Other People’s Skin

Healing the Skin/Hair “Thang” Between Black Women

The Skin/Hair “Thang” Between Black Women

Good hair, bad hair, redbone, high-yellow, dusty-brown, midnight blue–all are loaded terms that have been used by and about African-Americans to describe the texture of our hair and our various shades of blackness. These centuries-old negative descriptions still evoke the pain and division of a post-slavery caste system within our community that continues to wound and separate members of our village based upon physical characteristics that should be celebrated and embraced instead of denigrated and rejected.

Well not anymore. The Sister4Sister Empowerment Series published by Atria Books/Simon & Schuster, has arrived to promote healing and self-love amongst black women of all shades. Through high-quality, issue related fiction, Sister4Sister’s anthologies will stimulate dialogue and introspection, which can lead to individual and collective healing.

The first volume in the series is Other People’s Skin: Four Novellas, which explores colorism in the black community and invites the reader to explore one of our best kept secrets–differences and discrimination based upon skin color doesn’t just happen between the races, they happen within the races as well. The four novellas of Other People’s Skin help to acknowledge, examine, and heal the skin/hair “thang” between black women and to promote a sense of self-love and cultural pride in people of the African Diaspora.

We all know it takes a village to raise a people, and as women of the village we must strive to cultivate an environment where our daughters thrive on a steady diet of sisterly love and mutual support. Too often black women pass judgments about each other based primarily on physical characteristics of skin tone and hair texture, when in reality we are all linked in a sisterhood of one blood, of one heart, of one soul.

Other People’s Skin seeks to heal this rift between black women and to cleanse our sisterly souls of this polluted by-product of America’s legacy of race-based slavery. The crab-in-the-barrel mentality that may have at one time been necessary for our individual survival has now become a purveyor of our collective demise.

There is safety in numbers, my sisters! It is time to gather our community resources and use our talents and efforts to correct the ills that breed dysfunction and prevent us from rising as unified body of black womanhood and realizing our full potential.

It is our hope that each story in this first volume of the Sister4Sister Empowerment Series will bless you with a healthy dose of self-love, and provide a healing balm for our generational scars.

We hope that through our literary efforts you are able to find a gem of solidarity in this work of fiction that is useful in your everyday life. May you wish for your sisters the same love, serenity, and prosperity you crave for yourself. May you be blessed with the utmost peace and balance, and as you travel along the roads of self-discovery with Carmella, Euleatha, Catherine, and Dahlia, may you always remember…if the hat fits you must wear it!


“Now, more than ever, black women of the world must embrace their God-given beauty and celebrate their inherent blackness in all its blessed glory! Through the gift of literary fiction our stories have the power to heal the wounds of our traumatic past, and we must teach our young black boys and girls that in the words of the late, great Ossie Davis, ‘A Negro kingdom is as vast as any other!’ Truly, truly, truly, black, in all its wondrous shades and skin tones, is beautiful!

–Tracy Price-Thompson, founder, S4S Empower Ourselves, co-editor, Other People’s Skin.
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