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For people of color, the word “chocolate” is weighted. It’s traditionally used as a term of endearment for women and men with darker skin, pegging them as desirable. But some take offense to it.

When Cadbury released an ad promoting their Dairy Milk Bliss bars that read “Move over Naomi, there’s a new diva in town,” Naomi Campbell was outraged. The supermodel threatened to sue the company and released the following statement: “I’m shocked. It’s upsetting to be described as chocolate, not just for me, but for all black women. It is insulting and hurtful.”

Tika Sumpter feels differently. The “Sparkle” actress said Mike Epps, who also appears in the film, often called her “Chocolate” on set and she didn’t see it as negative:

“I think it’s a term of endearment. I don’t think it’s anything negative. Chocolate’s my favorite thing to eat. So I can’t live without it. And I know when Mike Epps says it, he’s just like ‘emph! Look, if Tyler Perry wants to pay me the money to call me ‘chocolate’ and be an ass, I’m cool with it.”

While “chocolate” does objectify, if the sentiment is positive and flattering, I don’t necessarily find it offensive.

Speak on it, Clutchettes: do you think “chocolate” is an offensive or endearing term?

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  • Rakel

    Even though Naomi’s gorgeous, she wouldn’t be the first to have complexion issues. I could see her point about them using her image unauthorized, but to say chocolate is offensive for all Black women? Not so much. ITA with other posters it has to do with the content. It’s always been used as a term of endearment towards me.

  • AuntG

    I call my husband “chocolate” all the time, because of his dark, smooth, beautiful skin, so it is a term of endearment. However, I would not just go up to anyone I didn’t know and call them chocolate, because it might offend them.

  • PJ

    Gone Ms. Tiki, you wear that “chocolate” well ~ beau-ti-ful!

    Yes, I agree. Chocolate is a term of endearment. Chocolate (dark) is good for you and to you. It’s sweet and irresistible. So when a woman or a man is referred to as “chocolate”, I don’t think they are usually offended. Hmm..what’s really going on with Naomi?

  • Ange B

    I think Naomi Campbell taking offense can be justified..given it seems she was not aware the ad was gonna use her name/or likeness when it comes to their marketing. I do agree with alot of people that the term chocolate can be endearing and that it should be kept to those you know as someone may take offense. As Naomi is apart of modeling world who knows how that term was used..and she does reside in Europe so possibly in Europe being called chocolate may not have the same appeal as positive? Gmaire mentioned it can come across as “fetishized” so possibly Naomi’s dislike of the term stems from that. I had a friend who worked/lived in Paris for a year and kept having white men approach her with “I have never been with a Black woman before” pick up line..to which she replied neither have I.

  • bluefacedangel

    I love being called chocolate, cause that’s what I am–brown and sweet…