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Light Skin Privilege...

I settled in nicely to read a rather interesting post on Bella Naija several weeks ago. I don't remember the title of the post but it was basically written by a light skinned girl telling the world that no, she doesn't get certain privileges simply because she's light skinned, she doesn't get preferential treatment, she doesn't get more notice or attention from guys, and in fact, her life is even harder because of her skin complexion. The comments under that post made me want to hold her and hug her tight, because if you see the insults that followed ehn, you would pity for the girl!

People basically told her to kindly shut up and stop deceiving herself. Other light skinned (and mixed race) girls told her to stop lying, they do get preferential treatment and yes, they get more easily noticed than their dark skinned counterparts. Some even shared experiences where they'd gotten certain advantages all because of their fair skin colour. Not one light skinned reader agreed with the poster that "we are all the same"...

I would never forget that day, during the early days of the bleaching frenzy, when my friend called me to say she needed a good bleaching cream. I asked her whatever for and she said "Babe, this awa colour no dey sell for market again o! I gats buy bleaching cream!". I was confounded and utterly disappointed at her thinking. But then coincidentally I happened to be on a date with this guy who had been on my case for a while. So I asked him "Taiwo*, do you think light skinned girls are more attractive? As in, would you pick one over a dark girl?" 

He umm'd and ahh'd and mumbled incoherently but eventually admitted that yes o, yellow girls have got it going on. And yes, they would most often get more attention from guys. And yes, he would errr, choose a light skinned girl over a dark one... He said, while on a date with me; li'l Miss Ebony. But I couldn't blame him na, after all it was I who asked.

But I know this isn't news to you. You hear stories about aristos specifically asking their pimps/contact for yellow babes, and in the unfortunate event that they can't find any at that time and are eventually presented with a dark skinned babe, you know that she will be paid much less than what yellow-yellow would have received. (I site this because I kinda think it's the reason quite a number of females decided to bleach) 

Or for those of us who used to visit Zenith bank in Maitama, Abuja... Didn't it make you imagine the interview panel and how if you're not of the creamier complexions you might as well turn back at the gate? Or perhaps applicants were asked to attached their RECENT photos to their résumés and let the shortlisting begin! LOL. 

But this post isn't even about the existence or otherwise, of "Yellow Privilege" or colourism. I'd like to think that we all AGREE that light skinned privilege is real, especially in this country of ours. 

Now here's proof. Yesterday I was jejely going to take a cab from Chevron roundabout to VGC when an LR4 pulled up beside me. The passenger seat glass came down and revealed a toothy smile in a pleasant face. "A pretty lady like you shouldn't be under the sun, let me give you a ride", he said.   

I explained that I was going to VGC and he said he was too and asked me to hop in, which I gladly did. Now somewhere between Chevron roundabout and VGC, perhaps in the middle, at Ikota estate precisely for those familiar with the area, this man slowed down and said he had gotten to his destination. 

"But, errr, I said I was going to VGC" I said, confused. 

"I know, but I'm not reaching there" he said. 

I cursed underneath my breath, wishing this man had just let me take a cab in peace. 

I looked ahead of me and I still had several yards to VGC and it was unlikely that I would find a cab now. I noticed he was waiting for me to alight but I was reluctant, the thought of walking the rest of the way was very daunting. 

"But you said you were going that way" I whined. I actually whined, I couldn't help it. 

"Ehn, maybe I said so, but I'm not. Or what do you want? That I should drive you there and come back here?" 

I looked around, the roads were very free and that would have taken less than ten minutes of his time. I think it's what I'd have done if I stopped to offer someone a ride...

"If possible, yes" I said politely, almost pleadingly even. I really didn't want to have to walk!

"Haaaa. Are you fair?" He asked and that got a confused stare from me. 


"Are you fair?" He asked again. "You're not fair nau. If only you were fair now I would have gone to drop you anywhere you want, but you're not nau!" He said and burst into the most stupid laughter I've had the misfortune of hearing.

And that was how I opened the door and stepped out with all the calm I could muster. The eejit was actually calling after me asking for my number when I shut the door and kept walking. 

I've been trying to wrap my head around it, around the fact that this mongoloid actually told me to my face that the reason he wouldn't go the little extra mile to drop me was because I'm dark skinned. 

Now let me hear you tell me that there's nothing like light skinned privilege again. 


So you tell me what you think. Is "light skinned privilege" a myth, or something you know to actually exist in our society? 

Ps; just like I knew I would, I ditched the skin lightening products I bought soon after I bought them. I have nothing against lightening but I just couldn't care enough to go through that whole routine everyday. Gluthathione pills, anyone? Haha just kidding! I think...


  1. I never got the zenith, maitama job because I wasn't marketable light skinned enough.
    F u Adora

  2. lol @ are you fair?
    lol @ burst into the most stupid laughter
    lol @ mongoloid (Had to go google that)

    The guy is really retarded.

    Personally, I prefer my dark skinned women. Nothing against light skinned women but the light skin only gets my D hard while beautiful dark skin women make my heart soft. My preference.


  3. Na wa o. LOL. Yeye somebody.

    The light skin privileges does exist.

  4. Na wa o. LOL. Yeye somebody.

    The light skin privileges does exist.

  5. When I was little I always envied my sister's skin. Lux soap begged for my mercy until I was about 12 years when I finally gave up and accepted I would always be darker. Black is beautiful, no doubt, but the constant reminder just goes to show people are bothered about the color (inferiority complex), or else why the *announcement*? We don't hear "white/light is beautiful", and we know why.

  6. On the contrary, I hav spoken with guys who prefer dark skin women... reason being that they are easier to look after i.e less money for cream and other skincare products. Well I saw it as a dumb reason but dats their preference.
    This post will certainly make some dark skinned girls feel bad. IMO

  7. Thelma, you are brave. You are not afraid of ritualists, kidnappers and the rest. You still accepts rides. Of course light skin gets you really far. There's black on black racism.


    1. Mallama it's not my fault, this Lagos sun can humble somebody I tell you.

  8. The man is a clown and a yeye "sombori”.im fair skinned,but I don't think I have received any special privileges cos of it. At least to my knowledge. So let all favour givers cos of fair skin begin to locate me mbok.

  9. Thelma- Thelma you entered a strangers car in Lagos?please stop

    As for the light skin privilege- it really does exist, it is simply a question of whether or not you are willing to exploit it. It even gets worse because there are 4 categories of light skinned in Nigeria - full on foreigners, mixed race people, naturally light skin Nigerians and bleachers"r"us. The 1st 2 categories have almost 100% impunity no matter how unattractive they are....

    Contrary to belief - light skin is not difficult to maintain. I am in my 30s and I use Ori daily - nothing has dont have to "maintain" a skin tone - genetics does that for you.

    You get more suitors because your "looks" are not as common as say the dark skinned people - we are a dark skinned society- it is relatively easy to stand out, maybe thats what the attraction is for most people. Many women and men will compliment you because human beings tend to like what we dont have - comments like i like your skin....thats part of the rationale for bleaching...

    Not every light skinned person takes advantage of the circumstance- some folks when you sit down with them the first thing they want to know is what you are mixed with etc. Some men feel they have gotten trophies based on being able to attract a light skin woman - ugly or not. I believe I am more than my genetic makeup so I have always worked smart to get where I need to go and generally removed myself from situations that harp on complexion.

    Many women who have nothing else going for them are quick to exploit the light skin angle including bleachers and they sap up whatever it is they are offered.

    I married a mixed race person and Nigerians are more obsessed about how our kids would look than we are, something we havent given much thought to as we married based on personal and cultural compatibility. Hell I dont find light skin men outside of my husband atttactive.

  10. So people still accept free rides from peeps they don't know in Lagos? All the kidnap and rape stories around won't even let me. I'l just jejely use my leggedis until transport comes(not that those are 100% safe either but...).

    Anywaiz, I'm not light skinned so I don't know but there's this fair girl on my floor, her skin is soo clean and spotless meanwhile there's this other girl on the same floor who's dark. They're both very beautiful but I like the fair girl better just cos she's fair and more open. If they both asked for a favour and I could fulfil only one, I'll answer the fair girl*covers face*

    1. Shame on you.... Keep covering that face of yours oh.... Where is kabouy?

      I'm so indifferent as regards that kind of girl to Date or Ha e emotional attachments to. But as for pretty looks and stuff, fair ladies are simply outstanding, literally.

    2. lol... at least, you're honest!

    3. I am here!!! How are you Uyi?

    4. Hahaha. Sunshine o! Exactly, at least you're honest.

  11. That man is just something else. It could be that he saw another lady he wanted to pick since he saw that you are a no go area. But Nawa o that man no try at all, he should have told you from the onset what his destination was.

    I'm very dark skinned and I don't envy the light skinned people. Me that I can go some days without using body cream especially in this heat infested times.

    1. Happy belated Birthday to your sister, Iyanuoluwa Balogun

      Wishing her more blessings and success with long life and prosperity as well

  12. Ahn ahn kilode. I entered a stranger's car. It was broad day light on a busy road so I reckoned it was pretty safe. If he looked dodgy or it was night then I'm sure I wouldn't have. I offer strangers rides in my car too, mostly females sha. I actually think its ok... But y'all have a point, I've never thought about being kidnapped and all that.

  13. My mom is light skinned with a slim pointed nose ,I took my Dads skin color(dark) and nose. i know it sounds bad,but i hate my skin and i also have big flat nose thanks to my mom who constantly told me my nose is big while growing up am jst 19 but am considering skin lightening and nose surgery and am presently doing anytime i can to get money to sponsor my long time wish i jst want to look beautiful.i hate my siblings that have my mom nose and i hate my parent for giving birth to me i hate my mom for marrying my Dad who is dark skinned.Thelma is so bad that i avoid looking at the mirror or taking a group selfie cos i feel lyk the ugly duckling and depression has taken my life.I would never forgive my parents

    1. But Anon it's never that bad! Beauty is beyond what you see in the mirror. Like you, I didn't get my mum's light complexion, I didn't get her femininity, her slim shapely body and beautiful legs. Instead I got my dad's very dark complexion, I got his big bones, huge stature and slow metabolism (meaning I'm basically destined to struggle with weight most of my life) and I got his massive legs. But to me, I'm pretty hot stuff! There might be prettier people out there,my siblings might be lighter than me and slimmer than me (which they are) but I'm just as beautiful in my own right. I have never let it bother me for one second and you shouldn't let it either.

      Yes there's light skinned privilege but look at the most successful actresses in our country; Genevieve, Ini Edo, Mercy Johnson, Stephanie Okereke etc. Their skin colour didn't determine their success. Look at beauty queens like Agbani Darego, Ezinne Akudo or Unoaku Anyadike and tell me these women aren't extremely beautiful.

      Please stop thinking that way. And please forget about cosmetic surgery or bleaching for now. It's not your (perceived) lack of good looks that might make you unattractive to people, it's lack of self confidence that would cause that. Besides I bet you're wayyyyy more beautiful than you think!

    2. Well said Thelms. Poster love yourself more

    3. @Anon, everything Thelma said!

    4. Haba Anonymous! You hate your parents?! Lool...

      Let me se if I ever hated mine... Hmnnnn.. Don't remember. But I do remember feeling like the ugly duckling and always blaming God for being very partial and unfair. How else would you explain not taking any fine features from your very fine parents and to worsen the case being in the middle of two very beautiful sisters. They take selfies and I'm like really Lord? Really?!!! I must be adopted! Lmao! I battled self esteem issues for a while too o. I mus not lie about that. But like Thelma said. Beauty is not about what you see in the mirror. I was becoming bitter and was Turing into what I saw in myself. Ugly.
      So I began to celebrate my beautiful sides.. Work on my way of thinking and personality... I'm not there yet... But I'm on my way.

      So dear sis... You are beautiful! You have to believe that first before you begin to see it.

    5. @anon; there is no ugly person... u are not ugly until u accept that u are. If ur nose is too big, u can contour it using makeup na, pls take care of urself o... take care of ur skin, ur hair.. always try to look good and ull see ur beauty shine thru!!

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. Lol. The man is a practically crazy am sure. Thelma Thelma, your mind no b here oo. B careful biko.

  16. Hmmm... Thelma just reactivated ma depression with this post
    ... Anyway, since I was 10, I have hated ma complexion and everything bout myself. I remember looking at my drop-dead gorgeous light skinned mother with her very pointed nose and going somewhere to cry, Its been so long ago and I can't explain why but I still remember the heartbreak and tears ... Fast forward to me getting into the university at 2011... It seemed like all ma friends were light skinned, We would go to an event and soon after guys will hover around ma friends... Sometimes two to a gal, leaving me alone, all alone... I wasn't particular about getting a male's attention but Dang It still hurt. I remember getting home nd crying ma soul out. When dat continued for a while, I stopped hanging out with friends. I remember going for a modelling audition and one of the guys called me aside and was like "I'm not saying u are not cute ooo, u are but y will u come here?? U don't actually think dey re gonna choose u ryt???"... I was broken.
    I left dere, head into a store nd got a bleaching cream but couldn't bring myself to use it. My insecurities and low self esteem has left me single for years, I'm now a dark, insecured, socially handicapped introvert. My younger brother (who is fair by the way) isnt helping matters as he taunts me every chance he gets. He once mentioned that he'd never marry a dark woman as they were irritating and ugly. I just stared... I'm scared I'm gonna be single for the rest of my life but I believe I'm dark for a reason and God is gonna use it to bless me beyond measures... One day.
    I don't know if I made sense but I really needed to say something about what I'm going through

  17. Awwww,,this post saddens my heart,we are all beautiful the way we are...


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intelligent, smart, tall, dark and handsome. Believe me he got
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