Here's why DaniLeigh's Yellow Bone song "celebrating" light-skinned black women is problematic

If you haven’t already heard about the controversy singer DaniLeigh’s new song has caused over the internet this past weekend, then where have you been? To bring you up to date, American singer DaniLeigh recently released a one-minute snippet of a song on Instagram that she entitled  Yellow bone with the lyrics repeatedly stating, “yellow bone is what he wants”. She received backlash over the lyrics as listeners accused her of perpetuating colourism, whilst a handful of people claimed they didn't find it offensive, but more of a "joke" to her being "off beat" and the poor quality of the song. 

While there is nothing inherently wrong with making a song celebrating your complexion or being proud of where you’re from, in my opinion, the song was rooted in arrogance, privilege, and wasn't uplifting in any shape or form. 



 The first issue is that she labels herself a "yellow bone" when allegedly she is not a light-skinned or mixed Black woman. The term yellow bone is used to describe light-skinned Black women and social media users quickly took to the internet to bring up receipts that her parents are not Black, but, Dominican with European Descent. This led people to question her black roots and in a since-deleted tweet she responded to the accusations saying: "I'm Spanish, I'm black I'm white.. leave me alone". Some likened it to the moment when artist Veronica on Love and Hip Hop was called out for using the 'N' word on the show and maintained that she is a Black woman. While there are individuals who claim to be Afro-Latina, there are others who deny their African ancestry and use it when it suits them. For racially ambiguous women there is a pride that comes with being seen as a Black woman, but when it comes to being Black, nobody is first in line to want "black people problems". 



The lyrics perpetuate colourist narrative that dark-skinned black women are not as desirable as light-skinned women 

Danileigh defended her anthem as one for her "light-skinned baddies" and in her most recent apology video on Instagram (now taken down) said: "I see brown skin women flaunt their skin all the time in music. Why can’t I talk about mine?" Whilst there are songs out there celebrating black women such as Beyonce’s Brown Skin Girl, the problem is that nowhere in DaniLeigh's lyrics was there any 'uplifting' of light-skinned women. The lyrics "yellow bone is what he wants" celebrates light-skinned women in relation to them being what men ("he") want, which subconsciously perpetuates the negative stereotype that paints light-skin women being more desirable than dark-skinned women, which has been a battle amongst the black community for the longest time. In a tweet, she labelled critics as "haters" but the backlash has less to do with hate and more to do with the subconscious message it sends to girls. It shows that to lift your own up, you have to put others down. To me, the song lacks substance and empowerment and instead promotes the superficial. 

Her response stating "I don't see colour" highlights a lack of awareness and accountability 

In her most recent apology video posted on her Instagram page (now removed), she argues that she didn't mean to offend anyone, and she "could never be a colourist" because she dates a "chocolate man" and has “beautiful dark-skinned friends” - not once referring to them as Black. Using this excuse is not dissimilar to saying that one can't be racist because they have Black friends. Her apology also lacked accountability because if she does not see colour then it would have not made sense to write a whole song about being a “yellow bone”. Overall it is telling and also a shame to see that the people around her/her PR label have not informed her or given her proper tools to formulate a decent apology. There is also a lot to say about DaBaby being quiet about this situation.

While it is important that DaniLeigh does see this as a learning curve, it is important to also speak up when certain types of music and entertainment becomes problematic and to stop enforcing the negative stereotypes made in the Black community.



Credit photo:

Written by Tracy Winu Landu  

Follow Tracy on Twitter and Instagram


  • lavender

    all that and she’s not even Black

  • Tina

    That’s why her goofy ass got put out of her baby daddy house. Make music with substance, not some anthem glorifying “light skin” America has done enough of that. Make a song to actually make you money so you will no longer be homeless. Bye.

  • sarahhh

    she not even light skin

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