My Black Is

My Black Is is a sound project created by Ayana Powell, a recent graduate of Pomona College who majored in sociology. For her senior thesis, Ayana interviewed black students at the Claremont Colleges about their identities and lives. Her goal was to challenge media representations of black people and blackness, by allowing black people to define themselves and their race. Doing so also challenges the idea that there is one black identity or experience.

 

ayanna powell headshotAyana Powell is a recent college graduate on the quest to find a job. She is especially fond of all things colorful and YouTube web series. Find her on Linkedin.

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To the Little Girl Who Wished for Blonde Hair and Blue Eyes

A Guest Post by Kimberley Africa

This is for all those who once wished, or still wish, to be someone they are not.

Huwag ka magpapa-araw. Iitim ka. “Don’t go into the sun; you’ll get dark.” For years, I heard this phrase again and again, urging me to protect my skin. It was white, like the inside of a coconut, they told me.

By the time I was five, I knew exactly why. I held my daddy’s hand as we waited in line for a ride at an amusement park. Two men standing next us turned to the couple on our other side and commented that their little girl was beautiful. It was then that I realized that I, too, had to have light skin—in addition to blonde hair and blue eyes—so that strangers wouldn’t skip us in the line, and would tell my dad that I also was beautiful. I didn’t know how I was going to get the blonde hair and blue eyes, but I knew that I was definitely not going to go into the sun. I could at least have one of the three attributes.

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