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Friday, May 7, 2010

Diary of a Black Girl...

So... many have asked as to why I didn't appear in the Wale video for "Diary". A song which my voice is featured on and so you'd expect to see me in the video. If they shot the video a day before or a day after, I may have been able to have made it to the set. Simply scheduling issues.
I made mention of this on my UStream broadcast last night and it sparked off an enlightening convo regarding the battles many have with complexions. I know the song may just be a song to many, but for others who can identify with its content, it would be easy for the message to be lost due to the harsh realities of color complex. A lot of people made comments regarding another video Wale released entitled "Pretty Girls" which didn't depict beauty in the way they perceived it to be. I'm sure a majority of you have experienced the on-going, deep rooted battle with complexion in one way or another.

Growing up in Liverpool, I had the luxury of not having to be "light-skinned". I was black. My parents, black. Back then, I didn't know there were versions of the color. The innocence of childhood let me know no better. I didn't know what complexion meant. I recall myself around 8 or 9 years old at school in my music class and all the kids would stand in a circle holding hands singing a song called "Brown girl in the ring". Each class member would take turns standing in the middle while the rest of the class sang the song. A white girl in the class was ahead of me and the class sang the song as is. It gets to my turn and all of a sudden, there's a remix... "There's a light skinned girl with green eyes in the ring, TRA LA LA LA LA..." Sung by all of the "black" students. I still feel that embarrassment sometimes. I felt so secluded.

Some other experiences that definitely stayed with me...

Hmmmmm... I was around 9 years old on holiday with my family in Spain and none of the white children would play with me. I told one of them that I was white, I was just dark because I'd been in the sun a lot. I had a lot of "friends" after that.

Around the age of 13, I came home from basketball practice to my mother waiting by the door extremely angry. She had been getting phone calls all night from "unknown" calling her a "white whore, nigga lover, bitch, Marsha is a half-cast bitch, we're gonna get you nigga lover white bitch" etc. I could go on but you get it. My mother went to my school the next day to complain. I tried to tell her it couldn't have been anyone that I know because all my "friends" knew my mother was black. The discomfort of having to go back to school knowing that someone had disrespected my mother in such a way sickened me. I would experience many situations growing up that forced me to understand that being light-skinned to some was considered not black enough. And I realized later on in life that it could have been anybody calling my mother's house, saying those horrible things to her, to hurt us. "Friend" enemy, "black" or white.

Everyone has a story to tell and many will empathize or sympathize according to how relative it is to them. We tend to place judgement based on our experiences, emotions, insecurities, etc. The story of a girl who wonders if the tears will stop falling, if her heart will ever mend, if she'll ever get over is every one's story. No race, creed, color or gender. The song rings true to all.

Diary of this black girl.

Marsha Ambrosius