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Fade to White. {spoken word poetry}

{Photo credit: Ee'da}

{Photo credit: Ee’da}

By Ee’da.

This is a spoken word piece, which brings awareness to the disturbing phenomenon of skin bleaching amongst Indian/Asian/African people.

I wrote this piece because I wanted to let people know that skin bleaching is occurring even as you are reading this, and that it is reaching epidemic proportions in places like Jamaica and India.

When I was a child, my mother regularly bleached my skin because she perceived fairer skin to be more beautiful and she wanted me to grow up feeling beautiful.

In Bollywood, a disproportionate number of fair Northern Indian women are represented on the big screen, perpetuating the prejudice that fairer skin is synonymous with beauty. In 2012, over $648 million was earned by India’s whitening cream market. Over-the-counter bleaching creams like ‘Jolen’ and ‘Fair and Lovely’ have now expanded their market to Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The psychological impact of getting bleached as a child deeply influenced my perceptions and relationship to beauty and color. I remembered being twelve and wanting to marry a white man when I grew up. I was blessed to meet certain individuals who woke me up to these social dysfunctions, which fostered my rebellion against the accepted standards of beauty.

Why do people put chemicals on their skin to get a lighter shade? Maybe it is due to our colonized past.

But by the same token, why do white women tan to get a darker shade? Why do some white girls want to have half-black babies and some black girls want to have half-white babies?

I just think that we have been conditioned to not love ourselves — irrespective of whether you are black, white, Asian or Hispanic. And my poem is essentially about big companies profiting from this lack of self-love and pride in self.

More than being just a poem about the skin-bleaching phenomenon, it is a reminder for people to examine life around them — all mindsets, intentions, trends and fashion, and to know that salvation lies in finding love within oneself and by ‘letting love be the mirror you see your own beauty shining through.’

My good friend and co-collaborator, Claudia Sangiorgi Dalimore, came up with the concept of starting with a close-up shot of me completely made-up with special-effects make-up to look Caucasian. This idea explored the theme of returning back to what is natural, to true self, back to the skin you were born into.

 

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*****

EedaEe’da hails from Southeast Asia, with a half-Indian, half-Malaysian background. She broke religious and cultural convention by leaving her family home and moving to Australia. Despite the challenges, she remains unscathed, and her songs and poetry are a testament to her bright spirit. She is optimistic and lighthearted, but isn’t afraid to explore shadows, with original creations touching on themes of personal freedom, heartbreaks, empowerment, love, and a lack of love. Her ‘Fade to White’ — a spoken word piece which bring awareness to the disturbing phenomenon of skin-bleaching amongst Indian/Asian/African people — recently received an award at the Harmony International Short Film Festival, 2012. This classically trained Indian dancer has supported International hip hop acts such as “Lyrics Born” and “Dead Prez”, and continues to run women’s wellness programs in her community, sharing her love for life and the arts. You could contact Ee’da via email, her website, or Facebook.

{In Your Skin}

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