Please stop lightening Paris Jackson's skin — thank you

Paris Jackson took to Twitter with a request that shouldn’t have to be made: Don’t lighten her skin. Jackson, who grew up amid persistent rumors about the reasons behind her father Michael Jackson‘s changing skin tone, wants fans to know how proud she is of her complexion.

Paris Jackson is very proud of her skin tone and mixed heritage. (Photo: Getty Images)
Paris Jackson is very proud of her skin tone and mixed heritage. (Photo: Getty Images)

Jackson is a model signed to IMG, but the problem comes from fans, not branded campaigns. The 19-year-old noticed that her skin color was edited on fan art and took a moment to acknowledge her fans’ support before laying down the law.

“i appreciate everything y’all make for me, i enjoy every single edit i see. but please stop lightening my skin to make me look more white. and please stop darkening my skin to make me look more mixed. i am what i am. i’m aware of what i look like and i finally happy with it,” she wrote.

As Jackson told Rolling Stone, “I consider myself black.” Her mixed-race background has been a source of confusion before, she explained. “Most people that don’t know call me white. I’ve got light skin, and, especially since I’ve had my hair blond, I look like I was born in Finland or something.” For anyone — especially her fans — that’s no excuse for changing her skin tone.

Fan accounts responded, apologized, and acknowledged that Jackson’s skin may have been, perhaps mistakenly, altered in some photos. Others wrote in to cheer on Jackson’s self-love. “Its so sad we live in a society where people have to edit things to satisfy their description of what is acceptable to fit into society or what they think society wants to see,” one fan wrote in. “Never change, stand strong!”

As Jackson continues her modeling career, she may continue to face the racist tendencies of photo editors. Kerry Washington has dealt with skin lightening on her own magazine covers — twice! In 2015, fans called out InStyle for making Washington look like “a white woman with no cheekbones.” The following year, Washington made the cover of AdWeek and was surprised to find her skin tone changed. This time, she took the magazine to task herself. “Look, I’m no stranger to Photoshopping. It happens a lot. Yesterday, however, I just felt weary. It felt strange to look at a picture of myself that is so different from what I look like when I look in the mirror. It’s an unfortunate feeling,” Washington said at the time.

Lupita Nyong’o‘s skin was lightened on a 2014 Vanity Fair cover. Nyong’o is still dealing with this issue; this year, Grazia U.K. was forced to apologize after it edited out her natural hair. “Had I been consulted, I would have explained that I cannot support or condone the omission of what is my native heritage with the intention that they appreciate that there is still a long way to go to combat the unconscious prejudice against black women’s complexion, hairstyle, and texture,” said Nyong’o. The list of black celebrities who’ve had their skin lightened in the media is long — Beyoncé, Rihanna, Gabourey Sidibe, among others.

Kudos to Jackson for drawing a line against Photoshop and skin lightening, even when the editing is from fans.

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