DaniLeigh’s Apology for the ‘Yellow Bone’ Controversy Only Makes It Worse

Singer DaniLeigh has been at the center of a social media storm after posting a snippet of her song “Yellow Bone” last week. In the since-deleted video, the singer bops to her track, mouthing along to the lyrics, “Yellow Bone is what he wants…yellow bone is what he wants.”

Social media was quick to point out the problems with the song, naming the colorism and anti-Blackness at the core of “Yellow Bone.” While others postulated that it was a diss track aimed at the ex-girlfriend of DaBaby, who is currently dating DaniLeigh. Despite the call outs, DaniLeigh doubled down, writing on her Instagram (in a since-deleted post), “Why can’t I make a song for my light skin baddies?” In a Twitter post, she continued, “…only God can ‘cancel’ me…that sh*t don’t mean sh*t to me.”

The singer, who identifies as Dominican, later backtracked and issued an apology on Monday, appearing on video in a fresh set of box braids. “It wasn’t something that I looked at deeply… I’m sorry that I wasn’t sensitive to the topic… I definitely feel misunderstood.” But many didn’t feel her apology was sincere, especially since the singer used her relationship with a “chocolate man” as a reason why she’s not racist.

The “topic” DaniLeigh references is colorism, a byproduct of anti-Black racism that results in a system in which those with lighter skin tones are treated more favorably. Colorism doesn’t just appear in the Black community but throughout the Afro Diaspora: It manifests in better job opportunities, housing, and overall social and class mobility that is often denied to dark skinned Black people. Popular examples of colorism include the “paper bag test,”blue vein societies,” and the erasure of dark skinned Black women and men in media and popular culture

What does this all have to do with DaniLeigh? The singer, who identifies as Dominican American, is referencing “yellow bone,” a Southern AAVE (African American Vernacular) term used to describe light skinned Black women. But “yellow bone” isn’t simply a physical designation—it comes with a hefty legacy of colorism behind it. Light skinned Black women are venerated as the standard of Black beauty. We see ourselves represented in the media, more often than not, while enjoying all the other privileges that come with racial ambiguity.

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