Grace Gealey, better known as ‘Anika’ on Empire or Boo-Boo Kitty, says she received a life lesson once she left the Cayman Islands for the United States when she was 18-years-old. In an interview with Details, Gealey said before she left home, she never realized she was light-skinned.

“For me personally, it’s the whole light-skinned/dark-skinned dynamic [for women of color]. I mean, there’s competition among women everywhere you go. But back home we understand that you can look like a variety of things and still be from the same culture. What I’m saying is that I’ve never felt like I was a light-skinned black woman. Never felt that way because we shared the same culture back home. But when I came to America, that’s when I started to feel that there was a lot of push-back from women. I was definitely made aware that I am light-skinned. I realized that was a thing here,” Gealey stated.

When asked what she meant by her statement, she delved further into intra-racism.

“It was something that people felt the need to point out. I guess maybe it’s a form of intra racism: I was discriminated against for being light-skinned and there were a lot of labels. Some people assumed that guys might like me more because of my complexion or that I had it easier in general. Which is funny because I’ve been a victim of prejudice as well: There were times when I have walked into a Rite Aid at 12 o’clock at night and had the store manager stand in the corner and stare at me while I was looking at nail polishes,” Gealey explained.

Gealey’s remarks seem to echo similar sentiments of light-skinned women, not only the Caribbean but also here in the U.S. As someone who has visited Cayman Islands for long periods of time, I’ve noticed colorism and people being discriminated because of their complexion. But I’m not one to discount Gealey’s experiences.

Clutchettes, what do you think about Gealey’s comments?

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  • Justmythoughts

    Just to make sure I follow, ‘Colorism’ is something Blacks do to themselves, correct?

    • noirluv45

      Well, you could say that, but it did not start with us. Colonialism and such is the culprit, and unfortunately, many people of color have been brainwashed.

    • mmmdot

      No the hell it isn’t:

      “When whites are guilty of colorism”

      http://www.washingtonpost .com/opinions/african-americans-still-face-colorism-based-on-their-skin-tone/2014/11/07/8a2ac124-607e-11e4-9f3a-7e28799e0549_story.html

    • Staci Elle

      and latinos and asians… any non white cutures touched by yt.

    • digital_femme

      Do you understand now, dearie? Or still confused?

  • permafrost

    My family is from Haiti and shades are definitely noticed. there are different names to describe every different combination of shade, facial features and hair textures. I haven’t noticed too much discrimination or assigning value based on these features lately (although we have been in the US/Canada for decades and have bee influenced by those cultures).

    • Love.tweet.joi

      When I went on vaca to the Dominican Republic, the lighter shade women had better jobs at the resort (like concierge jobs).I kept telling the brown women how beautiful they were and I could tell they were getting weirded out. LMAO. Oops. #accidentalgirlcrushes LOL.

    • Staci Elle

      lol! I want to go there and stock up on their conditioners! I would buy luggage just to fill with hair products, YES!

    • Love.tweet.joi

      I didn’t even know about Dominican products when I went! I just want to go back. AH, those were the days…

    • Staci Elle

      Let me know when you do pretty please! lol

  • Guest

    First of all, back in her home, most people R dark skinned and light skin is a minority not given special attention. She had to come here to get that special attention.

    • Love.tweet.joi

      That’s so surprising tho. If light skin is in the minority, then it would seem like people would make a big deal of it. Asians and Indians make a big deal of it. Puerto Ricans make a big deal of it. Hell, even in the DR it seemed to be a big deal. I can’t argue with anyone on this because I’ve never been there, I’m just surprised, is all.

    • AfroCapricornette

      I watched Dr Gates “Black in Latin America” series on YT years ago and in DR, a couple of black ppl swore they were “indio” not “negra”…from Naive Amer not Africans. I laughed…why? They were darker than I was with kinky coily hair! If they weren’t speaking Spanish, i swear I would’ve said he was in an African nation.

    • ZORINO

      The Dominican Republic, that’s a whole other ball game. I watched the Dr Gates “Black in Latin America”. It’s a really interesting piece.

    • blogdiz

      I do not agree with her statement but FYI
      A large portion of the the Cayman Island is light skinned in fact much lighter than her and a lot of the people are distantly related to each other the island is small with a lot of European antecedents
      Please do some research before posting nonsense

  • Jane

    I think black women should just ignore beige women in general, not waste brain matter on them. If some are cool or are your friends/family, okay. However, wanting to join a sorority or be accepted in some superfical way is pointless. All the successfull black women throughout history have all been dark-skinned. By success, I’m not referring to some generic Civil Rights or fighting for freedom. I mean business, CEO’s, board of directors, positions in govenment…..astronauts even. When have you ever seen a light-skinned billionoaire or astronaut….NEVER!!!

    • Staci Elle

      I dont know what the fuck your saying but Im “beige ” and I have two black parents so Im ( and any other light skinned bw with black parents is) as black as anyone.What is your motive for adding to this conversation Jane.

    • Love.tweet.joi

      Hold up! Someone PLEASE pass Jane a photo of Rosa Parks.

    • Staci Elle

      lol Thanks sis
      Im still trying to understand what her motive is for all of these comments. When a ww comes on a bw focused site to add to a conversation about colorism ( which favors yt at the end of the day) I wonder what their motive is.

    • ZORINO

      You may have GOOD intentions but ignoring beige women in general is a kind of misguided advice, imho. Black is Black, and people should be able to co-exist w/o being stuck on on the whole light-skinned dark-skinned nonsense.