Lionel Ritche’s Daughter Says, “People Don’t know I’m Black”

Sofia Richie, Lionel Ritchie’s daughter, says she’s had to endure people saying racist remarks in front of her because they don’t realize she’s black.


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During an interview for Complex, Richie had this to say:

I’m very light, so some people don’t really know that I’m black…I’ve been in situations where people will say something kind of racist, and I’ll step in and they’ll be like, ‘Oh, well, you’re light.”


Having the “you’re light” card thrown at her makes her pretty upset, she says

That still doesn’t cut it…It’s 2016 — you better get your s— together before you get slapped out here.”


I think it’s awesome that Sofia doesn’t try to “pass” or deny her “Black” DNA.


My question for you all, though, is what makes someone Black? For me, it’s a combination of both physical features and one’s experience in the world. I tread lightly when it comes to having an opinion about how someone chooses to identify herself. However, when someone doesn’t possess overtly black features (which plays a large role in the Black experience in America), and they still identify as Black,  I’ve always wanted to ask the question: What is Blackness to you?

I’m not here to police anyone’s blackness, but opinions vary so much on the topic my head often spins. I’ve found that race, in America, doesn’t have much to do with DNA, but more about the perceptions and opinions people form about you based solely on your appearance. So where does that leave folks like Sofia?

Share your thoughts below!

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  1. I think that blackness is blackness and it’s a tough row to hoe. However I liken it to being in the Army where the vast majority of us don’t fight on the “front line”, the rest of the army’s sole mission is to support the the people who fight. So we should Taylor ourselves in like fashion, so no divisions between us on who is blacker and who has suffered more…we all suffer in various ways. This is a time for unity in speech and effort because our enemies are many and they are confederate against us. So let’s not divided ourselves, let’s be watchful but willing to work toward a common goal to all who are willing to work with and toward our stated goal.

  2. We come in all colors. For the most part, I can tell your black (mixed) in my mind. If you are proud of your heritage, I can deal.

  3. Well “Lionel Richie’s daughter”. People don’t know and wouldn’t really care if I said I was white. Well my great grandmother’s great grandfather is (so I was told)…

  4. What makes you black is DNA. What makes people not know you are is probably your $$$ lifestyle and that bleached blonde hair. I see a beautiful black woman. People need to get over this crap. Being black is not a experience being black means one of your parents has African ancestry period

  5. In America, there were black people who look like Sophia from the beginning of the Diaspora and never hid the fact that they were black. Her father is a black man and its beautiful for someone like her to embrace who she is considering her social status. She is a beautiful woman and a lot of women that look like her who try to pass for something else that they are not and it is embarrassing. The American media treats black women horrible and perpetuates some of the awful stereotypes that exist today. Black women are treated so poorly and misrepresented. America is more willing to accept women of other groups cultural appropriating than a black woman. I have seen with my own eyes how certain blacks will avoid black people at all cost to try to assimilate or they only say they are black when the race they tried to pass for rejects them.
    As a woman living in California. I also hear the most passive racist comments that are said about black women that are just ignorant. The only time they are attractive is if they look like Sophia etc. I have also seen blacks that are not mixed look like Sophia. A lot of the bias is fueled by blacks who love to disrespect their culture and have an obsession with other cultures. Glad to see a black woman embrace who she is. .

  6. That statement I have seen blacks that are not mixed look like Sophia is rediculous when so many black Americans, especially consistently deny their white heritage, for a myriad of reasons they deem valid, still yet when a blonde heared, hazel eyes black person is suppressed by this race in denial of truth grom saying or being proud of where they get such European features, yet some net black eith kinky coarse hair can convince openly they are mixed with Indian or whatever white group and noone bats and eye, though we all know that once you are brown with African features and hair that can barely grow, you shouldnt claim mixec anymore, you look to intelligent people stupid. I am yired ogbthis wotld appeasing the oppressive ways of black American yowards tbe peopl they call “yella” and am tired of the lies. I have no respect for this insecure, unhappy with themselves group who want to confuse the human race with obbiouse flatulence. No one is amused. If you want the truth, do a cheek swab and send it to the lab.

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