London: A nightclub event that pitted light skinned, brown skinned and dark skinned African-American women against each other in a beauty contest of complexions has been accused of degrading women.
The ‘Battle of the Complexions’ contest held on Friday in St Louis has been accused of degrading women and promoting historical divisions.
“This is the most debatable topic of the year, whats the sexiest skin complexion?? So ladies come out & lets settle this!!” the Daily mail quoted the organisers, video and music promotional company Mack TV and a local promoter calling himself Nelly Da’Celeb as saying on a Facebook page for the event.
It goes on to encourage women to attend the contest held at The Venue, a club ironically located on Martin Luther King Drive, to “cum out and rep either team-lite, team-caramel or team-dark”.
A promotional poster pictured and video promised an event to decide which complexion is the sexiest and features African-American women of different complexions labelled either “Light-skin - Red Bone”, “Brown-skin – Caramel” or “Dark-skin – Chocolate”.
Adolphus Pruitt, president of the St. Louis branch of the NAACP, told NBC station KSDK that the event “raises the same sort of hair on the back of people’s necks like me and some other folks.”
“Folks who buy into it, support it, feed into it, they`re just assuring that using race - using the skin complexion of women, devaluating women and things of this nature - is going to continue to happen, because as long as people spend money to take advantage of it, somebody``s going to use it as a promotional tool,” Pruitt said.
After the event was highlighted earlier this week by music critic Kevin C. Johnson, for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the negative reaction imploded.
Camille Houston, an African-American woman from St. Louis, told KSDK that the event was offensive because it perpetuates historical divisions in the African-American community stemming from skin tone.
Following a negative reaction, Mack TV and Nelly Da’Celeb released a statement on Thursday claiming the event was held to celebrate Black History Month.
“Some guys will say, ‘I don’t like talking to dark-skinned girls,’ or, you know, some girls will say. ‘I don’t like talking to dark-skinned guys’,” Houston said.
The comments section on Johnson’s article attracted hundreds of posts from people outraged by the event.
“The women, the men, and the promoters of this event are only doing much more to create a larger divide by skin colour in an already too divided country. All involved are losers in my book,” one post by LivesiPog said.
“And a club located on Martin Luther Kind Dr. I find this type of thing flies in the face of his message. But hey, you can’t legislate tastelessness,” another user, thorninyourside, said.
After the negative reaction, Mack TV and Nelly Da``Celeb put out a statement on Thursday in a bid to defend the event.
“We could have used a better choice of words. We did not mean to offend the offended,” the statement said.
The organisers claimed the backlash simply stemmed from a misunderstanding and that the event was being held for Black History Month to give youngster the chance to ``be proud that you are black! Regardless of your skin tone.
“Sorry for the confusion and misleading info,” it added.