On A$AP Rocky, Lipstick Shades, and Colorism in Hip-Hop

But for real, for me, I feel like with the red lipstick thing it all depends on the pair of complexion. I’m just being for real. You have to be fair skinned to get away with that… what do dark skin girls have that you know fair skinned girls cant do… Purple lipstick? Naw, that looks stupid on all girls!

A$AP Rocky, for the Coveteur

A$AP Rocky

A$AP Rocky

Yes, I know this is just someone’s opinion, and it probably shouldn’t bother me as much as it does. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I am certainly not depending on A$AP Rocky for fashion advice.

I think it has more to do with the fact that I know from personal experience that dark-skinned Black women are constantly told that things don’t look good on them, that they are ugly, or that they are not as desired as much as light-skinned or White women. And rap & hip-hop is a reflection of society, so of course this is reflected in song lyrics and interviews. Here are some examples:

“That’s why I like chilling with women who like women
Light-skinned Asians, Jamaicans, and white women
Indians, Italians, Haitians and Puerto Ricans,
They be itchin’ for they chance and waiting on me to freak ’em.”

– T.I., “Let’s Get Away”

“Chocolate is her skin-tone,
Make a n***a say, “f**k a red bone!”

-Lil’ Kee feat. Javon Black, “My Baby”

“Used to be black girls was the baddest s**t, you know what I mean? Spanish, J-Lo be poppin’ … white women are poppin’ right now, man. They f*****g poppin’. Imma just be real.”

-Wacka Flocka Flame, in an interview with SOHH.com.

There is plenty more where that came from. Check out this documentary (I haven’t watched it yet, but will hopefully this weekend), Complexion Obsession, about the abundance of light-skinned women in rap videos and as the objects of desire in rap lyrics.

Now, A$AP didn’t straight up say he preferred light-skinned women, so I’m not pinning that on him. But telling dark-skinned women that they can’t get away with something that light-skinned women can’t get away with? Assuming that dark-skinned women care what A$AP Rocky or any other man think about their lipstick? Assuming that dark-skinned women (or any women at all, really) make all of their fashion decisions based on men? I’m not here for that. And I definitely believe there is a connection between A$AP’s advice and hip-hop’s preference for light-skinned women.

And I’m not the only one! Click here, here, and here to see Azealia Banks’ feelings on the matter. By the way, Banks released a signature lipstick with M.A.C. last September called ‘Yung Rapunxel.” She’s infamous for purple lipstick in particular.

Lol @ asap rockys lipstick advice.

Lol @ asap rockys lipstick advice.

That comment was so hurtful. Like hurtful beyond measure.

That comment was so hurtful. Like hurtful beyond measure.

Also, he’s just straight up wrong. When it comes to red lipstick, you just have to find the right shade. Check out this blog post on how to pick the right lipstick shade.

Colorism is complicated though. How much of this obsession with light-skinned Women is rooted in self-hatred?

There will be more on the colorism in hip-hop later on the blog, so stay tuned!

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10 thoughts on “On A$AP Rocky, Lipstick Shades, and Colorism in Hip-Hop

  1. Nice read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing some research on that. And he just bought me lunch since I found it for him smile Therefore let me rephrase that: Thank you for lunch!

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  5. I can not describe how much this disappoints me, I am Brazilian, here we have a lot of trouble even to take who we are, take the color of our skin, the construction of identity here is much more difficult, and hip-hop was a major factor in Built my black identity, so for me, seeing something so filthy in American hip-hop, it is very disappointing and painful.

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