Four Reasons Why Melanin Illustrated Is The Blackest And Best Thing That Ever Happened This Week » VSB

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Four Reasons Why Melanin Illustrated Is The Blackest And Best Thing That Ever Happened This Week

(Photo from @Jacqhay

1. Because I keep trying to find ways to articulate the myriad shades of beautiful and banging-ass brown found in this photo shoot — done in Costa Rica by 28 members of the Florida A&M chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, where they celebrated the 10 year anniversary of them crossing in 2007 — and I keep coming back to food. Candy bars, oatmeal, and chocolate cake, specifically. And since I love food, and since God is love, this very obviously must mean that Black women are God.

2. Because you know, since these were Deltas, that at least five of them wanted to take some pictures on an elephant. Like, there were probably email, Gchat, text, and Slack threads debating whether to use one, and at least one Yelp search for “elephant rental stores.”

No one fought about an elephant. But someone’s definitely not talking to someone this week about an elephant.

3. Because only a group of Black women can manage to outshine an entire freakin coast. That coast has been there for millions of years — and the sun for billions — but then they showed up and made it the Kyrie to their Lebron. That coast definitely requested a trade this week, so it can get its own team and shine again on its own.

4. Because of all of the exes of the women in this shoot, seeing the photos, and then sitting on a futon somewhere this week thinking “Damn. Jigga said ‘Never go Eric Benet.’ I went Eric Benet. I wish he would he said ‘Never go Eric Benet’ before I went Eric Benet.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at Or don't. Whatever.

  • NonyaB?
    • Jennifer

      Here for the gifs. (Left that strutting one one my old work computer. Glad to have it back.)

      • NonyaB?

        Here for the people!

      • SororSalsa

        That’s a gorgeous picture. Did you have fun?

        • Thank you, boo! I DID… go to my IG @negra_with_tumbao

          It was dope… I didn’t post a pic of his face… but it’s my massage therapist and HE’S FINE and a sweetheart.

          • SororSalsa

            LOVE the pics! Looks like you two had a great evening. That mac & cheese looked scrumptious! I’m glad you had a good time.

            • Thank you!!! We great that he wanted to go the

      • NonyaB?

        Aww sookie, you look so cute! Talk about Black don’t crack! I hope you had a good time.

      • siante

        You look gorgeous! I hope your date went well :)

      • Attaymik

        You have ammazzzing skin, girl. Beautiful!

      • Brother Mouzone

        Cutie pie.

  • jackwhack

    Love the picture, but CR is not an island.

    • Damon Young

      yeah, that was a typo. meant to say coast.

      • Nik White

        It’s Friday…no harm, no foul.

  • Nik White


  • Jenn

    Yup, I’m definitely gay

    • Ha!
      You win.
      …and you rock.

    • Tish Harris

      LOL!!! Same.

      • BrothasKeeper

        We support you in y’all’s endeavors.

    • cysinblack

      Same here. Do we get cookies for our declaration?

    • RaeRae

      LMAO!!!! I’m not, but I see the beauty in my sistas!!!

      • cedriclathan

        I’ll be a male lesbian.

    • SororSalsa

      For this photo, I absolutely am.

    • ?? KortAlmighty??


  • Mary Burrell

    They are beautiful and they look like magic. Gorgeous photo.

    • kingpinenut

      The purest black magic

      • cysinblack

        Toni Morrison had a character describe a black woman’s lady part as kingdom.

  • cysinblack

    I love that food and treats are the go-to descriptions of us that feel the most accurate.

    • conlakappa

      Dunno. I saw a thinkpiece in the past couple years about why it is problematic. No, don’t know if it was Hotepish but maybe it came down to some level of objectification.

      • cysinblack

        Black people are always looking to affirm ourselves in the face of systematic global opposition. I’m sure someone wrote that thinking those food references are childish and we deserve a more expanded point of description.

    • Monica Harris

      To each their own. I hate it. Referring to brown skin as chocolate makes me cringe. Always has. Always will.

      • cysinblack

        Too objectifying? Is there other descriptions you could share as an alternative?

        • Kemi

          Too cliched. Just… way too cliched. Rich, mahogany brown. Light, toasted peanut brown. Dark obsidian. Just, no more chocolate and coffee, please.

          • cysinblack

            Chocolate and coffee are popular in life. People reach for the immediate. Some cultures have referred to us as mud people. And having a conversation with another black person reaching the conclusion these folks attempt at a description relates our darker hue to the earth. Of course nobody in modern culture would accept the term as any form of compliment now.

            • Kemi

              I understand, and it’s… not *terrible.* But at this stage, I cringe everytime I hear the “chocolate” broken out to describe black people, especially by non-black people.

              • cysinblack

                I’m not okay with outsiders using it for us. It ain’t for them to use. We’re doing that to affirm us using cozy language. We have a sense of humor and joy about it. No one else is included including the non-Black people who love or desire us.

                • Kemi

                  I hear you.

        • Monica Harris

          I don’t know. Maybe? Or perhaps it’s just corny and played out to me. I don’t have any alternatives for the beauty of black people. I prefer to just use the ones we use for all the other ethnicities. Ya know, “beautiful” “handsome” “pretty.” I don’t think black people need a special term.

          • cysinblack

            Black people cannot settle for the surface standards. The more specific we get with how we see ourselves the more embolden we become. Heck white people use snow and milk and strawberries to describe themselves.

            • Monica Harris

              I ain’t neva heard that in my life and I feel like I’ve spent enough meaningful time around white people to have heard that.

              • cysinblack

                They do so in literature.

  • VeronicaMars

    It’s a wonderful picture.
    I do want to know all of their line names.

    • Zil Nabu

      There’s probably a 4titude, a Harmony or Serenity, a Quiet Storm, and a Blessed Assurance.

      • VeronicaMars

        I can just imagine the names. I really want to see them take a pic with their line jackets.

        • Zil Nabu

          I’m still salty about mine.

        • Jardan

          follow us on @thisistite! line names might showing up closer to homecoming

    • Jardan Paige D

      haha! we could make that happen, follow us on @thisistite

  • Mary Burrell

    Black people are beautiful we should never believe the lies that the dominant culture tries to force on us.

    • cysinblack

      They attempt to recreate what the melanin from the motherland brings. That’s why they hate on it. Make you feel bad for mother nature.

      • Melodyjdonnelly

        Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !aw12d:
        On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
        ??;?? http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash302ShopFormPay$97Hour ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????:::::!aw12l..,…

      • Mandyjgonzales

        Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !ae11d:
        On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
        ??;?? http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash301OfficeTrustPay$97Hour ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????:::::!ae11l..,.

      • Robynrjoseph

        my best friend’s sister makes $84 an hour at home. she’s been fired from a job for 9 months but last month her check was $18167 just working at home for four hours per day.? check this? page

    • Shuntayvious
      • FeeFee

        You be a swine.

        Your savage ancestor raped, beaten, lynched family album. Cute!

      • Robert McPherson

        Since there is only one white man in this picture and a whole bunch of black people, and that this is a family picture, and one person in a picture does not infer a family, does this mean that you are black?

  • Why can’t i get shoots like this?!
    This is a good peice of work. I would have loved to have shot this from all angles, all hours of the day.

    Now if only I can get a mason jar of that sandy water they glowing in…

    • cysinblack

      Many women would willing pose for you. Stop playing like a beehive of sisters would not show at your home to be photographed.

      • Thats actually a situation I would love…a few dozen shades of natural looking Black women posing about my house (bay windows, porch, yard, etc.)
        I know I would nail it.

        • 44isnojoke

          When I come thru to feast at Reading Terminal, I’mma come thru…I’m on the shame side so hopefully you can do something with that!

          • I can make you look like a movie star. Trust me

            • cysinblack

              Can you make a bust out of my big head?

              • Lol, no.
                But i can capture you in flattering light.

                • cysinblack

                  You don’t sculpt?

            • 44isnojoke

              Well let me get these coins together, I’ll even let you post on here if I look like a star.

        • I see what you did there.

        • Zil Nabu

          Pun totally intended.

        • Mary Burrell

          Yeah Pops I know you would.

        • cedriclathan

          Need an assistant?

        • NonyaB?

          Cackling at “nail it” If you were about that life, this woulda been accomplished if you’d organized a VSB wknd/sleepover like you once threatened. Then we could BBQ and dance on day 1, followed by playing lacrosse/checkers/spades on the lawn in between photoshoots the next day.

          • My bad…Left y’all hanging. I had to grab my bags and run. It is vacay after all yanno.

    • LMNOP

      Get some close ups like you do with the flowers…

    • LMAO… you’d gladly do the back shots!?

    • Jennifer

      I could feel you body rolling as you typed this.

      • Lmao@ the drunk uncle dance…
        Yall have some crazy visions of me.

        • Jennifer

          We’re an imaginative group.

    • Jardan Paige D

      more coming! @thisistite

      • ???

        • Jardan Paige D

          that’s our official page


    This is such a beautiful picture.

    • Val


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