Racism is a term heavily used and debated throughout society, but what most people fail to include in the conversation is colourism. Colourism is the view that people with lighter skin tones should be treated better than people with darker skin tones. This idea goes farther than issues of black versus white—it’s a problem that arises within many cultures across the globe.
With the goal of sparking conversations around this issue, Unfair and Lovely is a social media organization created by Pax Jones, who is resolute on broadening dark-skin representation for people of all backgrounds.
Unfair and Lovely (its name a play on the skin-lightening cream, Fair & Lovely) became a viral hashtag in 2016, resulting from a photo series created by Jones, inspired by her South Asian friend as the two bonded over their first-hand experiences with systematic oppression. #UnfairandLovely was first adopted by dark-skinned South Asian women, who then became the focus of the movement.
However, though #UnfairandLovely quickly gained momentum, other dark-skinned individuals identifying as black, Latinx, Pacific Islander and East Asian were excluded from the conversation. The relaunch intends to be inclusive of all those affected by colourism.
“Systems of oppression work with each other,” said Jones, in an interview with Teen Vogue. “Each system affects the other, so people existing at the intersection of these oppressed identities need to be protected and celebrated more than ever. The intersection of identities makes it absolutely pertinent for everyone to make an active effort to dismantle systems of oppression.”
Today, Unfair and Lovely is revamping and expanding their brand to encourage all dark-skinned people, particularly women and femmes, to embrace their skin.
This time around, the movement that will go far beyond just sharing photos. Using educational materials, podcasts, zines and hashtags, Unfair and Lovely will stimulate our eyes and minds simultaneously.
“It’s about making up for the damage colourism has done. It’s about providing education and a platform to recognize the work of dark-skinned folk that’s often overlooked as a function of colourism. We are trying to dismantle a system of oppression brick by brick,” said Jones.
To join the campaign, contribute to the conversation and stay connected, visit Unfair and Lovely.