I believe black is black.
I am no different from Wesley Snipes, Michael Ealy, Idris Elba, Shamar Moore, Taye Diggs, or whomever else you can think of. We are all black.
The refusal to give credence to the idea that I am not as black as my brothers because they are darker than me; the 'lighter is better gospel,' is not one I put faith in. If you fall victim to the prison of colorism then they've put a spell on you.
People are outraged that a black actress is playing a black jazz legend because she's not dark skinned, doesn't have nappy hair and is not really black enough.
Zoe Saldana, who is Dominican and Puerto Rican, will play Nina Simone in the upcoming film Nina. Since it was first announced she would be playing the jazz legend, Zoe has received a constant string of hate and doubt, but it's time for that to stop.
The day when we get mad that another black person is playing a black person, regardless of the shade of their skin, we are blocking our own cause for advancement.
Sure, Zoe doesn't look like Nina Simone, but that's what the magic of Hollywood is for! Nina Simone is known for standing up to racial stereotypes, knocking down walls and being herself.
It is her plump lips and wide nose, dark skin and natural hair that make her beautiful. Zoe playing Nina is no different than a little girl dressing up to make herself more beautiful.
All of Zoe's life, she had to fight to defend her skin color and her race, but she is black! She once told a tale of the time she was questioned about what she was, and she had to set the person straight:
"When I go to the D.R., the press in Santo Domingo always asks, “¿Qué te consideras, dominicana o americana?” (What do you consider yourself, Dominican or American?) I don’t understand it, and it’s the same people asking the same question. So I say, time and time again, “Yo soy una mujer negra.” (“I am a black woman.”) [They go,] “Oh, no, tú eres trigueñita.” (“Oh no, you are ‘dark skinned’”) I’m like, “No! Let’s get it straight, yo soy una mujer negra.” (“I am a black woman).”
I am black!
I can't help but feel like the people who cry foul over stuff like this actually believe that a certain shade is better than another. Because my light skin doesn't stop a racist KKK member from hating me.
We must stop giving into the idea of the brown paper bag test and love one another. Because it was Nina who said it best:
“The worst thing about that kind of prejudice... is that while you feel hurt and angry and all the rest of it, it feeds you self-doubt. You start thinking, perhaps I am not good enough.”
We are only as great as we think we are.
Xilla is the Sr. Entertainment Editor for GlobalGrind.com as well as CEO of the number 1 relationship blog BlogXilla.com/M2TB.com. He has been featured in XXL, The Source, Essence, LA Times and is considered one of the premiere bloggers in the industry. Follow him on twitter @BlogXilla