This Is Us

Black Skin

Lakeya (Omogun) Afolalu, Ph.D.
Human Parts
2 min readFeb 17, 2021


Illustration: Niege Borges

i hate those stories

the ones
where women recall
how they once hated
the shade
of their deep dark skin

the same stories
that appear in
Oprah’s documentaries
and characterize
the dark-skinned women
across her network

whenever i hear them
i never understand
how ugly words
can form on the lips
of such beautiful women

i hate hearing them

they dig up
old memories
i buried

of when
i wanted to
live outside
of my own skin

it wasn’t my choice
it was
the narrow
beauty perceptions
that are placed
on young Black girls

girls like me

why you so dark? he asked me



Lakeya (Omogun) Afolalu, Ph.D.
Human Parts

Professor of Language, Literacy & Culture | Writer | Speaker | Twitter @LakeyaAfolalu