As Love And Hip Hop Atlanta made its season debut on VH1, the world was shocked to discover that international superstar Spice, was considering the lightening her skin. Her whole life she has faced issues with colorism, and finally decided to take a stance against it.
To most, this tactic seems like a drastic measure, but you would have to understand the ramifications colorism placed on this creative’s life.
From her tender upbringng in Jamaica to the airwaves of reality television, the complexion of Grace “Spice” Hamilton’s skin has always been a topic of discussion. She finally has the courage to speak out about it and is giving a voice to an underrepresented societal issue.
I caught up with the superstar for a quick interview to discuss being the face of colorism, the inspiration behind her “Black Hipocrisy” video, and using her platform to cultivate change.
RESPECT.: In what ways have your Jamaican upbringing impacted your stance on colorism, self worth and the way people view you in the American media?
Spice: Since I was child use to get nickname blakcy for my complexion. This has been an on going thing since I was a child all the way until now. It has affected me all of my life. In Jamaica my friends have bleached their skin and they are praised for it, because lighter shades of black is popping in Jamaica.
In my “Black Hypocrisy” video I go into the coloring of hair, because you can’t wear natural hair. If you do they are going to say you looked a mess but you can change your hair color and be a hot girl in my life.
RESPECT.: What message are you trying to convey to other black girls struggling with colorism and or having issues succeeding in the entertainment world because of the complexion of their skin?
Spice: Even though the message is quite ironic to my approach to colorism black hypocrisy explains the message. I was trying to use myself as a billboard, it’s the modern way via social media since going on the road is no longer a thing. I wanted to use myself as a billboard I wanted to cause shock value.
Everyday people are saying black is beautiful, but is everybody practicing what they preach. You will degrade a dark skinned, but won’t defend her. I stood up and provoked the black community to talk about this by lightening my skin to create shock value. I have a strong message, even though I may do it a little differently.
RESPECT.: With a platform like Love and Hip Hop, how important is it for your voice to be heard, and how have you used it to reach a broader audience in relation to your music?
Spice: I used it to make my voice be heard because it is powerful. If every Monday I am going to be on vh1 I am forcing people to talk about it. Whether people will think good or bad, my main point is to have people talking about colorism. To have many people talking about this after years, that is my mission.
Colorism is something that is misunderstood by the black community, so some people do not get it and lack the knowledge needed to process my stance. As my decision also was featured on The Wendy Williams Show, I am using my platform to open it up on Wendy Williams and Love and hip hop on a global level.
RESPECT.: How has all of this effected your music career?
Spice: You know what it has been great the moment I dropped the song it went number 1 on uk charts, super grateful it hit number 1 for me, I know it wont happen over night so I am planting the seed to keep working until I get that major cross over .
RESPECT.: What is the status of you and your contract with VP Records?
Spice: Lately we have spoke and I want to get out because it has been ten years and they haven’t released an album, I put matters into my own hands produced and wrote my own album, super proud of if I did it on my own. Imagine if I had a record label what I would do.
RESPECT.: How does the music industry view you since taking such a powerful stance?
Spice: Views me as bold because everyone isnt as brave as me and the way I’ve done it with the stance Ive done, is bold and brave. I think what is happening now that the show is so detailed and because its has passed , the misconception of the show being shown is preshot so it puts it in the presence and that’s not the case.
RESPECT.: Tell me a little bit more about the Grace Hamilton Women’s Empowerment Foundation and what it means to you?
Spice: Basically it’s a foundation to enrich women through entrepreneurship and education. Education is the key to a great future, but entrepreneurship is so important.
With this foundation I am teaching women independence and the necessity of redefining the role women play in society. I recently sent a young lady to college with 300,000 to further her deams and goals. in September I will open up a couple of businesses, World wide.
RESPECT.: As a role model, mother and entertainer, what do you look forward to most in life?
Spice: I look forward to most in life is my kids, seeing them and making sure they have a successful future on the Grace Hamilton side. On the Spice side I am here to win the grammys and work with other great people in the music industry.
RESPECT.: When can we expect a new Spice album?
Spice: Sometime this year definitely. I am really excited about this new project.
To get a better understanding of just how powerful Spice’s voice and message is, check out her “Black Hypocrisy” video. You cannot help but to feel inspired, liberated and humbled by her heroic efforts to shift the culture forever. Press play below.
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