Malcolm X told no lies when he said that the most disrespected person in America was the black woman. When it comes to dating, no one gets less love than black women because everyone is checking for the girl who looks black, but no one wants the girl who is actually black. Wednesday night’s episode of Freeform’s Grown-ish highlighted the plight of black women through twins Jazz and Sky (Chloe x Halle).
Remember The Hunger Games? From what I’ve heard, dating for black women is like a real-life re-enactment, and unfortunately, the odds don’t seem to be in their favor.
As Grown-ish’s episode opens, everyone is living their best lives and love is in the air, and later you see that that same love is not extended to the black female characters. As one character asked, “Was there some event, some movie, some Drake song that said black guys should stop dating black girls?” But the problem isn’t rolling through the 6ix; the problem is that somehow an algorithm was developed for dating, and black women seem to have been placed squarely at the bottom of it.
White? CHECK. Exotic? CHECK. Racially ambiguous? CHECK. Honey-toned? I mean sure, why not. Black? Swipe LEFT.
This hierarchy exalts the features of black women but disregards them as actual people. Whereas the Kardashians and Jenners are praised for their high-priced plastic used to emulate Nubian features, they give people the opportunity to “date black” without actually dating black. The men don’t have to put in the work, and we know that men can be lazy and do not like to put in work when it comes to relationships.
Within that, black women are historically judged based on extreme stereotypes rather than being assessed as individuals. Let’s face it—when a black woman points something out, it is blown out of proportion and they are labeled as overreacting. When a less-melanated person does it, it’s praised and accepted with open arms and kumbayas.
In Wednesday night’s episode, Jazz sends back a drink and she is labeled as difficult, and when her beige counterpart does it, it’s merely a request. To insecure men, a simple rebuttal can have black women labeled with buzzwords such as defiant. (Sidenote: Please employ the speed of a cheetah if ever you find yourself around this type of man.)
And if by chance a black woman is actually desired, one has to deal with other inherent biases. Colorism with dating always seems to find a way to rear its ugly head.
Men swear that they love black women, but that love comes with filters that are synonymous with the ones on Instagram. Their love for black women wouldn’t pass a paper-bag test and would likely be sipping tea and consuming crumpets and flipping its pretty hair with accompanying pearls.
When Aaron reassures Jazz and Sky of his love for “queens,” Luca quickly reminds him that he loves black women if they’re “Egyptian and not Nubian.” The media, our coveted celebrities and other various outlets have ingrained a love for lighter skin tones, and it’s disheartening that some men have adopted this into their daily lives. And this is why movies like Black Panther are so important to show us that there is beauty beyond the Valencia filter.
If there is any upside to this, Jazz and Sky demonstrate a confidence in themselves that shows they do not need a man to validate their self-worth. This portrayal is evident also in the music that is produced by Chloe x Halle in real life.
The sisters told The Root that they draw on their life experiences to develop music that teaches their listeners that you should love yourself in order to receive love from others. They also reiterated that you should always take away a lesson from every situation you experience in any type of relationship, and know that you are enough.
In their upcoming album, The Kids Are Alright, the sisters speak a message of knowing your value and never letting anyone tell you that you’re not worthy of what you deserve. In one of their tracks, titled “Hi Lo,” the sisters want to give you some chicken soup for your dating soul, telling you to do everything with confidence and reminding you that you don’t need another person’s validation to make you feel beautiful.
Wednesday night’s episode of Grown-ish served as a reminder that black women are highly coveted, but some people lack the necessary mental capacity to deal with the prize that they are.