these days. The evolution of the African American pastor has caused many black churches sit in two different camps—prosperity or social justice. There’s no in-between. The comments I get from others about my seminary education help buttress the point. So, when are you going to start your church or become a megachurch pastor? What do you think about rising unemployment rates or our education system? Two camps. Same ethnicity. Both pointing the fingers. The prosperity camp criticizing social justice adherents for being stuck in the past. The social justice camp denouncing the prosperity camp, making claims they are preaching “another gospel.” And here I am. Stuck in the middle. Between pulpits, pimps, and progress.

Sacred Space

The pulpit has always been sacred space for the African American community. I recount days as a young boy being admonished for using the pulpit as a shortcut were I running late for my Sunday School class. Son, don’t ever do that again. Walk around. That’s holy ground. The pulpit was reserved for the pastor. A sacred space for someone who recognized the sacred duty. Like Moses’ encounter at the burning bush, a preacher was to recognize they were standing on holy ground. As God’s mouthpiece, the preacher would deliver a message that was to deliver the people of God from bondage and sin. Recognizing this, the preacher’s accompanying humility-laden approach to sermonizing would cause others to grow deeper in their faith. As John Wesley puts it, the preacher’s duty was to “catch on fire” so “others will love to come and watch you burn.” Have we doused the fire in the Black church? Have we grabbed our extinguishers labeled “prosperity,” “tradition,” and “justice,” and forgotten about the Gospel? Do we just run across the pulpit as a shortcut to our next destination? Have preachers forgotten about that sacred space? I don’t believe we have. If we know anything about fires, it’s that they can start back up again, even if they appear to be out. It only takes a spark. There are so many faithful men and women of God today who are faithful to this sacred space and duty. I am confident that God continues to preserve a remnant who somberly and reverently approach the task. But culture doesn’t see or recognize that remnant. Instead, we’re constantly inundated with a few different caricatures of ministry in the Black church.

Mink Coats and Cadillacs

By now, we’ve all seen the promo videos (and, for some, at least the first episode). We’ve covered it here on Urban Faith. Preachers of L.A., Oxygen’s new reality show, has been a hot topic over the past several weeks. And rightfully so. Rarely does the general public get a glimpse into the everyday life of preachers. So producers for the show decided to gather a group of the most prominent preachers in Southern California and film their lives. All the branding and marketing surrounding the project make a point to detail their lavish lifestyles. The pastors involved have it all—cars, entourages, and homes that rival celebrity dwellings—which has led many Christians to have a candid discussion of the prosperity gospel. I ran across a website years ago that put a lot of time and effort into “outing” pastors who proclaimed the prosperity gospel. The site was exasperatingly set on making sure people knew the prosperity gospel wasn’t the Gospel. The author went as far as calling the pastors “Pulpit Pimps,” including photoshopped images of pastors in mink coats and riding in Cadillacs. I hear it all the time, too. That’s why I don’t go to church. Too many preachers are corrupt. But then I turn around and others are measuring my success in ministry by whether or not I aspire to pastor a megachurch. I’ve been getting Duboisian double consciousness from some in the Black community when it comes to prosperity and the Gospel. Here’s the reality. About 90% of churches today have 200 or fewer members. Of the top ten megachurch pastors in the United States—as far as attendance goes—only one of them is African American. Since large church pastors are on television and prominently featured in media, many think that’s what the church experience should reflect. In their eyes, Jesus would have failed miserably as a pastor (He had only 12—or 11 if you exclude Judas—faithful “members” of His ragtag band). People, I beg you, please stop creating boxes for leaders to fit nicely into. Notwithstanding the fact that it’s unbiblical, there’s no reason a small church pastor in a small town should emulate the lavish lifestyle of a larger church pastor. It’s an affront to the very Gospel we proclaim. There’s only one model for ministry we should imitate. And for Jesus, smaller was better.

We Shall Did Overcome

I love the African American community. There’s so much diversity present, even in our own culture. Baby Boomers are trying to get Generation Y’ers and Millennials to understand the struggle. Generation Y’ers and Millennials are trying to get Baby Boomers to understand that the struggle has morphed. And it plays out on Sunday mornings every week in many congregations. Some congregations are “yet holding on” to how things have been done. Trying to engage a younger generation with the same methods. Or even worse, using old methods on newer platforms. Just because a church has a Facebook page doesn’t mean they are appropriately engaging a younger demographic. How can these churches properly do so? Repent. Recognize. Reflect. Repent of condescending and supercilious behavior. This applies to both the older and younger generations. Recognize the struggle has morphed. If older saints continue to couch the struggle in terms of water fountains and sit-ins, they may just lose the younger generation. Because most younger people are tired of singing “We Shall Overcome” because they feel like “We Did Overcome.” It’s just a matter of recalibration. There’s a new Jim Crow and it plays out in the prison system—where a disproportionate number of African Americans are currently incarcerated. Finally, churches can reflect on ways the African American church can effect real social change without honoring it over and above the Gospel.

A Third Way

I believe there is a third way. A way that recaptures the heart of the Gospel and can help fan the flame some have tried to extinguish by making other stuff the main thing. That’s one thing I always appreciate about the early church. Especially when it comes to Paul’s writings and letters. The Gospel was always center. All other church-related matters submitted to the supremacy of the Gospel. This removes the man-glory of the prosperity gospel and replaces it with God-centered preaching that says we were created for His glory. This removes the racist-worn stains of bitterness and hatred and moves us toward reconciliation. The Gospel bridges the generational gap and finds us all at the foot of the Cross. That’s the third way. Not every pastor wants to be famous. There are those who want to make Jesus’ name famous. Not every pastor waters down the Gospel for the sake of political affiliation. There are those who care more deeply about people’s souls than what they check on a ballot. And this third way, this Gospel way, has burned incessantly for centuries. And although I lament, I’m encouraged by the grace-fueled flame flickering in the darkness. And I echo John’s words in Revelation: Come, Lord Jesus.

Fruitvale Station: A Tragic Tale of Commuting While Black

Fruitvale Station: A Tragic Tale of Commuting While Black

While commuting, Oscar Grant lost his life on New Year’s Day in 2009. A film that paints a vivid picture of how complex his life may have been.

While the nation is immersed in coverage of the George Zimmerman trial, it seems fitting that a film would premiere this weekend in limited markets (New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco) that features another racially charged, outrage-inducing incident that occurred in the early morning hours on New Year’s Day 2009. Titled Fruitvale Station—named after a train station in the Bay Area Rapid Transit system in the San Francisco/Oakland area—the film recounts the final hours of Oscar Grant III.

Grant, a 22 year-old African American, was fatally shot by Bay Area Rapid Transit police who had responded to reports of a fight on one of the trains. The officers detained Grant and a group of his friends on the train’s platform. After several minutes of questioning, Grant, who was laying face down and allegedly resisting arrest, was shot in the back and later succumbed to his injuries.

A huge hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the film won both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award for U.S. dramatic film. Two days after its premiere, The Weinstein Group, a major American film studio, picked up the visceral movie. The director, Ryan Coogler, a young, driven, African American filmmaker, is an Oakland native who attended film school at the University of Southern California (USC).

The Big Picture

Thankfully, the film doesn’t focus on the events that transpired on the Fruitvale Station platform. Instead, the filmmaker chose to focus on the complex nature of Grant’s personal life. Specifically, the audience is invited to become insiders. Rather than another news story about a former convict being shot by local authorities, the film humanizes Grant. He has a mother (played by the incomparable Olivia Spencer) who cares deeply for him. He has a family. He’s a father. He has plans for his life. Does he have a criminal record? Yes. But, as Michelle Alexander points out in her enlightening work The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, there are more blacks under correctional control today—in prison or jail, on probation or parole—than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began. The percentage of black males with criminal records is astronomically higher than any other ethnic group in America. So yeah, the chances of Grant having a criminal record are pretty high.

The Embattled Protagonist

The film paints a picture of an embattled young man. A model citizen one moment—helping others with seemingly insignificant daily tasks—and a brazen, conflicted, young man the next—trying to navigate his post-parole life. But he’s a human being. The film makes viewers encounter our own prejudices when we hear about stories like this on the nightly news. They become dehumanizing after a while. Fruitvale Station ingeniously reintroduces the human element. Michael B. Jordan (affectionately known to many as Wallace from The Wire or Vince Howard from Friday Night Lights) does an excellent job of portraying Grant’s dichotomous existence.

Dangers of Commuting While Black

Imagine walking through the turnstile of an urban metro transit station without knowing it would be your last time traversing the elevated platform. In the film, Grant’s mother encouraged him to take the train. It was safer than navigating the Bay Area streets in the car on New Year’s Eve. Grant relented and took his mother’s advice. He decided to do what millions of people do nationwide daily—become a commuter. The decision proved to be fatal. The conflicting details leading up to the shooting incident pale in comparison to the fact that a handcuffed, unarmed, young, black man was gunned down by authorities while laying face down on the same concrete platform his mother felt was the safer option for her child. Did the officer believe he was using a taser? Was Grant resisting to the degree that he needed to be neutralized? Those questions were for the court (and jury) to decide. (Sidenote: The officer involved in the shooting was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.)

The more important question here is what we can do to erase the stigma we’ve attached to young, black males. To some degree, I’m not exempt from this treatment (though on a smaller scale). One day, while taking the commuter train to Los Angeles to my job in a law office downtown, I ran into one of my seminary professors on the train. I hadn’t taken one of his classes yet, and admittedly I was underdressed, since it was a Friday, but I decided to speak to him, since I’d heard his class was one to take. “Are you __________?” He looked at me square in the eyes and said, “No.” He grasped his bag a little closer and scurried further down the train car.

Hold up. What just happened? I was furious. Didn’t he know I was headed down to my cozy office in downtown Los Angeles to write legal briefs? But that didn’t matter. I made him uncomfortable. I’m sure there were some preconceived notions that I was some kind of threat. At times (and this may have been one of those occasions), ethnic identity drives that threat. I contacted that professor later that day to let him know who I was and why I had spoken to him. He apologized profusely, but why did it come to that? Why did I have to legitimize myself?

My story is nowhere close to being as tragic as what Oscar Grant experienced on that fateful night in January. Was he flawed? Yes. Was he conflicted? Yes. But he was also black. And he was commuting while black. Something that tens of thousands of black professionals do every day. He lost his life doing so. Kudos to Coogler for a film that will generate conversation in America. The proverbial “race relations” elephant in the room has once again reared its ugly head. Will we acknowledge it or continue to move our “furniture” around to accommodate our safe environments? In any event, please go see this film. It will be well worth the price of admission.

Question: What can we do to alleviate the stigma attached to being young and black in America?

Dark Girls: Getting Past The Paper Bag Test

Dark Girls: Getting Past The Paper Bag Test

Have we allowed our society to redefine what beauty really means? (Photo courtesy of

I remember sitting around with the fellas a few years ago. And I said it: “Light-skinned brothers are making a comeback. Chocolate brothers have been on top of the game for decades. Morris Chestnut. Idris Elba. Watch out though. We’re on our way back.” It was 2011. Gone were the days of DeBarge and Prince. Light-skinned brothers had been pushed to the periphery. In my mind, there was hope. I had my examples lined up. Jesse Williams—women love him as a doctor on Grey’s Anatomy. Tony Parker—a hoops star who spoke fluent French. Not to mention Michael Ealy, a Tyler Perry movie favorite. We jokingly made our cases for which group was “in” and which group was “out” when it came to the ladies.

Last night, another light-skinned/dark-skinned issue was raised. But this one was much less light-hearted. It wasn’t a barbershop conversation. In fact, it probably isn’t regularly discussed in beauty shops because it’s a touchy subject. It addressed a harsh reality that women deal with every day.

Struggles, both internal and external, accompany the “call” of being a black woman. Skin color has internally divided the black community for decades. Last night, a documentary, titled Dark Girls, appeared on OWN—one of the few times you’ll catch a brother watching OWN—addressing this very issue

The documentary began with a historical survey of African American culture and the impact of slavery on black people’s perception of themselves. Hundreds of years in colonized America being treated inferior has certainly had a psychological impact on African Americans. As the film pointed out, “The colonizer was superior. If the superior looked a certain way [i.e., white], then you aspired to reach that level.” From this mentality sprang the infamous “paper bag test.” If African Americans were lighter than a brown paper bag, they were beautiful. If they were darker than a brown paper bag, they were considered unattractive. I’d heard of this as a child, but growing up I never really bought it. In my adult years (especially while in college), I’ve learned that many young black girls really do wrestle with their skin color.

During the documentary, one interviewee wished she could just wake up lighter one day or at least wash her face to remove her skin color because she thought it was dirt. Another shared a story of a friend who exclaimed after the birth of her child, “Girl, I’m so glad [your baby] didn’t come out dark.” Another participant told producers that there was an unofficial policy at a store he worked at to hire lighter-skinned people rather than darker skinned people. Lighter-skinned people presented better. Really?

The more I watched, the more I was reminded that the struggle continues. To hear some of this stuff come out of people’s mouths was a bit disconcerting. Black people disparaging members of a people group they are a part of. And the media hasn’t been helpful. Viola Davis, award-winning actress, recalled, “I never [saw] any examples on television or film of anyone associated with beauty…that looked like me.” Imagine going through your entire childhood without seeing anyone black associated with beauty. The documentary pointed out that 7 out of 10 black girls ages 8-17 feel like they don’t measure up in appearance. That’s 70% of young black women walking around today! How are we, as an African American community, reassuring their beauty? What are we doing to increase our young women’s self-esteem?

Here’s the irony. Some white people spend tons of money trying to tan their bodies in order to get dark, while some black people spend tons of money trying to lighten their skin. One interviewee stated, “White people made me appreciate my skin color, black people made me question it.” She’d been complimented by whites for her skin color, while blacks vilified her skin tone. Just sad.

A few notable tweets in my feed last night:

Categorizing ourselves “light skin” or “dark skin”we are saying we are closer to the social construct that says white is more valuable. #DarkGirls

We, including myself, have to do better at recognizing where we believe certain lies and stereotypes about our beauty. #DarkGirls

I didn’t know anything about dark skin being “bad” until I transferred to majority black American school in 7th grade. #DarkGirls

There are so many shades of color in my family…we appreciate them all. #DarkGirls

How many more records would Angie Stone, India Arie, and Fantasia had sold if they looked like Alicia Keys, Rihanna, Ciara, or Beyonce? #DarkGirls

Truth is, every girl has a story to tell. Dark Girls who have to defend their beauty & Light Girls who have to defend their race. #DarkGirls

So what did the documentary teach me that I didn’t already know? Not much more than I already learned as a double HBCU graduate (shout out to Morehouse College and Howard Law School). But having it trend in social media was a conversation starter. A conversation that shouldn’t stop at identifying the problem, but coming up with adequate solutions to make young ladies feel valued. And maybe one day the only brown paper bag we care about is the greasy one from our favorite hole-in-the-wall soul food restaurant.

What are your thoughts on the Dark Girls documentary? Tired of the light-skinned/dark-skinned dichotomy? Speak on it.