Ashma John

For as long as I can remember, I have stayed away from dark-coloured clothing. Unless it was a single article like a black pair of jeans paired with a brightly-coloured top or because I was attending funeral, I wouldn’t be caught in anything black.

Growing up I was always told I should wear bright or light colours to ‘show up’/highlight my colour/complexion. My sapodilla brown skin tone was always made to seem as something I should preserve and not darken further.

Interestingly, the argument that light colours keep you cooler was never really used as a point in the whole push to not wear black. I later matured to learn it was an internalized colourism complex that was being channelled into my upbringing. I was made to believe that being dark was a highly subjective beauty construct. My two-toned skin was a partial setback and the dark spots from acne scarring also chipped away at my supposed beauty points. In other words, darkness, or hints of it, was not beautiful…..