*Imma be upfront witchu’ right now. I marvel at some of the sh*t my publisher throws my way and expects me to write about. Like this article on a dating site that has Black folk choosing who they’d like to share their journey with based solely on colorism. I’d of NEVER even looked at this twice because of my own disdain for the whole “light skin, dark skin” bull. What can I say? I just don’t come from that place. But then again, I have always had this way about me that looks at the positive side of everything. And though I will be the first to say not EVERYTHING has a positive side (afterall, I’m still trying to find Donald Trump’s…and yes, I am aware I have identified him as a “thing”) I can lift a positive from why my publisher thought I should write on this colorism site thing: Because, after working with me for close to 15 years, he thinks I can write thoughtful commentary on everything. Anything. As in bar-none. That is the only thing I can think of at this point.
So let’s get started, shall we?
In my opinion, Smoochr was designed for people shallow enough to think that a potential partner can be found (and kept) based on their complexion, grade of hair, and hell, I don’t know, the size of their lips?
Wait! I was just kidding, but even since writing that line I’ve discovered, yes, that is one of the profile questions.
In all honesty, many black folk are mad as hell that such a site exists. And what can you say about a site whose OWNER or FOUNDER won’t even come forth? Hell, we wouldn’t even know about Smoochr if it were not for tech developer Elen Awalom, whose own disdain for the site motivated her to create the hastag #ShutDownSmoochr recently.
So now, here we are. And thanks to an article in The Root, we get to see the profile questions without even having to sign up. We also get to see how others’ feel about the site.
Then there is the article in VSB by writer, Damon Young, that aims to provide some semblance of explanation by way of an “interview” type scenario. Here, Young, who also appears to hold the whole idea of the colorism site in disdain, does a phantom Q&A (maybe its me, but I am unclear with whom) on why such a site even exists and who is expected to support it.
What makes Smoochr special?
Smoochr is special because it allows you to distinguish between, vet, and choose potential dates based on complexion and hair texture. For instance, if you’re specifically into “thick redbones with good hair” — so much so that you feel the need to filter everyone else out — and you weren’t invited to a Knowles family gathering, Smoochr is the site for you.
Basically, if Tariq Nasheed had a baby with Stacey Dash, and that baby was wrapped in old KING Magazine centerfolds instead of a blanket when it was brought home, Smoochr would be that baby.
How has the reception been?
Exactly how you’d anticipate it being. Blavity’s Tyler Young called it a digital paper bag test. At The Root, Yesha “Call Me Eye-esha” Callahan questioned if we were being trolled and also referenced tech developer Elen Awalom’s #shutdownsmoochr campaign.
The pushback exists for reasons obvious to anyone with any awareness of colorism in a historical context and its still resonate and panoramic impact on Black America. Rosa Parks didn’t free the slaves so colorstruck millennials could treat relationships like they’re ordering Raspberry Vanilla Fanta from a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine.
“Yeah, lemme take a large popcorn with extra butter, a pretzel with cheese, and one caramel latte complected Delta with half a freckle on each dimple, Angela Nissel’s hair from the cover of Mixed, and Rachel Dolezal’s disposition. To go, please.”
How do you personally feel about Smoochr?
Oh, I think it’s a great thing and I hope it does well.
You didn’t understand what I said?
I understood perfectly. I’m just in disbelief. You are aware of the colorism issues you referenced like 50 words ago, right?
And how a dating site like this uses that history and that context and the latent insecurities and self-loathings cultivated by that history and that context to exacerbate those issues and make a profit from them?
Yes. Yes I am.
So how can you possibly believe that it existing is a good thing?
Check out the VSB article to see the answer to THAT question and more.