I am sure most of you may have guessed already just how many of these female celebrities made this list. But did you know how much these women are worth? Well, according to AtlantaBlackstar these 28 black women’s net worth totals over $4 Billion. Funny, considering the caliber of black women on that list this comes as no surprise to us at all.
Check out those who made the list in no particular order.
Rapper Nicki Minaj is worth an estimated $45 million.
Singer Rihanna is worth an estimated $120 million.
I will like to see this as a rejoinder to the Akon and Wizkid story that brought to fore the issue about black people preferring lighter skinned to darker skinned. A couple of years ago I wrote a piece for publishing in the national newspaper, Daily Graphic and this piece was lauded by many. Now, for many people who live with this nightmarish attitude. Here is exactly how you can deal with it.
Dealing with Colourism in Africa: Shades of Prejudice
My twelve year old cousin asked me the other day “What is colourism?” I must say I was taken aback by the question. What a big word for a little girl. Might have been a word she came across while surfing on the net. I thought. But my! She got me thinking, what at all is Colourism? So I did a little research on my own and found an awful lot about the word. Now, I did know the word had something to do with colour but I still needed a little education on the topic. That was when it occurred to me that I needed to have a discussion with some of my colleagues about this topic.
A week later, a group of us women (sistas) were discussing it. . The session was in fact highly profound and without doubt the most edifying and interesting discussion I have ever had in a long time. Usually, sistas like us would prefer to talk about men, sex, marriage and the latest fashion trends but this time round we chose to stay off such issues. Some thought the topic was rather controversial and were bewildered that such a topic would have been brought up. Some members of the gathering were knocked out of their positions of comfort and were compelled to come to terms with this issue; at least those who were courageous enough to stay within the circle to discuss it. Seeing that most were either not well acquainted or unacquainted with the terms and issues surrounding colourism, we attempted to briefly explain it as I will do now. The term colourism is a recent term that has entered into our vocabulary which has arisen in an attempt to address the deeper complexity of race discrimination which is a critical and largely unaddressed aspect of racism in society. Wikipedia defines colourism as according differing treatment based on skin colour. The term colourism refers to when lighter skin tones are preferred and darker skin is considered less desirable or darker skin tone are preferred and lighter skin tone is considered less desirable. Of course, in our part of the world (Africa) many favour and continue to favour lighter skin in women and even in men. Some say it is colour discrimination.
Colourism is an off-shoot of racism and is intricately linked to it. It is a form of discrimination which occurs worldwide and based on the colour of one’s skin and how close or far away it is from the perceived white ideal. It occurs in the Indian community, Hispanic community, African community and yes, even the white community. However, because the blond hair, blue-eyed, thin, tall female/male is the accepted aesthetic ideal and the black, fat, short woman/man is considered unattractive and ugly, it is those within the African community that bear the brunt of it. This is especially so for the darkest, most kinky-haired, flat-nose, thick-lipped, fattest, shortest African women who suffers on all levels in this system.
Some feel that when we talk about colourism that we are diminishing the potency of the word racism. I would disagree whole-heartedly because this word forces us to deal with the complexity of racism. Now, do not get me wrong, colourism is in no way devoid of racism as some would like to believe but it helps in breaking down the deepest layers of the beast which would normally be overlooked by just labeling it all as “racism”. Some believe that colourism is simply a form of Black on Black racism where Blacks discriminate against others based on their skin tone. This is not totally the truth because other races deal with Blacks based on their skin tone as well and do favour lighter-skinned individuals within the Black group.
Colourism affects every aspect of society and at all levels: the home, the school, relationships between that of mother/father, brother/sister, friends, husband/wife, boss/employee and the work place which was a factor developed by PhD student at the University of Georgia, Mr. Michael Harrison, in his study on how colourism affects the workplace. To quote him,
“You have two Black individuals going into a job where all of their qualifications and everything were equivalent to one another and the lighter skinned Black would get the job over their darker skinned counterparts.”
Yes, that is how shallow we have become. Many a times you walk into certain working environments especially corporate institutions in Ghana and realize that 7 out of 10 of its employees are light-skinned. As if the dark-skinned employees cannot do a better job in their place. They even go to the extent of saying that we need people who can sell our companies well, an attractive person. Oh puhleeaase, and the light –skinned is? See, the main reason why I set out to write this piece is the fact that many Africans try to play favouritism in the work places and consciously or unconsciously favour light-skinned women over dark-skinned women. I can imagine how many people are nodding their heads and saying this is so true right at this point. And, I bet most of you can relate. Of course, we all know by now I am not just writing because I want to put something on paper but stating the bare fact right there. I know because I am living proof. See, some even go to the extent of rubbing it in right in your face that they prefer the lighter skinned to you, the darker skinned. Recently, I was called in for an interview with one very reputable institution. I am not going to name any names. I quite remember I was the first to get in and was later joined in by another lady. Very pretty and dark looking one. And then in walks “Miss America”, light-skinned, good posture, confident (overly) and the right things in place, that is not to say I was not confident and well-prepared for the job interview. As a matter of fact, I was. After the interview session (which I must say went well for me) the other lady (the dark one) called me aside and said “honey, you are not going to get the job”. I asked her why and she just shook her head and said “did you notice “Miss. America” I can vouch on my mother’s life she will get the job”. Of course, I thought she was just jealous of the overly confident fair skin lady so I let that pass and hoped that the company will call me. A few months later, the dark skinned pretty lady calls me back and says she actually saw Miss America working for that company. I was shocked to the bone. I met up with one of the panel members of the company and he confirmed that they needed a light-skinned person to work for them. Talk about shallowness. This is the level some people in society have reduced themselves to.
Even the so-called African revolutionaries within Black organizations treat Blacks based on their colour. People have a tendency of selecting their leaders and members of the upper hierarchy of these organizations based on how close they are to whiteness. Not taking contributions away from these individuals. But, I do not want to delve into the politics of this issue yet, may be some other day.
See ,sometimes the lighter-skinned individuals tend to personalize the discussions and act as victims of separatism while their darker skinned friends try their best to “tone-down” these discussions to protect the egos of their light-skinned friends. They have accepted the notions of their inferiority and seem afraid to challenge the status quo with the hope that they too would one day ascend the rungs of socio-economic privilege or rather descend into the pit of lies and deception where most are happy to dwell. The funny thing about this is that they deny the truth and their own experiences so as to appease their fellow light-Black friends. Ask them, “When you and your girls/ boys were discussing good looking Black males and females in the entertainment industry, who’d be your pick?”.?” I am certain without any doubt, (because I too engage in these discussions) Nadia Buari, Majid Michel, Juliet Ibrahim, Van Vicker, Nana Boroo, Nikki Samonas and internationally Michael Ealy, Boris Kodjoe, Halle Berry, Vanessa Williams, Jada Pinkett, Shante Moore, Beyonce, Mariah Carey, Rhianna, Tyra Banks, Janet Jackson and the list goes on. But the question was asked about Black entertainers and so far no dark-skinned Blacks were mentioned. Then they might say, “Whitney Houston and Genevieve Nnaji with their polished features, Erykah Badu because of her light eyes and maybe Lauryn Hill, Jackie Appiah because of her huge eyes . They, would even, without proper consideration, boast of their support of media such as BET, MTV, Synergy TV, Tempo, Essence magazine etc. which promote light-skinned people and not dark-skinned Blacks as symbols of beauty, power and leadership. Seriously, I am very sure one will find plenty of fine black men in Africa and around the world. Shout out to John Dumelo, Morris Chestnut, Idris Elba, Djimou Hounsou, Lance Gross, and Taye Diggs!!! These chocolate looking brothers really define fine-ness .
Some even state boldly that they prefer a lighter skinned or white or non African male or female because they don’t want their children to have nappy hair or dark skin or that they could possibly have blue or green or even hazel brown eyes or other fantastical expectations. My friend candidly told me that she likes men fair or white because she is dark skinned and does not want her children any darker. Some, particularly the females, are not afraid to hide their self-loathe and straighten their hair, add hair extensions, dye their hair (especially blonde) which is the ‘in thing’ now, grow fashion dreads for the long hair look, bleach their skins, wear coloured contact lenses, utilize make up tricks to appear lighter or whiter.
I believe that the time has come to deal with the issue of colourism. If not, in years to come it would escalate into a huge problem. I also believe that those who are most affected must step up and demand that these issues are discussed. Try to be open about it. Others should respect our rights and allow us space to work out these issues. I also believe that if we are able to address it in our homes, schools and places where it matters, if we are able to pass the culture of treating everyone equally to our children, removing that culture of separatism where light –skin see themselves superior to the dark-skinned, If we able to break that separatist chain of cycle then Africa and for that matter the world will be a better place.
The time for a world-wide change is now and it begins with the change in Africa. Without first addressing colourism it is impossible to fight racism and without tackling racism then we are nothing but conformists and supporters of the system.
By: Edna Lola Owusu-Ansah
Haute, haute, haute!!!How many times was that? The Nollywood veteran actress and newly published author was spotted in black. She is over 40 and she still gives the younger actresses a run for their money. We have fallen in love with her ensemble but we are not sure about her flops?