Interview: Bianca Bonnie Lets Her #BlackGirlMagic Shine On ‘Faith In These Brownskins’
Bianca Bonnie is determined to make a statement with her music. Formerly known as Young B, the Love and Hip Hop NY star is placing her energy into her first love. To kick off her 2017, the Harlemite has released visuals to “Faith in These Brownskins,” a rebuttal of sorts to Fabolous’ mention of light skinned women on “Faith In Me,” from his Summertime Shootout mixtape.
But don’t be quick to call it a diss. While Fab’s track is an homage to Faith Evans (her 2002 single “I Love You” is sampled), Bianca tackles the “pretty for a dark-skinned girl” line that has continued to fall off the lips of African-American men to melanin-poppin women. “I don’t really got a problem with them light skins/I just know that I’m still popping up in my skin,” she raps.”This that Black Girl Magic that I’m so bad b***h/That make sure you love yourself cuz these n****s is average.” The track showcases Bianca’s effortless wordplay and her commendable self-esteem, a notion that can get dragged and withered in the music industry.
Chatting with VIBE, Bianca shares her visual for “Faith In These Brownskins,” her upcoming project 10 Plus and what’s to come on LHHNY.
Your song “Faith In These Brownskins” basically sums up how you feel about the plight “darker” women of color face when it comes to dating men from our race. What was your initial reaction when you heard Fab’s song?
Initially, I wasn’t surprised when I heard Fab’s song, “Faith in Me” where he says “I only have faith in these light skins.” The music industry and even society in general seems to favor women with light-skinned complexions. Ethnicities where women have fairer skin are considered “exotic” and to be more beautiful by many people. Even as a millennial when I was growing up, it was rare to see women that looked like me playing lead roles in movies, television, or even music videos. Personally, I wanted to use my platform in the music industry as an opportunity to be a voice that represents women of my ethnicity and skin tone in a positive manner.
How do you think the music industry views black women? Do you think it’s reflected in the music?
It’s clear that the music industry could portray beautiful black women in a more positive light. Women who have darker skin tones have to push the limit and go extra hard to get the same exposure and credit that fairer complexioned women take for granted. This has a way of making some darker women feel that their skin is not as beautiful, cool, or even “in” and that is just not acceptable to me. If you just listen to some of our music you’ll find the effects of colorism right at the surface. For instance, Kodak Black has lyrics where he says: “I don’t want no Black B!#%h” “Where them yellow bones? – I don’t want no black bitch – I’m already black, don’t need no black bitch.” When artists who are hot in the industry spout this type of colorist propaganda, it conditions our women to see themselves as “less than.” It conditions new generations of our men to view us as less valuable, less beautiful and continues the cycle of unnecessary separations within the Black community. We are all beautiful Black women that come in a variety of tones, but I had to stand up and make a record that celebrates, lends support and can be a voice for the brown-skinned ladies.
What do you love most about the skin you’re in?
What I love most about the skin I’m in is that it’s flawless. I’m comfortable in my own skin because that’s how I was created. My black is beautiful and I embrace it because skin color doesn’t take away from my life. My mother is light-skinned with freckles and reddish hair but she always tells me how beautiful I am. In fact, she loves my skin color more than her own! My parents have definitely taught me how to love myself and have also instilled a positive outlook in me for who I am: beautiful from within and out. The on-going issue is that many African-American women with darker skin don’t always experience this sense of self to learn and know that they are beautiful despite what society appears to favor. No one is telling them what they should hear, so I’m going to do it through my music.
What does “pretty” mean to you?
Pretty is such a superficial word. Anything or anyone can be “pretty.” I don’t put too much stake in defining that. Everyone has their own idea of what pretty means and it’s really subjective. I will just say that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
You’ve been making music for some time now. With the world at a social tipping point,
where is your music headed?
Most times, my music is a reflection of how I’m feeling or what is going on around me at the time that I’m in creative mode. For me, writing songs provides an escape from the craziness of the world and is also a fantastic outlet for relieving stress. Most of all, being involved with music just makes me feel really great. It’s where I can talk about my life and my dreams. Ideally, as I continue to grow and evolve as an individual, my music will also be elevated by my experiences and maturity.
What are some other moves you are making outside of Love and Hip Hop NY?
Outside of LHHNY, I’m very active on the music, acting and fashion sides of my career. On the music front, I released my first full music project last August titled The 9th Year which is available on all music platforms (Apple Music, Tidal, Spotify) including my own Pandora station: “Bianca Bonnie.” I also have a new music video coming out for my song “MVP” from the project featuring artist/actor Rotimi who plays Dre on the Starz hit series Power. I’m currently putting the finishing touches on my new project titled 10 Plus which is dropping in March. I’m very excited and can’t wait for my fans to hear it. On the acting front, I’ve recently been cast in the YouTube series “Respect Life” which is amazing since I’m really interested in expanding my career beyond music and into acting. On the fashion front, I’m currently developing a fun and sexy swimwear & choker line which I’ll be announcing pretty soon. So I am and will certainly continue making a lot of moves in addition to Love and Hip Hop.
What can we expect in the final episodes of this season?
Well, now that all my love triangle drama is over (lol), you can expect to see me focused on what comes first and foremost in my life which is my music. I’m all about my business and my craft and the priorities I tackle on the show reflect that. I won’t let anyone or anything come in between me and my 1st love: music. I just want the opportunity to show the world the full scope of my talent and mydancing, singing, rapping, and songwriting capabilities. Watch and see me chase and catch every last one of my dreams.