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12 October 2007 10 Comments

Amid furor, DJ cancels party for ‘light-skinned’ black women

‘I made a mistake,’ local party promoter says after Internet backlash.

DETROIT — A local DJ and party promoter retreated Thursday from a plan to sponsor a bash that would let “light-skinned” black women into a downtown club for free.

But the “Light Skin Libra Birthday Bash” at Club APT on Woodward Avenue turned out to be a bashing — of promoter Ulysses “DJ Lish” Barnes after word of the unusual party spread on the Internet.

“I made a mistake,” Barnes said. “I didn’t think there would be a backlash.”

Barnes, who said he’s been a party promoter for six years, canceled the event.

He said he has gotten angry calls and e-mails from around the country about the party.

“I didn’t mean to offend anyone,” he said. “I had planned a party for other shades (of black women). We were going to take a shade of color each week. Next week was going to be a party for ‘Sexy Chocolate’ and the week after that ‘Sexy Caramel.’ ”

Barnes is African-American and describes himself as “dark skinned.” The issue of skin color is an often painful and emotional among African-Americans. The history of slavery and the resulting legacy of intra-racial segregation have sometimes pitted darker-skinned and lighter-skinned blacks against one another.

A noted Los Angeles-based activist who goes by the name of Pearl Jr. was among the chorus of voices complaining about the party.

“I had a good conversion with him and he understood,” said Pearl Jr., founder of the Black Women’s Movement in Los Angeles and the author of the book “Black Women Need Love, Too.”

“Ignorance can’t always be an excuse,” she said. “Colorism is real in the black community. It’s especially very degrading to dark-skinned black women.”

The party’s discriminating tone harkens to the day of the “brown paper bag test,” which compared the complexions of blacks to a brown grocery bag before they could be admitted to social clubs and affairs, said Pearl Jr.

The activist said she had a heart-to-heart talk with Barnes and he immediately told her he would cancel the party.

“He was basically falling in line with what we have been taught (by society) that the less African-looking you are the better you are,” said Pearl Jr. “Basing whether someone is admitted on their skin color is discriminatory, which is really against the law.”

Comments on Web sites and blogs about the party included urging a boycott of the party and filing a lawsuit against the party’s promoter.

“The way this should be handled is that our light-skinned sisters should refuse to go unless the darker-skinned sisters received the same treatment,” wrote one blogger. “We must stand together and not allow ANYONE, especially, a club to divide us.”

Barnes said he is hoping to host an event to raise money for a charity to make up for whatever problems or pain he caused over the party flier.

Thembi says: I saw this earlier this week and got all riled up in my brown-skinned-ness but didn’t bother to post it. What REALLY makes me annoyed is the phony attempt at solidarity. What they really didn’t want is someone of my ilk of brown, proud, and big-armed Nigras With Attitude showing up and wreckin’ shop. But I’m so self-impressed with my brownness and ready to hear this kind of thing coming out of the midwest (sorry guys) that I can’t even get mad. Every man that I’ve been involved with almost exclusively likes brown-skinned girls so I can’t even begin to hate. I hope the day never comes where I have to justify my “Good Hair Gone Bad” posts…poor lighties of all genders…


  • Luscious Librarian said:

    I love the blogosphere. He knew he was wrong. Ignorance is a hard bastard to kill.

  • Invisible Woman said:

    Great minds think alike again…I posted this update about an hour ago, That Negro is soooo full of it. I agree with LL…thanks to the blogs, people can’t get away with too much stupid s__t anymore.

  • Q said:

    BWAHAHAH this made me love our loud mouthed reactionary shit talking online

    Your picture however just brought me down to levels I never knew were possible

    The tag (our shame) further buried me barely alive

    I like that you are also infatuated and self impressed with your brown-blackness I know I am and it gets lonely in my little bubble of self love! Olay that Bitch up

  • Thembi said:

    Q, you’re so right – I have never felt more powerful up in the blogosphere as denyinmg lightskinned girls the chance to get in free where Im sure the drinks come in plastic cups.

    By now you are like 36 ft underground via WWTD. Like our girl – 27 pregnancies, 18 kids, 9 abortions, 3 kids in her custody… total factor of 3’s…if she doesnt have aids by now i need her to give me this week’s number so i can hit the megamillions.

    A Fibonacci Floozie.

    Olay Quench nigras!

  • Julia_Claudine_Deveraux said:

    Thembi I saw this hot mess of a function and I damn near croaked. The division of our folks based on skin color is played out like the hoola hoop. Niggas like Kanye and his “mutt” comment and this shit right here makes my teeth itch. Why does skin color need to be a theme to gain free entrance to party? This is when you know folks have clearly run out of clever ideas. SMH

  • Jippy said:

    Is that Tracie White on that flyer?

  • KelleBelle said:

    Eff Solidarity! I wanted free admission!

    I was salty as all hell when I had to make a U-turn on my way to the D from Philly Friday night.

    You’d get your chance to shine at the Sexy Chocolate party jeez! Some people, I tell you…

  • Thembi said:

    You know, after mulling it over I see the real problem. If he’d simply had this idea 12 years ago when the Wu-Tang song “Ice-Cream” had been current, it woulda worked. Or, even 10 years ago when Big Pun was around, it coulda been a Boricua/Morena thing. We could have worn some sort of baby t’s.

    Alas, it is the year 2007. Someone get this dude a subscription to Word Up magazine or something, please.

  • Redhotblue said:

    And another thing, the DJ’s statements about having other events for dark and carmel colored women in the future came after the blow up. Something tells me that was just CYA on his part.

  • Richard What_son said:

    Is that Tracie White on that flyer?


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