Could Fantasia Barrino be right? Did she get negative press coverage about her affair with a married man and alleged suicide attempt because she’s “too brown?”
Fantasia is a sister I’ve admittedly been hard on in the past. I took her to task for that awful “Baby Mama” song of a few years back, upsetting her fans who think the sun rises and sets on that more than ample badunkadunk of hers.
“How dare you?!” was the main thrust of most of the critics. All Fantasia was doing, they claimed, was paying tribute to “baby mamas” everywhere.
No, she was doing much more. She was glorifying a tragic situation that needed no glorification. With nearly 70 percent of black households not having fathers, and with the social problems connected with those homes having no daddies in them, Fantasia’s warbling about “This goes out to all my baby mamas,” was the last thing black America needed.
And controversial lyrics aside, the song was just God-awful. I liked her singing and the melody to “Hood Boy” much better, but then again, there was that message. Praising guys who “wear wife beaters and jeans” and who spend much of their time in “the trap,” slang for a drug house? I prayed Fantasia was just singing stupid and not living stupid.
A few years pass, and now comes the affair-followed-by-alleged-suicide-attempt scandal. Fantasia’s claim of bias against dark-skinned sisters may be just her attempt to play the victim after some bad publicity, but I have to admit that maybe she has something this time.
Those scoffing at Fantasia’s claim will note that Jennifer Hudson is darker than Fantasia, performed in the same season of “American Idol” and got voted off while Fantasia won. Hudson’s being a good deal heavier at the time probably didn’t help either (But DARN, doesn’t she look like a smokin’ hot babe now!). And, Fantasia’s critics (and Hudson’s fans) are likely to point out, Hudson never claimed that either her weight or her complexion were factors in her being voted off “American Idol.”
The sad truth is, they probably were. But we didn’t hear a peep from Fantasia then about sisters who are too dark or too brown (or too heavy) getting the shaft. Well, maybe she’s lived, and she’s learned.
Would Beyonce be the superstar she is if she were, say, Hudson’s complexion? Wouldn’t somebody in the press have climbed all over both Hudson and Fantasia if either one had said, “I wish I was born Latina?”
Beyonce did precisely that, a few years ago, in an interview she gave to Latina magazine. The exact quote is this: “I’m just jealous I wasn’t born Latina. I wish I had been because the culture is so beautiful.”
The implication is that her own African-American culture – you know, the one whose music is the source of her fame and also changed her country and the world – isn’t beautiful, or, at the very least, is inferior to Latin culture. And that Latino culture Beyonce is so fond of isn’t what might be called “Negro friendly.”
Here’s how Beyonce ended the interview with Latina: “I’m very grateful Latinos are embracing me.”
Trust me, sister love, if you were Fantasia’s or Hudson’s complexion, there’d be a lot fewer Latinos and Latinas embracing you. Ditto for many white fans and, much as it pains me to say it, the same holds true for many African-Americans as well.
Yeah, I said it: A lot of us are still color-struck, 1940s Negroes who think we have bad hair and that a lighter complexion is a better one.
Before critics start howling about how absolutely wrong I am, consider this: Is Beyonce a better singer than either Fantasia or Jennifer Hudson? Who did the better singing AND acting in the movie “Dream Girls?” Was it Beyonce or Hudson?
Fantasia and Hudson can both sing rings around Beyonce on their worst days, in their sleep and just about any time they feel like it. But who’s the one that has attained superstar status? Who’s the one getting interviews with Latina magazine?
I rest my case. You may have made some boo-boos in your personal life, Fantasia, but I’m with you on this color thing, sis.
August 19, 2012 //
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