Yesterday I dropped by Forever 21 and spied this top.
You already know I copped it.
It is RARE that I see light-skinned, natural-haired women depicted on tees. It’s usually brown-skinned women with huge lips rocking massive fros. No offense to anyone out here, but that image is very limited in scope because naturals come in all shapes, sizes and colors. I genuinely appreciated seeing a little diversity.
But then today, I came across this Sesame Street character that the t-shirt is based on.
She is a brown-skinned little girl who is renowned for singing “I Love My Hair,” which teaches little Black girls who watch the show to embrace what is naturally theirs.
Clearly Forever 21 lightened the character’s skin before attempting to sell this shirt.
Now I’m torn. Was that cool to do?
I’m assuming it was done to make the shirt more appealing to more people and not make it such a “Black” thing, but it takes away from the integrity of the intent of the Sesame Street character. On the other hand, by lightening the skintone I feel like the shirt is able to represent more curlies than the stereotype that I described earlier in this post.