Was This Picture of Lance Gross & Friends Just For Fun? Or a Clear As Day Image of Colorism?

When I first saw this picture posted HERE via Black Girl With Long Hair, I sort of brushed it off.

The above is photo of Actor Lance Gross and wife Rebecca Jefferson, taken during their annual couples vacation in Big Bear, New York.

While I am a dark skinned black woman who speaks loudly and frequently about colorism (see my most recent post on the topic HERE), even can get a little exhausted by the ways in which colorism divides and conquers every. single. day.

So I didn’t want give into it. I wanted to believe it was innocent fun, and on some level it was. I’m sure it was. However, this photo has sparked a debate about colorism, with many people seeing this picture as perpetuating the “lonely, single dark skin woman” stereotype. Furthermore, all of these dark skin black men are all booed up with women who could easily pass for a race other than black. So I gave the picture a second look, and allowed myself to see what everyone else saw right away.  To add insult to injury, the woman sparking much of the debate offered this defense of the picture:


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Listen, I get. These are her friends and she doesn’t want to see why this photo is problematic, but it is. Even if we don’t want it to be. Even if we want to just kick back and have light-hearted jokes with our friends, we know by now we don’t always have that luxury. Even if we are in the comfort of our homes with our friends, we should all know by now that we can’t be deaf and dumb when it comes to what we put out and into the world. Any way you slice it, this picture isn’t a good look.

So sister-girl, if you don’t see that you are the butt of a long-standing joke, that’s on you. But you can’t be mad at us for seeing what you don’t want to see. And it sucks, i get it, it casts a shadow on what you felt was a good time had by all; however, wishing this picture isn’t what it is, doesn’t make it go away. We aren’t mad at any one person in the picture, we’re just mad at what it represents.  #staywoke

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  1. From where I sit: I see a picture of a group of people all coupled up with the one exception. (The obvious) What’s wrong with this? Absolutely nothing, in so long as everyone in the photo is cool with it.
    Now, I also can see a single woman but is her man taking the pic. I don’t immediately see another lonely black woman. Sometimes ppl read way too much.
    If these friends are kind to everyone in the group what’s the harm? Who wants to be alone during the holiday season?
    If you’re not feeling STW don’t worry about the nay sayers for they will forever be around.

  2. For many colorism is difficult to acknowledge because to acknowledge it forces one to think about deep rooted intergenerational issues that would require self reflection and introspection….which might in turn cause one to face uncomfortable truths about how they formed preferences, as well as their own self rejection. Unfortunately, some prefer to stay on the surface level because to go deeper would require mental and emotional work.

    1. Yes!!!! I am a lite skin woman and this picture made me roll my eyes. Y’all all just happen to date women with the same skin pigment, who also look like sisters, could pass for biracial, and easily be cast as the lead video vixen in a rap video because she’s a “red bone”? Bye Felicia. The young lady played herself in the photo to me, and her followed up wxplaination also felt like a thirsty attempt to save her black male friends from scrutiny by their obvious attraction to and choice to marry lighter women. Joking about being single is fun, but you do this constantly? Sounds like single, lonely black woman to me. This picture should evoke thought. With half of the black men in Hollywood marrying non black woken and 1/4 only dating fair skin women, we NEED to have this convo.

  3. Why do some folks feel the need to play victim by finding non essential issues to make issues out of. Look up meaning of words like variety, preference and choose. And that what we are and our rights as people who think, feel and see. Please grow one.

  4. I do see your point, however, at first I did not. I have seen pictures similar to this by a white female from the UK. She takes photos every Christmas to show she’s not married and has no children. Her photos are set up like this one is. So, I didn’t see colorism. Just what I took and still somewhat do, as a joke.

  5. Totally completely agree with your assessment here. Poor thing she is just happy to be included with the “beautiful” people and now we have ruined it for her smh like they’ have been using her as the butt of their jokes for a long time too smh this is sad…

  6. She shouldn’t have participated in this. She has no self-respect and no regard for other black women – especially dark-skinned women – to be doing something like this. SHAME on her. Shame on those brothers for trying to play this off as normal. It’s not. It’s not a good look that every black male you hang around is with a light skin, ambiguous looking woman. That’s not something to be proud of. That’s not normal. That’s not just a coincidence. It is a sign of self-hate and an embarrassment. Imagine black children seeing this image or just being in these men’s presence, seeing their “preference.” It’s pretty disgusting.

  7. “Everyone needs to remember why we celebrate this holiday..”

    The real reason ‘why’ is the same reason for the colorism that plagues the Black race and the world. WHITE PEOPLE ENCROACHED ON OUR INALIENABLE RIGHT TO BE! I’m done.

  8. is it just me??? I only see one dark skinned person in this photo… the men are just as light as the women. Let the people love who they want. All of the colors are beautiful!

    1. yeah, sis it’s you. The men are absolutely not the same color as the women featured. If you don’t see the big deal, that’s fine, but don’t try to make us out to be crazy. We know what we see

  9. That was her choice to pose for that pic, and she doesn’t mind being a joke. The snarky response proves it.

    There’s no way in hell I would have been in that photo, with that pose – all off to the side, looking like a “9th wheel”, and like she’d rather be under a rock. I would have at least huddled in with the rest, or stood over them and tried to form a group hug situation. She looks awkward and embarrassed. The rest of us didn’t get the “joke”, and why would we?

    But yeah, they all knew how it would come across, and many Black men are happiest when we’re the object of a joke…and we’re often willing participants. We also know that a lot of Black men love light-skinned sistas. So what don’t we know?

    Again, if she likes it, I love it.

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