Food for Thought

Why are all Nigerian Brides Yellow?

September 12, 2017

I’m playing a little catch up today! This was what I wrote for the #30dayAfriblogger Challenge for Day 9: My thoughts on Colorism. But it actually also fits today’s BlogtemberChallenge: “Skin Deep,” and yesterday blogtemberchallenge as well: “Tying the knot.” So wow…talk about efficient: 1 stone, 3 birds!

In all seriousness, I’m super bummed at myself for falling off the wagon so hard, but it’s taught me a few important lessons that I’m saving for Day 15 of this challenge where I recap what I’ve learned so far.

Until then, these are my thoughts on a particular aspect of colorism within the Nigerian community. For those that don’t now, colorism is a term coined by Alice Walker that means discrimination based off the shade of one’s skin color. This should not be confused with racism, as colorism occurs within the same race.

Until skin bleaching is no longer a thing, we will always have an issue with colorism in this country. But I do want to talk about something that’s been bothering me lately:

All Nigerian brides are fairer than their groom. 

Have you ever spent some time scrolling through BellaNaija weddings or Nigerian weddings or just googling Nigerian weddings?

Have you ever noticed that in almost of the pictures of the couple, the woman is lighter than the guy. Sometimes, just sometimes, their complexions are similar. To their credit, both Nigerians Weddings and BellaNiaja Weddings show a few dark skinned brides for makeup or hair ads/information.…but we don’t see them with their beau.

Are we to think that:

  1. The majority of Nigerian women are mid to fair complexion? – clearly not true
  2. Men only marry women with skin lighter than theirs? – possible 
  3. Maybe all the make-up artists make the girls lighter than their men on the wedding day? – very possible
  4. Are our men just naturally darker than us? – tough to know


Just spend some time scrolling through these two Instagram pages I mentioned above and tell me I’m wrong. I just haven’t seen one where the bride is darker than her husband, unless he’s not Black.

Where are my dark skinned sisters marrying our yellow paw-paw men?

Don’t get me wrong, I think plenty of Nigerian brides are lighter than their grooms, but you can’t tell me ALL of them are. Where are my dark skinned sisters marrying our yellow paw-paw men? I know they must be out there. It just seems that these sites don’t highlight their weddings…or maybe they just aren’t submitting them?

Even a few of the darker brides they actually show, their groom is still darker than them. And the few yellow grooms, their bride still manages to be yellower. It’s as if a darker man is something we come to expect visually, like a taller man.

What does this say about Nigerian media, Nigerian weddings and our standards of beauty? What do you people think? Are these sites doing it on purpose? Is it subconscious? Is it a deeper window into revealing a certain aesthetic that we expect from our women…especially to be considered a desirable bride. An aesthetic that we expect from our couples to be considered a “handsome couple” and worthy to be featured on such a site.

Personally, I think that Nigerian weddings are an extravaganza that is admired around the world and many other West African cultures tend to pick up on our trends. For this reason, we – particularly wedding aggregate sites – have a responsibility to feature the diversity of Nigerian weddings traditions – but particularly the couples that are present in them.

Help me out here people…have you noticed it too? Am I seeing things? Is it the make-up? Would love to know your thoughts below.



Omolayo Nkem

*Pictures in this post are not my own. The featured image is from Jumia Travel and the 2nd image is from Bella Naija

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  • Reply LoriKemi May 14, 2018 at 07:00

    CRYING because I too noticed this – the skin of brides in BN posts on Instagram and the website tends to be fair and almost always lighter than that of the groom… I just assumed it was due to heavy makeup, lighting and editing of the photographs..?

    • Reply Omolayo Nkem May 14, 2018 at 17:33

      I definitely think that’s part of it too! But I just know how Nigerians can be with “yellow paw paw girls” and how much fair skin is both envied and praised, that I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if 1. men tend to be more attracted to them and 2. editors of these sites, subconsciously pick these types of couples because they match our ideas of what adorable couples look like.
      But definitely, our too liking make-up is a HUGE part of this, no doubt about that. Because even brides that are only a bit lighter than their husband will look dramatically lighter than him on their wedding day.

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