Ebony rose from the Earth: 10 lyrics that celebrate black beauty

Photo Credit: The Evolution of She

When the majority of popular culture is filled with images of light skinned beauty; it is always a pleasure to stumble upon lyrics that note the gorgeousness of black people. Here are some of our favourites...


01. Black Gold - Esperanza Spalding

"Now maybe no one else has told you so

But you're golden, baby

Black gold with a diamond soul"

Black Gold is addressed at young African American men, reminding them that the beauty of black history that they carry goes far beyond the battle for civil rights or even the fight against slavery; they are reminded that they carry the elegance and magnificence of their African ancestors.


02. India Arie - I Am Not My Hair

"You can shave it off

Like a South African beauty

Or get it on lock like Bob Marley

You can rock it straight

Like Oprah Winfrey..."

The politics of black women's hair is such a heated topic, and it can become tiring explaining your own personal choices in styling when there stigmas attached however you chose to wear it. India Arie, in all of her empowering loveliness, invalidates this and tells us the way we chose to wear our hair does not have to define us as people, as well as drawing attention to the amazing versatility of our hair!


03. Kendrick Lamar ft. Rapsody - Complexion (A Zulu Love)

"Black as brown, hazelnut, cinnamon, black tea

And it's all beautiful to me

Call your brothers magnificent, call all the sisters


We all on the same team, blues and pirus,

No colours ain't a thing..." 

A collaboration we loved before we even heard it... Complexion (A Zulu Love) speaks of a utopia in which dark skin is no longer an obstacle, encouragingly referencing large steps we have taken today. The celebration of dark skin expressed by both Lamar and Rapsody so eloquently on this track is so refreshing. 


04. Muluken Melesse - Kemekem


"You with the beautiful afro, 

You're delicious like injera and sweet like tej, 

A homeboy is just like that too..."

Muluken Melesse was an Ethiopian musician of the 1970s. "Kemekem" means "Afro" and is a rare oldie dedicated to a beautiful natural haired girl.


06. Black Star - Brown Skin Lady

"Baby, What you mean you don't think you look good?

You know what some people put themselves through to look just like you?

Dark stockings, high heels, lipstick all'a that..."

Brown Skin Lady is an affectionate tribute to dark skinned girls everywhere, filled with beautiful sentiments and reminders of the grace and loveliness that black women naturally possess that others often try to emulate. 


07. Donnie - Cloud 9

Happy to be nappy

I'm black and I'm proud

That I have been chosen to wear the conscious cloud

And I'm fine under cloud 9..."

Donnie speaks of the freeing feeling of deciding to wear your hair natural, pride, acceptance, contentment and a loving embrace of who you truly are. We particularly love the description of natural hair as "the conscious cloud".


08. Boogiemonsters - Honeydips in Gotham

Sister Africa with the oriental eyes

Here she come

Ebony rose from the Earth

Gettin' darker in the sun

Cocomo complexion

Brown sugar with the smile,

Sun showers to the knees

Love flower by the Nile..."

These lyrics reflect a true love for all aspects of black beauty, which is refreshing as a stark comparison to the negative representation of women, or even the complete lack of acknowledgement of dark skinned women at all in popular music.


09. Saul Williams - Black Stacey

"I used to use bleaching creme

Til Madam C.J. Walker walked into my dreams

I dreamt of being white and complimented by you

Now, I apologise for bottling up

All the little things you said that warped my head and my gut..."

Skin bleaching has been, and still is a huge issue facing the back community. The pressure to conform to Eurocentric standards of beauty has been causing black people the world over to compromise their integrity and health for lighter skin. Saul Williams pays homage to Madam C.J, Walker; the early 21st Century entrepreneur and pioneer, making hair and beauty products for back women.


10. Arrested Development - Dawn of the Dreads

"Sisters have always fascinated me

The many shades, the many sizes and features

Such a wide variety of African women..."

While black people suffer from being stereotyped, pigeon-holed and put racially profiled; Arrested development choose to celebrate the diversity of beauty that they find in blackness.

Aicha DaffeComment