And here I thought it was the blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice……
Most, if not all black women know about bleaching creams. What I know of bleaching creams is pretty standard. My mom introduced me to them growing up after puberty. Now there is absolutely nothing scandalous about what I am about to say. It’s not going to be a harrowing story of extreme self-hatred, where poor me grew up, being forced by my psychotic mother to bathe in bleaching creams to get fair skinned in order to be beautiful or anything sordid like that. My angle this time, is that I think bleaching creams are being given a VERY BAD RAP. What I learned of bleaching creams growing up, had absolutely ZERO to do with hating the colour of your skin.
After puberty, most people, (there are a fortunate few who don’t) get pimples, zits whatever you wanna call them. I had my struggles with this. Now after the zit goes away either on its own, or you squeeze the hell out of it, you more than likely will end up with a dark mark as a solid reminder that your skin sometimes rebels and hates you. From what I was taught, I gathered that the idea behind bleaching creams, was to use a little tiny dot on your finger tip , put it on the blemish, then rub it into that one isolated spot. You would do this for a couple of days, or however long it took to get that dark spot to go back to its ORIGINAL colour, which is the colour of your skin. That was what I learned when I was about 15 years old.
My mom told me that some of them were harsh and some were mild. She would always buy the mild ones and they worked just fine. If I re-call correctly, the cream of choice back then was called skin success.
Then of course there was Ambi.
My mother used to apply the skin success for me, to any spot or blemish I pointed out. She never let me put it on myself until I was older, and even then she would stand there and watch me do it. I have never used ambi so I cannot give any kind of testimony about it. I don’t recall ever having any issues with skin success however. She would put it on me at night, (only at night) for a few days , then when the spot was gone, there was no need to use it, until I got another spot.
One tube of bleaching cream could last you sometimes up to a year and a half. Sometimes she would have to throw them out, because she would have them so long and not use them. A few years later, she discovered one called Symba, which she said was a lot milder than the skin success, so she started buying that. I don’t think she’s ever used another brand since. I too followed suit.
While in high school, one of the most popular Jamaican dance-hall songs was ‘Dem a Bleach.’ Now I know this song very well, it’s actually one of my favourites, but I don’t think I ever really understood or truly grasped what was meant by ‘use chemical fi look like brownin’. I had never seen anyone transform their colour other than Micheal Jackson, and let’s face it, he had other issues and a whole lot more money than most, so whatever his situation, the masses could not afford what he was using.
Fast forward to today. The black folks that have issues with being darker than a certain complexion, have caught on to some seriously potent stuff. So much so, that we seem to have a new race of zombies and wood slave looking characters walking amongst us. Some self hating genius decided that, if it could make my dark spot light, it my make my dark skin light too. I guess they did it, other people thought it looked good and soon followed suit. Now we have an epidemic on our hands. Dare I say, the invention of bleaching creams was probably not for the purpose of desecrating your physical appearance by changing your skin colour as if you were a lizard. It was for keeping it the tone that God intended it to be. Is this the future of black people?
We may not have left the old ways of racism behind yet, but colourism amongst our own kind, might just let the other races leave us to our own devices to destroy ourselves. We seem to be doing a very good job anyway.
‘Me no kay if a only brownin’ dem a feature, me nah go tun up mi colour!’
“A people without knowledge of their past and culture, is like a tree without roots. Black People, Wise Up! The children are the future. Teach them to love themselves, as learning to love yourself. It is the greatest love of all.”