I started dating women two years ago. I was always attracted to masculine presenting women a.k.a “studs” but never explored the attraction until my last year of law school. There was this young woman, her name was Chloee. She was light skinned, laid back, witty, and generous. Not to mention, she was fine. I’m talking, “turn-a-straight-girl-gay” Young M.A. fine. I’ll fast forward things a bit because this isn’t about me, rather an observation I just can’t shake.
I’m now in a relationship with another woman who is loving, confident, generous and ironically, also light skinned. I could write a book on what I’ve learned about myself and women from dating other women, but again, this is not about me.
While in the house on another quarantined weekend, I stumbled on the Instagram profile of Sade’s daughter. You know, the iconic singer, right? Well, her daughter Mickailia is now a man, named Izaak. As I thumbed through Izaak’s Instagram, I stopped on a picture of him and his girlfriend. The caption reads, “Ma love”. She’s a white woman. I’m instantly perplexed. A black woman-to-man transgender, chose a white woman as his object of admiration and affection.
This was not new though. I’ve seen this before, personally while dating in Washington D.C. and in the media. Once I had swiped left on a thirty-something black lesbian whose profile read, “White women only… let’s have some fun.” I’ve since read similar profiles. In the media, the presence of black lesbians who date and marry white women is also prevalent.
We can look at the partner of actress and comedian, Wanda Sykes, the actress from “Orange is the New Black”, Samira Wiley, and even the legendary singer, Tracy Chapman. They are all with white women. Then there’s the acclaimed singer, MeShell Ndegocello – yup, you guessed it. Ndegocello’s wife is white. We also can’t forget the once up-and-coming rapper Angel Haze, who graced the red carpet a few years back with her then girlfriend and model, Ireland Baldwin. Yes, she’s also white.
It’s also hard to ignore the racially ambiguous partners of other celebrities who are black lesbians. For instance, actress Raven Symone dated for years the “Empire” actress, AzMarie Livingston, who is very racially ambiguous. The beloved singer Janelle Monáe, who embodies the aesthetics of the average mono-racial black woman with perceived self-confidence, is in a confirmed romantic relationship with actress Tessa Thompson. Thompson is biracial with black, Mexican and European ancestry. I could keep going, but you get the picture.
You’re probably wondering, so what – right? As an avid reader and supporter of the Divine Dark Skin platform, I enjoy unmasking colorism and discussing topics that help black women to win. From that introspective lens, I can’t help but feel the irony behind all of this.
Before dating women, I would date men of all color because hypergamy is and will always be my priority. I embrace the notion of not limiting myself to intra-racial dating but often times, when we discuss the ills of one desiring a white girl or a “light bright”, it’s only within the context of black men. As if black women are without reproach and only a black man can possess a sense of self-hate and disregard for #blacklove.
While we as black women are not monolithic, what is to be said about the many black women who share the same preference for white women, like the “lost black men” we sometimes fuss over? Are we as black women, especially darker skinned black women, merely victims too of the societal notions that white or light skinned women are somehow more feminine, more beautiful, more worthy of love than us? Or maybe, white women are the forbidden fruit that even black women,with same-sex attraction, crave to have for sexual pleasure or as a status symbol.
I just can’t help but find satire in the idea that a black woman can love her image as a black woman, but when fixed with same-sex attraction, reject women with that very same image.
What are your thoughts?
Bailey J. John is a twenty-something year old originally from Boston, Massachusetts with Jamaican roots. She is currently an attorney in Washington D.C., and enjoys everything girly, debating politics, and paid-for Uber rides to high-end restaurants. She enjoys writing and working with girls in juvenile facilities in her spare time.