Stop making me defend Kwame from 'Love Is Blind'
Yes, Kwame is awful, but stop insulting his Afrocentric features
There are moments on Netflix’s “Love Is Blind” that take me back to my first years in college. More specifically, Abhishek “Shake” on Season 2 and Kwame Appiah on Season 4—then SK of Season 3 once the show ended. This crew is really really really determined to find a white woman to date. And not the kind of light-skinned woman who looks racially ambiguous—the Meghan Markles or the Olivia Munns or the Zendayas. Their type must look like Kristen Bell, just taller.
In the latest season of the Netflix dating show, a contestant (Kwame) harped on how the family of a white girl he wanted to date banned him from dating her because of his race. That certainly didn’t stop him from standing 10 toes down to continue to date white women. Even on a show where you couldn’t see the women, he still found two blonde-haired white women to fawn over.
Initially, I shrugged. If that’s who he’s into, then that’s who he’s into. It’s a waste of energy and time to try to convince him otherwise. As mentioned above, it reminded me of my first year in college. I repeatedly watched men with distinct Afrocentric features (including Hispanic men) purposely go after the most Nordic girl they could find to date, have sex with and proudly link arms with. The stronger their features were, the more likely they were to date the polar opposite. Interestingly, the caramel-complexioned guys and the light-skinned guys seemed to be doing a double take for darker-skinned girls. It was becoming obvious that people were interested in the exact opposite of whatever their mothers/aunts/sisters looked like.
But I learned a couple of lessons while seeing this pattern of date-anybody-but-someone-at-my-family-reunion.
First lesson: Nobody wins when we start insulting each other’s features.
Another friend of mine, who was about my complexion, was irritated by a crush of hers only dating white women. Even though she was dating a light-skinned black guy who didn’t look a thing like him, she went off on a tangent about how she’s tired of black men not dating dark-skinned black women. It felt like her feelings were hurt. A couple other women we were cool with chimed in, saying he wasn’t worth all that trouble anyway because he “wasn’t even that cute.” I looked from my hurt friend to the other two speaking.
Now how do I approach this? The guy was not mainstream attractive for a black man, but he was dripping sex appeal from his chin to his pinky toes. His facial features were more Jay Z, less Michael Ealy. His complexion was closer to Idris Elba, not Denzel Washington. His style was more Yasiin Bey, less Drake. He had an “it” factor, just not a mainstream “it” factor. Still, knowing that he only dated white women, I wondered was it worth defending him. He was a super nice guy, but he clearly was looking for Charlize Theron instead of Angela Bassett.
Hell, he wasn’t checking for the four of us brown-skinned black girls, so why bother? Still, something about the tone of them saying he wasn’t attractive rubbed me wrong. And it reminds me of how people talk about Kwame from “Love Is Blind.”
Calling him “ugly as hell” and saying white women don’t know when a “black man is ugly” is pathetic. It’s the same kind of hatred we don’t want black men to do to black women with Afrocentric features.