Ray: Lisa, you said you struggled to love the skin God placed you in. How common is that struggle among African Americans, even today?
Lisa: I think it is very common when we are younger. People of other cultures may go through various things in their teen and young-adult years, but that is one of our particular struggles, among African American women especially.
In the popular culture, you are bombarded with, “Blondes have more fun.” I won’t ever make a great-looking blonde, Ray.
Small and thin is in. I know that at my best shape I won’t be small, because that is not who I am. I may be shapely, but it won’t be in a size-2 frame. That is not how I am made up.
We begin to believe dark skin isn’t beautiful. We begin to believe full lips aren’t beautiful — at least not until recently, when people actually began paying to get their lips made full.
But back when I was 16, it was not cute at all. Nothing that looked like me was represented as beautiful.
I work with teens, so I know black youth still goes through that. Then, as women and as men, we begin to mature. We begin to fight out of that thought and break out of that box.
But I definitely believe it is a passageway all we African Americans come through.