Dear Complexion Police, Take It Easy

Ebony's Michael Arceneaux writes that looking at every black celebrity under a microscope isn't good for the people.

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India Arie performs at the Lupus Foundation Gala in October 2012 (Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

Last week, some in black social circles saw a photo of singer India.Arie and thought she'd lightened her skin. The singer responded saying she hadn't. Ebony's Michael Arceneaux writes that black folks shouldn't be so quick to call others self-hating.

I get that this is all in reaction to the big White boot footprint around the world (but that kind of mass confusion is another discussion for later), and I try to pray for the wearied, self-loathing colored.

HOWEVER OVERANALYZING EVERY DAMN PICTURE YOU SEE ON A BLOG OR IN A MAGAZINE WON'T HELP ANY OF THOSE PEOPLE OR YOUR CAUSE.

For one, a lighter hue in a photograph shouldn't automatically be attributed to skin bleaching. Maybe it's bad foundation. We've all watched enough VH1 and Bravo at this point to know this. Of course there's also the ever-present issue of lighting—not to be confused with lightening. I can look like 14 different shades of Black man depending on whose bulbs I'm standing under. And then there's natural beauty's arch nemesis, Adobe Photoshop, who will give someone a new nose, stomach, and calf muscle with the slightest click. Hell, the right graphic designer can transform KRS-One into Nicki Minaj. Magazine creative directors "smooth and brighten" skin all the time. Now when this is the case, there is blame to go around, but typically not with the artist directly. If you're going to aim your gun at a target, why not do so in the right direction?

Read Michael Arceneaux's entire piece at Ebony.

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