The Melanin Monologue

By | 1 February 2019

||How do you tell your teenage self to stop drinking those bottles of bleach?||

The lacerations left behind by Dove’s latest racist ad campaign
Slices its way through layers of caramel and chocolate skin.
And apologies may be made,
We did not endeavour hate
But this nation knows all too well of e m p t y apologies to
People of Colour.
‘The diversity of real beauty is core to our beliefs’
But this core is only skin deep
This core is the rotten apples laced with poisoned tongues
Words washed away with the same soap used to
Scrub away at our skin.

Have you heard of ‘Nulla Nulla’ soap
It was ‘Australia’s white hope’
Soap scrubbed the black from this nation’s skin
Through ethnic cleansing we’ve killed our kin.
The white dove sneers at us as though we’re pigeons
Claims ‘This is diversity’
When all we feel is adversity
Dove’s corporate cousin Fair and lovely
Stocks supermarket shelves across the globe.

There is nothing fair in genocide nothing fair in the racial barometer that determines
who is worthy and who is not nothing fair in claims to crack through coconut husk skin to
ooze the white that lies inside nothing fair in the hands that tan in the sun squeezing the
bottles of bleach upon our skin.

Sun kissed s e a s of the Philippines
Cascade every colour under the sun
Yet every billboard on every road
Lacks the magandang morena girl
So I ask you

What the Beckery is this shit?
How are we so complacent to this?
Leaving the white prints on our face
From those who tried to slap us into place
This skin is not mud splashed on our faces
From the stomping feet of the conquistador
This skin is not yours to fetishise
This skin is not yours to demoralise
We will decolonise and moisturise

This Skin Does Not Come Off

And I am tired of always being a dark cascade to a sea of twinkling white stars.

But there’s no market for your type your face and words are all the same
I’m sure we did all we could do to try and acknowledge you

Yet somehow,
When Rihanna released 40 shades in her foundation collection
New faces entered Sephora’s reflections
Hoping to get a better inspection
Of colours that matched to our complexion
After years of beauty counter retrospection
Scanning colour palettes with circumspection
Hand and product made no connection
Hearts pumped blood laced with dejection
Of an entire industry’s outright rejection
Of us

It feels like colour correction
When you are shade twenty-one
Instead of the only one
Who wriggles their way
Into whatever shade of tan they have available that day.
It feels like antiseptic for the lacerations that seek to drain
The melanin from our skin.

It feels like hands r e a c h i n g out to teenage girls
Pulling the white masks off of their faces
And crying,

My darling,
You are magandang morena,
A beautiful brown skinned girl
You need not drink
Those bottles of bleach

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