Eric Benet’s latest song “Redbone Girl” featuring Lil' Wayne has been met with intense scrutiny and critical commentary. Many fans are upset with the soul singer for crooning the praises of light-skinned women, and Lil' Wayne adding insult to injury with his rap lyrics. "Long hair," "thick redbone," and "light-skinned, lighter than a feather" are just a few of the words that have catalyzed criticism of the song. However, Benet is defending his music, calling the negative response racist on CBS Local.
"I think it’s its own form of racism," said the Benet. "I did a song called ‘Chocolate Legs’ about my experience with a dark-skinned lady. There was no anger or uproar of ‘How dare you.’ So ‘Redbone Girl’ is one song about one experience about a girl who happens to be light complexioned, but there was quite an uproar."
The Grammy Award nominee went on to say that since the issue is so sensitive, it needs more discussion. He isn’t the first to make a song about skin color, as India Arie’s 2001 hit "Brown Skin" celebrated her mahogany complexion. However, light skin is often associated with privilege in black communities, and darker skin sometimes met with disdain.
"What I was trying to do as a songwriter is talk about the beauty of all. One at a time," explained the R&B crooner. The negative reaction could just be racial insecurity or an addition to the larger conversation of skin color hierarchy.
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(Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for ABC)