At some point in our lives, most Latinxs will experience some sort of run in with colorism. Whether through whitewashed media representation, or racially based criticisms from family and friends – colorism remains an extremely common and virulent form of self-hatred, easily traced to colonialism. Nuanced conversations on colorism are few and far between, which is why Dominican-Brazilian indie pop diva Jarina De Marco decided to put it in the music, centering the poignant issue in her latest single and video, “Identity Crisis.”
In this phenomenal slice of danceable satire, De Marco eviscerates common micro-aggressions like comparisons between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ hair textures, parental pleas to find light skinned spouses to “improve” the family lineage, and far-flung claims of European heritage. “En la sangre Caribeña hay taíno y negritud,” she asserts, also calling out racial categories like “India Clara,” which put hierarchical value on whiteness. The video clip for “Identity Crisis” drives this point even further, with colorful montages lampooning an array of hair-straightening practices, and a surprisingly powerful metaphor of white paint being splattered over pristine flowers, ruining their natural beauty.
“I wrote ‘Identity Crisis’ because I wanted to start a conversation about colorism,” says de Marco via press release. “When I was 11 years old, I moved back to the Dominican Republic from Montreal, where my family and I had been political refugees. It was at that time that I was introduced to the complex systems and rules that were in place.”
The Dominican Republic – as well as most of Latin America and its Diasporas – has a long and complex history of colorism and internalized racism. To further unpack the many manifestations of colorism within our community, De Marco enlisted the help of numerous POC media personalities for an accompanying mini-doc featuring testimonials and historical analysis. The video titled “Conversations on Colorism” spotlights de Marco, as well as Ashlee-Marie Preston of Teen Vogue, and Gadiel del Orbe of Buzzfeed.
You can watch the official video, and the mini-doc below: