Minnesota fashion designer and student, Isaac West, never expected that this photos series collaboration with photographer Haythem Lafhaj would have come with such backlash. The series called “One” showcased black women with different skin tones.
He posted the 9 photos in late March on Instagram, and shortly thereafter began to receive negative comments on two of the photos.The two photos that received the most backlash were the photos wherein the light skin model is in the front or in the center.
Folks didn’t take too kindly to these photos and here’s why:
One person even asserted:
It should be noted that out of 9 of the photos that were shared, the light skin model was only front or centered in two of them. The entire premise of the photo series was to show unity in our blackness, regardless of skin tone, said West.
As black people, we have something very unique about us — our skin tone. It comes in all different shades, and some people sometimes use that against us. It doesn’t matter if she’s dark, she’s brown, she’s light brown, or she has fair skin. We all are black and we all are one.”
In an interview with Allure magazine, West stated he didn’t put her in the middle because she was better but because he wanted her to stand out:
I put her in the middle because I wanted her to stand out, and the reason I wanted her to stand out is because her color was so different.”
Colourism is real (Read here if you don’t believe me) and it is divisive, but how do we get beyond it? We’ve been fed the lie that light skin is better skin and as a result have often shunned members of our community.
What’s your take on the reactions to these photos? Sound off below!