Eric Benet is an irrelevant figure in my 20-something millennial existence. So, when he landed on the coveted Twitter trending topics list, my curiosity meter wasn’t spiked. Even when his newest song’s title, “Redbone,” began circulating the gossip sites, it still didn’t cause the slightest pique in my interest. Like Brian McKnight and other success-starved singers of the ‘90s, Benet was exploiting an age-old tactic to garner interest in his latest flop project. He had officially accepted membership into the inclusive “I’m too old for this, but I’ll keep attempting to moisten panties” washed-up singers club.
So, I ignored Benet as I did McKnight, Al B. Sure and other charter members until a personal shero, Demetria Lucas, better known as A Belle in Brooklyn, penned a controversial article for Clutch magazine. “In Defense of Light-Skinned Women” explores the implications of what “Redbone” signifies for lighter-complexioned black women. Lucas details how our butterscotch sisters have been bombarded with sentiments rooted in maliciousness that place them in a position to defend their blackness.
Her claim is viable and in routine Lucas fashion, she uses keen examples to support her position. The Brooklyn Belle writes:
“The hue that can make light-skinned women prized among some also can make them loathed among others. And the latter half of that dichotomy shouldn’t be dismissed because of the former.
The vitriol hurled at a darker woman for being melanin-infused doesn’t somehow trump that of a lighter-hued woman, also marginalized but in her case for not being considered black ‘enough.’ (There’s a reason that after a trip to the beach, you’ll catch some light women extend their arms beside another light friend as a playful competition to see who’s finally darker. Sometimes you’ll catch one measuring her skin beside that of a brown friend to see if her complexion made it to brown status. It’s a joyous occasion to be ‘black enough.’) The words are different, but the intentional infliction of shame, the feeling of being outcast and set apart for something out of your control hurts just the same.”