R&B singer Sevyn Streeter recently fielded an interview question about being called “pretty for a dark-skinned girl.” She gave a standard response, saying:

“[People] do get offended by those comments, but I think it comes down to how you feel about yourself. And obviously I’ve heard it before, but when people tell me, ‘Oh, you’re pretty for a dark skinned girl,’ I always ask,’Well, what does that mean?’ or ‘Why do you feel that way?’ I like to get into their mind frames and engage and have a conversation about it. I don’t really judge anyone, your preference is your preference, as long as you respect everyone else’s preferences, do you, I appreciate the compliment I know who I am. I’m very confident in my skin and I love myself so it doesn’t really bother me.”

The line of questioning exhausted me. That’s not to say that our experience as dark-skinned women isn’t worth discussing; it should be examined, studied and explored in detail. At the same time, by reverting to questions about that age-old back handed compliment whenever we speak to or about a dark-skinned artist, are we giving “colorism” more power and attention than it deserves?

Maybe it’s naive, but I would love to see a day when a woman can just discuss her talent and beauty and identity without reporters asking about her skin color and any loaded comments she’s heard because of it. It gives unnecessary attention to an ignorant line of thinking that should have died a long time ago. And yet we wonder why it won’t go away.

Do you agree that it’s high time questions about being called “pretty for a dark-skinned girl” are buried once and for all?

-Tiffany Scarville

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