Internet trolls gonna troll, but sometimes, they troll the wrong person. Such was the case for beauty and lifestyle vlogger Jennifer Olaleye, who posted a screenshot of remarks made by two commenters casually bashing dark-skinned women on one of Olaleye’s Instagram posts.
“I don’t know where dark skinned girls are getting this confidence from,” wrote one commenter, tagging a friend who joined in on the slander. “I think the confidence is fake tbh,” the person responded. Interesting how the confidence of a woman who has no effect on their lives sparked such a hateful comment, but such is the nature of trolling.
Olaleye was quick to clap back. “My confidence is very much real!! And does not come from my beautiful gorgeous melanin infused skin, but from knowing that I’m simply a child of God,” she responded. Other commenters noticed the exchange and chimed in, denouncing the unkind words.
“To be honest if you spent less time on Instagram focusing on other people and focused on yourself you’d find exactly where we got this confidence from,” one person wrote. “There’s gotta be something wrong with you when someone else confidence evokes negativity out of you,” another wrote.
Olaleye took things a step further by taking a screenshot of the comments and imploring her followers to report the offenders. “The world we live in… guys please help me report their pages,” she wrote.
The accounts of the two commenters have since been deleted, but their words are just another example of how colorism affects darker-skinned people of all races. Earlier this year, Texas photographer Pax Jones launched the “Unfair and Lovely” campaign (a play on Fair & Lovely, a popular skin-lightening cream) to show the beauty of dark skinned people in a world that places higher value on fairer complexions. As Jones told Self magazine, the project is “especially for the dark-skinned individuals who are further other-ed for reasons in addition to their complexion.”
Snoop Dogg’s daughter, Cori Broadus, recently made headlines for an Instagram post that discussed her struggle to love her dark complexion over the years. “I can finally say I’m comfortable in my own skin, grew up despising the skin tone I was in because it’s been bashed on for so long & society has been putting in our heads that dark is ugly,” she wrote. “For all you beautiful chocolate girls/ women out there you’re BEAUTIFUL & don’t let anyone tell you different.”
Gabrielle Union also recently revealed to Harper’s Bazaar her past insecurities with her skin tone. “When I was your age, I didn’t love my skin color, I didn’t love my lips. I didn’t love my nose, I didn’t love my hair. I didn’t love anything. I didn’t love my body. Because no one was choosing me — my self-esteem was determined by somebody choosing me,” she said. “I used to curl my lips,” she added, pressing her lips together to demonstrate. “And I see pictures and I look insane, but it was me trying to minimize my blackness.” Union laughs at the absurdity of it in retrospect. “It all boiled down to: I need some fool to choose me and then I can be OK with being brown.”
There is plenty of discrimination in this world against dark-skinned people, who are tasked with building themselves up in the face of this kind of prejudice. When you live in a world where you have to embrace the way you look while society tells you your features are undesirable, you have no choice but to have confidence. Seems even that is an offense to those who don’t think people with dark complexions should value themselves.