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


  1. Wow....just wow Marsh.

    Sometimes I wonder if we'll ever get over this complexion/color thing and start treating people with mutual dignity and respect.

    I can only hope.

  2. I can totally relate Marsha...growing up classmates went as far as calling me white or even honky just because of my light complexion. They even would assume that I thought or felt I was better than them because I came out a few shades lighter. I can only hope that we can progress as a ppl & not continue to divide ourselves.

  3. America created the concept of race while other countries organized people by ethnicity. Either way, division does not keep us from seeking unity. Everyone wants to belong on his or her own terms yet identify with a group. It is the conundrum of human existence.

    Yesterday, my lips turned up in mild frustration as I watched "Miss Chocolate" by Lil Jon, R. Kelly, and Mario. The women in the video are beautiful, but they do not represent the spectrum of chocolateness -- if you will. I expected to see at least one sistah so dark that her beauty would emit hues of blue. No such luck. I continued to watched the video and it is now one of my favorites. I am always happy to see Mario's work and to see him with one of his idols, R. Kelly, is delightful. So, I appreciate the creativity of the lyrics and the video. As you elude in your post, an artist's intentions may differ from a fan's expectations. In the end, beauty is what we bring to it.

    And, for the record, Marsha, you are beautiful -- the sparkle in your colorful eyes, the curl of your trese, the sound of your voice, and the thoughts that you share. Thank you, for reminding us to see our beauty beyond our own judgements.

    P.S. Your song with Mario is awesome. I eagerly await the new CD, not from the light-skinned woman but from the vessel of God's greatness that music fans know as Marsha Ambrosius.

  4. Wow Marsha!!Great piece!!I'm one of the editors for an upcoming online magazine in the UK and we will be covering issues of the different shades of black and long shot - could we do a piece on you??Possibly your people or yourself can hit us up @ ...really hope so

  5. Cookie Crew; Fade to Black - 1991. Stupid, but that's how I first learned this Brit racial dynamic. Good album. But its no better in the States either :( I still cringe at the memories...

  6. totally feel u. I'm on the darker side of the spectrum tho (hehe) and i get so frustrated when ppl say things like "oh ur pretty for a dark skinned girl" like dark skinned girls are usually unattractive. and this coming from other black people! it's crazy, wonder when the madness will end. thanx for posting this marsha, luv u n ur music. P

  7. It was bad for me because i was a true red bone, red hair, freckles, reddish brown complexion, with slanted eyes. My friends gave me heat saying that guys talked to me cause i was light skinned. One friend of mine told me why would i be so pro black when i was so light. I hated it.

  8. I'm light skinned too, and people call me white girl, Indian and Chinese. Black people say I'm too light to be black and white people treat me like one of them.

  9. I notice people from the UK do not mention what ethnicity they are in Wikipedia. All they say is they are British. But many people who live in Britain are not White/British, there are black British people such as yourself, etc. I just think it's good that we all identify what our origins are. By the way Marsha you are beautiful. I always wanted to know what ethnicity you were. I know for sure that you are black.

    There's this other person I want to know what ethnicity he is. Marsha do you know what ethnicity 'Good Evans' Elliot Evans is? He performed on 'Britain's Got Talent' once. I know his father Giles Evans is white British, but his mother Estella Evans doesn't look white British. Do you know what ethnicity Elliot Evans and his mother Estella Evans is?

  10. I agree 100% with your article everyone has their own experiences growing up the name calling among our own people is crazy. It’s bad enough growing up in this world period, and as a child kids can be so cruel do to the lack of home training the right way from the parents how sad. I had some in my day. i am also “light skinned” an have been called everything you can think of red bone, yella, clear ,light bright just to name a few. I never did understand why it has to be about color all the time in our community more than any other race. I guess from back in the slave days.
    You would think that type of nonsense would be over by now. Well we have a lot more serious things to worry about then color. Also when other races seem to chime in on it as well asking my favored among other races” what are you mixed with”? If I had a quarter for every time I heard that I would be rich by now lol. It’s sad when we are considered better because of what completion we are? Really
    I also had the same problems. I was not black enough for my people, but not white enough for the other people. Most people think I am Latina or creole. I get so tired of it really. I am happy who I am, and how god made me but sometimes, I would like to be looked at as just being me for my accomplishments ,and achievements and for who I have become as a person. This world is so shallow and it’s hard to just be YOU.

  11. I love you so much Marsha i agree and thank you for alarming the world and not being afraid of who you really are. Eternal love and too much respect.

  12. Black is beautiful. Our hair is our crowns. Our skin is our armor. Our pride never dies. I am proud of who we are and i love us and i love us