10 Jun 2014

The Dark Skin Problem

The Darkskin Problem, which was the theme of the Musers’ Inaugural book meet, held on Saturday, 24th May, 2014 at around 4pm. Although the program started a bit later than anticipated, it was a thrilling ride nevertheless.

The issues discussed were ‘Feminism’, ‘Black Identity’, ‘Language and Colour’, ‘Black Inferiority’, ‘The Issue of Lightskins’, ‘Bleaching’, and ‘Weaves/fashion’. The discussions were guided by excerpts from selected books which include Second Class Citizen by Buchi Emecheta, The Secret Life of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Soneyin, Yellow Yellow by Kaine Agary, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Black Skin, White Masks by Frantz Fanon. The panel of discussants included a very diverse selection of people; Justin (@TheVunderKind), Uche (@Anee_Uche), Adejoke, Ibukun (@TheOnlyIbukun), Yemi (@Yemi_UC) and yours truly, Ezim Osai (@EzimOsai). Also present were Lola Soneyin (Author of The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives) and Kaine Agary (Author of Yellow Yellow).

During the course of the discussion which lasted about two hours, a lot of varying opinions were shared by the panellists and audience and notable in the discussion was the issue of Feminism and Women Rights, where most women gave varying definitions to feminism and reasons for it. Lola Soneyin was heard to have said ‘We [women] want the same opportunities the men have’ and made a very remarkable case for feminists. On the issue of Language, one of the panellists was of the opinion that ‘Language is overrated’, and that in so far as he got his message across, he would be satisfied. Some other panellists were of totally different opinions and made their cases that language was part of an identity [as black people] and that it is very important for young people to be able to speak their parent-language. On the issue of Weaves/Fashion and Natural Hair, the discussion was thrown to the audience and various arguments were put up. Some members of the audience argued that it is solely the woman’s decision and it does not make her ‘fake’ as maintaining natural hair is tedious, painful and expensive. A lot of issues were raised and a lot of arguments were put forward, but all in all, it was a wonderful meeting.

The evening closed with the last discussion being on Black Identity where Ezim Osai (@EzimOsai) talked about hair and beards and tattoos and their repercussions and people being ready to accept the consequences of their actions and choices. Uche (@Anee_Uche) gave a remarkable closing discussion on what it means to be black and Adesewa (@PrettyCrown) gave the vote of thanks which closed the meeting officially. After the meeting, The Musers shared some light refreshments and also took pictures with the authors, panellists and members of the audience. We were also able to interview one of the Musers and you can read a transcription of the interview here.

Lola Soneyin.

If you weren’t at the #DarkSkinProblem , then you missed out a lot. However, the discussion still continues on Twitter and you can pitch right in.
Some excerpts from the books that were read:

Race is totally overhyped these days, black people need to get over themselves, it’s all about class now, the haves and the have-nots.
Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

…A country conquered and occupied and a colonized country, the latter had lost its own cultural bearings and internalized the idea of the inherent superiority of the colonizing culture.
Black Skin, White Masks – Frantz Fanon

I came to understand that people had preconceived notions about others of mixed race (lightskinned) – they thought we were conceited, promiscuous, undisciplined and confused. A mixed race (lightskinned) woman in a position of power must have gotten there because of her looks. She was not there because she was intelligent.
Yellow Yellow – Kaine Agary

The women of Ibuza bought identical cotton material from UA department store and had made it into lappas and blouses of the same style. They dyed their hair and straightened it with hot combs to make it look European.
Second Class Citizen – Buchi Emecheta

That’s it from us at 9JEducation,


Read about the Musers here.

Ezim Osai
26. May. 2014


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