Monday, November 23, 2009

Sammy, Michael & Katt

Creedits: Images stolen from Google search

Sammy Sosa lightened his skin, we've established this. Personally I think skin lightening creams produce an odd- for lack of a better word, complexion when used for any purpose other than blemish removal. Medically, they are unsafe, so Sammy's decision is odd all across the board, to me. Initially, my thoughts are, well why you wanna go and do that, love?

The Favorite Guy and I start in on the topic and immediately I say, "It kinda sucks since he came here [US] made a name for himself as a prominent athlete and there are I'm sure, hosts of dark-skinned Dominican children who had someone to look up to". Then, I reflected on Michael Jackson and how the Black community lauded/condemned him based on his personal choices and the changes he made to his physical appearance and felt saddened by my flippant rush to cast judgment and place such heavy responsibility on this person whom I do not know. Sure, he has chosen a profession that puts him in the public eye, but keep in mind, their contracts don't have a role model race/gender/social responsibility clause.

For a moment I thought, "Hmm imagine if my chemically straightened hair, excessive consumption of imported beer and favored, frequent use of the F-word were the only things people referenced when formulating an opinion about my worth, both self and societal". Oh the pressure, the pain, the horror.

Katt Williams (I'm a fan.) said something about self-esteem that really resonated with me. He said, "self-esteem is called [such] because it is the esteem of yo' motherfuckin' self". Vernacular aside, this is a heavy, poignant statement and a virtue of sorts that we should all aspire to make our mantra. When each of us is working within, our best face is put forward and in turn we see only the best of those around us. It's ignorant to believe we're all the same, it's enlightenment to acknowledge that being different is a cardinal commonality.

So what, the voice within someone who once looked like me or you has chosen alternate packaging and your voice says stay in the skin/features/gender to which you were born, it's all the same difference.

Disclaimer: I'm not blind to hegemony, I'm not naive to the beauty standards of the west, I am however completely ignorant of the reasoning behind any of the aforementioned celebrities' reasons for altering their appearance and as a result of that ignorance have opted to form my opinion based solely on aesthetics, "packaging" if you will.

Peace and self love


mairedodd said...

great - oh, and i love the description of self-esteem! takes it right down to the basics, hmmm?! :0)

fly tie said...

something to think about.

although i oftentimes do jump to conclusions on the whole skin bleaching topic, ialways...well most of the time...try to consider situations from all angles after doing so.

i'm particularly fascinayed with the untentional skin lightening phenomenon, and i'n quite sure my fascination with THIS particular action--as opposed to actions of those who tan to ge darker, for instance--is directly related to the stigma which has long permeated (at least american) society in reference to darker skin.

love the katt williams quote.

A Cuban In London said...

I'm with your disclaimer. What both Sammy and Michael did is what I call 'the Pecola Effect' or 'Pecola Phenomenon' after the novel 'The Bluest Eye' by Toni Morrison.

Many thanks for such a brilliant article.

Greetings from London.

High Desert Diva said...

"'s enlightenment to acknowledge that being different is a cardinal commonality."

You're brilliant.

Jennifer said...

Hmmm, thinking about this post, makes me wonder, if a person chooses to lighten their skin, aware (on some level) that many in the world are watching, then life might not be so easy for them after all. I mean, I don't even like to fix my lipstick while others are watching, much less change my appearance. In both situations, the men involved have denied (as far as I know) that their choice had anything to do with self-loathing. I think Sammy blamed it on the lighting and some lotion right?

In either case, there is a lot there to examine beyond these two men, and much less to ridicule. They deserve(d) hugs and probably to be reminded that they are beautiful...In terms of Katt Williams...sometimes I love that quote, and sometimes I feel like it gives people who hurt people lisence to do so without remorse. Your interpretation I can stand with...seeing the best in ourselves and then seeing the best in others....I love that you put the exact quote in. I'm a fan (though sadly infrequent dropper) of the F-bomb in all it's forms :)

T.Allen-Mercado said...

Thanks all, I appreciate your feedback.

@ Charmaine, how sweet of you-brilliant is up there with one of the best compliments I've ever received.

@ Jennifer...I thought the same thing initially of Katt William's quote, but a documentary (Pimpadelic) about the root of where his comedic genius comes from made it more likely that he meant the comment to be ubiquitous. Ubiquitous in that if you have high or sufficient self esteem you are less likely to be on either side of the vitriol...those who love themselves also love others.

Jewelry Rockstar said...

When I first saw Sammy's new look I thought "What the What." Then I thought he must be living a pretty charmed life, that he can sit around and worry about the color of his skin so much so that he takes such repeated action as to change it. I mean there are people in this world who are worrying about living on water (Banglesdeshis), losing retirement, homes, and hard life's savings (Americans), Staying safe from gun fire (Americans, Afghanistans, Isrealis, Iraqis). The list goes on and on about people with dire needs and concerns. Worrying about the color of your skin not being light enough, shows a truly pampered existence. I think Sammy and his wifey (who should have stopped his ass), might want to spend more time giving back to the world. It might change his mentality a bit.

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