Digging Self HatredBy Iquo B. Essien, The AFRican Blogger

Digging Self Hatred
By Iquo B. Essien, The AFRican Blogger

Published on Sun, Nov 25 2007 by Iquo Essien
I had so much fun at Sputnik last night. You really should take my advice when I recommend something cause I have good taste. ;) LOL.

This guy came up to me and was tryna holla, started asking me all these questions about myself. I knew he was Nigerian, by the way, because my girl had already come over to tell me like I was gonna get all excited. This guy really wasn't my type, so I didn't say that I was Nigerian so he wouldn't have a reason to keep talking to me. Anyways, he finally asked me what I did and I said that I was at NYU Film on the producing track, so he asked if I had all the money in the world what would I do, and I said make a Nigerian film on a budget. So then he asked me why, and I said because I'm Naija, then he asked my last name and I replied Essien, and he asked Cross River or Akwa Ibom, and I said Akwa Ibom. Then he said the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard in my life:

"I'm very surprised to hear that. You're very beautiful. I would not have thought you were Nigerian."

This is word for word, people! And I'm thinking, Whaaaaaaaaaaaaatttttttt did he just say?! So I said, "I can't believe you just said that. I think that there are a lot of beautiful Nigerians. I don't know what you're talking about." Then he started backtracking with some, "Well, I've been standing here watching you dance all night and I thought maybe you were AFRican-American or Caribbean, but not Nigerian."

You know what, I get that I'm light-skinned, so I can basically pass for whatever even though I'm 100% Naija. I don't feel compelled to justify my skin color, explaining to people that my granny is a type of albino. My mom used to die her golden hair black in secondary school because her mates would pick on her. She even shaved it all off once and wore a wig. I, on the other hand, sort of dig that I can pass for anything. (Although, when I go home I sometimes wish I were darker so I wouldn't stick out as much.) But setting that aside. What I can't get my mind around, in this man's comment, is the underlining self-hatred that says a Nigerian cannot be "that" beautiful.

My friend Esosa, who's a model, always says folks don't believe that she's Naija. Which I really can't understand because she's got mad melanin game.

I don't know if the problem is that Ethiopia has done such good PR with models and such that no other country thinks its people are beautiful. I even have white dudes come up to me tryna strike up a conversation asking if I'm Ethiopian. SERIOUSLY!! And I don't even look Ethiopian. (I might give you Egyptian, though...been staring at Nefertiti's profile for a week wondering if we might be distantly related. LOL.)

Or is it because Ethiopia was never colonized? I've never been there, so I don't know if people don't feel an outside force imposing a foreign standard of beauty on them. So they can just feel free to define themselves as the standard. I can certainly vouch that, in NG, skin lightening creams run rampant and there's something really wrong with it.

But really. We need to love ourselves and believe in our own beauty, intelligence, and self worth.

This man actually thought that after this comment I was gonna give him my number?! Please. I don't wanna be around somebody who doesn't think that his people are the most beautiful in the world.


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