The Blacker the Berry by Erica Jasmin Dixon

The Blacker the Berry

Based on conversation had while traveling outside of the U.S.

A foreign woman asked how I got my skin color
A question I had never heard asked before
But one she has probably thought of on those rare occasions
When she saw someone of a brown complexion
“Do you paint it on every morning?”

The question stung with embarrassment,
Not for myself but for her
And the lack of knowledge in a world filled with those of color,
Yet somehow unknown to her and others.

To think that every Black person rises each morning thinking
“Hmm…What shade shall I try today?”
House or field,
Cream or coffee,
Almond or chocolate,
(It doesn’t really matter because we’re all still sweet…)

I explain that I was blessed enough to be born with this melanin,
Carried down from my mother’s mother’s mother
Though I’m sure there is a reason for my light-skinned color…
She gave a look of pity
I smiled cheerfully and stated
“There’s nothing else I’d rather be!”


Erica Jasmin Dixon is a writer, actress, and artist originally from Raeford, North Carolina. She holds an MFA degree from Queens University of Charlotte and her creative work has appeared or is forthcoming in various literary publications, to include I-70 Review, For Women Who Roar, Dream Noir Literary Magazine, and blood orange tarot.

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