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Colorism In Hip-Hop EXPOSED

todayMarch 27, 2022 198 1

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When It Comes To Colorism In Hip-Hop, We Are All Still Learning

The conversation around colorism in hip-hop has been going on for years. Let's just get that out of the way first. But it's time we made that learning process count. WATCH VIDEO BELOW

In a genre that's been historically dominated by men, female rappers are working to finally break through and claim their stake in hip-hop. But before they can do that, the problem of colorism—a discriminatory practice based on skin tone—has to be addressed.

In hip-hop, light-skinned women have long gotten more attention than dark-skinned women. This is especially true when it comes to mainstream success. Just look at some of the biggest female rappers today: Nicki Minaj, Doja Cat, Cardi B—they're all light-skinned. And you have to go seriously far down the list before you get to any of their dark-skinned peers like or Rico Nasty.

Recently, there's been a lot of talk about colorism within the Black community—a long-standing issue that is often overlooked or downplayed. Colorism refers to discrimination against those with darker skin tones than the majority. It's based on the idea that those with lighter skin tones are more desirable or “beautiful” than their darker-skinned counterparts. And while colorism is present in all communities of color, it has been an especially prevalent issue among Black people.

For female rappers who are often judged by their looks first, colorism adds another element of prejudice and discrimination.

What is Colorism in Hip-Hop

Colorism is a form of discrimination based on skin tone, and it's long been an issue for people of color. In the mid-1800s, light-skinned slaves were often given jobs as house slaves, while their darker-skinned counterparts worked in the fields. This was an example of a system that allowed them to “earn” privilege based on their proximity to whiteness.

This concept has carried over into modern society in the form of colorism within the black community; studies have shown that light-skinned black women are more likely to be considered attractive than dark-skinned black women.

It's no surprise that this bias has become ingrained in hip-hop as well, where many rappers are judged not only on their musical ability but also on their appearance—which can be especially difficult when you're someone with dark skin.

To understand why this matters in Hip-Hop, we have to go back to the origins of hip-hop culture—the late 70s and early 80s in New York City. Back then, it was a way of expressing yourself through DJing, breakdancing, rapping, or graffiti art—a way for members of the African American community to take back their self-expression from mainstream culture.

Over time, mainstream culture began to embrace hip-hop culture, but not without taking away some aspects of its power and turning it into something new and different.

Now that mainstream culture has embraced hip-hop and hip-hop artists, there's been a shift away from the idea that hip-hop represents an act of rebellion against mainstream society and towards the idea that hip-hop represents a celebration of black culture.

Although there are many beautiful black women out there, we haven't heard much about them because they're not being recognized. Colorism affects these young women by making them feel like they're not beautiful because their skin isn't as light as others'. Many rappers and singers say they only like or would date a woman if she's light-skinned and has good hair. Most artists also mention how they'd take some “yellow bone” instead of a dark girl who doesn't fit their criteria. This promotes the idea that only fair-skinned girls are worthy of being loved or appreciated, which leads us to why colorism within hip-hop matters so much for our culture today.

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Written by: Silvia Tine

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