The American actress, activist, and author is herself a dark-skinned woman who has openly spoken about all the challenges she’s faced, including being the victim of colourism.
Gabrielle believes that, “it’s time to start actively breaking down barriers and crossing the lines of beauty standards in America,” Black Sports Online reports.
Speaking to at the Essence Festival in New Orlean she said that she spoke to her two step-sons and her husband’s nephew.
The Being Mary Jane star asked the teen boys about the hottest girls at their high school, and requested to see their Instagram pages:
"Literally, probably about 10 girls I looked at had the same light skin, curly hair, tiny waist, butt, boobs — it was the same girl over and over again," she said.
"So I asked them to show me the most beautiful chocolate sister they've seen. They say there are none. I was like, 'Why do they get exed out so fast? What is happening in your brain that is causing you to look at these women through a prism that is distorting their actual selves?’”
Gabrielle then showed the boys singer and actress, Ryan Destiny’s Instagram account and, "They're like, 'Oh, she bad!'” But she worries that they don’t regard dark-skinned women as beautiful unless they’re supermodels and actresses.
"To me, diversity isn’t the seat at a table that is super tiny," she says. "Inclusion is letting you on the block and at the house — much less at the table."
After struggling with her own identity and beauty standards, Gabrielle is finally at a place where she’s not only comfortable in her skin, but is beautifully basking in all her glory and beauty, exactly as it is:
"Now, we're on the vibe of 'Love me exactly as I am, or not.' I'm so happy in my own skin, I'm so happy in my own body, and I'm so happy in my own identity. It's refreshing."
Young, dark-skinned girls are also struggling with colourism, not only at school, but at home too. One half of the gospel sensation duo Mary Mary, Erica Campbell’s eldest daughter told her mother that she feels ugly because of not only her weight, but skin colour too.
In her family’s new reality show, Erica and her 14-year-old dark-skinned daughter, Krista, have a heart-to-heart about beauty standards and Krista tells her mom, “You’re light-skinned so you don’t really know it feels,” after bringing up examples within their family of light-skinned women and dark-skinned men in relationships like her parents.