The fact is, most extremely successful black men, if they don't marry white, choose to marry light-skinned black women. It doesn't matter whether the men succeeded in politics, sports, entertainment, or business. It doesn't seem to matter whether the men themselves are light-skinned or dark-skinned; it doesn't seem to matter how much they dislike whites. They all want a wife with as much white blood as possible.
There are all sorts of questions that such an observation raises, not least among them: are blacks themselves "racist" against darker-skinned blacks?
Note: the subject of this discussion is not black men who eschew black women altogether, like Tiger Woods or A-Rod or James Earl Jones. Nor is it black men who marry black early in their lives but then dump their wives and subsequently marry white, like Sidney Poitier or Michael Jordan or OJ Simpson. Nor is it black men who get married before they become successful. The subject is black men who marry black women after they've become successful.
Here are some successful black men in entertainment:
Eddie Murphy with first wife Nicole:
Murphy with second wife Tracy Edmonds:
Don Cheadle and longtime partner Bridgid Coulter:
Ving Rhames and second wife Deborah Reed:
Idris Elba and baby mama Naiyana Garth:
Forrest Whitaker and wife Keisha Nash:
Jay Z with his (more famous) wife Beyonce:
There are famous black actors, like Denzel Washington and Samuel L. Jackson, who have dark-skinned wives. But both of their marriages pre-dated their stardom, and both men seem to be the exception rather than the rule.
Athletes seem to follow the same pattern.
Mike Tyson with first wife Robin Givens:
Tyson with second wife Monica Turner:
Mike Tyson with third wife Lakhia Spicer:
The list of top athletes with light-skinned wives is far too lengthy to do any justice to here, but at least 80% of the time when I see pictures of a famous black athlete with his wife, I notice the pattern.
I don't blame any of these men for choosing those women; I actually find some of them attractive myself. The guys pictured above are neither political figures nor racial agitators. They are simply entertainers or athletes who have been successful, and want to enjoy their lives. There's certainly nothing wrong with that.
But blacks who have made a career based partly on racial animus are another matter. Spike Lee is well known for his incendiary comments about race. Most recently he decried the white people who have been moving into Bedford Stuyvesant for ruining the character of the neighborhood. Did he marry a "real" black woman? Here he is with his wife:
No, Spike actually managed to find himself a black wife with blond hair.
Or how about Eric Holder, our Attorney General, who for years ignored the knockout game as not being worthy of his attention, but then, the very first time a white guy did it to a black man, brought federal hate crimes charges against him? (His other initiatives generally reflect that mindset.) Here's Holder with his wife:
Holder is Barbadian, or "Bajan," as they call themselves. (Holder was brought up mostly in New York, but was always conscious of his Barbadian roots.) In Barbados, the government is run by blacks, but they are mostly blacks with skin the hue of Holder's. Upper class Bajans are careful to only intermarry with other light-skinned blacks.
Holder famously said that after Trayvon Martin's death he sat his son down and had a serious talk with him once about how he should deal with the police, who will discriminate against him because of his skin color. Should dark-skinned blacks sit their children down and have a serious talk with them about how some light-skinned blacks like Holder subtly discriminate against them?
In cases like Lee's and Holder's, gravitating towards such extremely light-skinned spouses does seem a bit hypocritical. After all their fulminating against "racist" whites, it appears they are actually practicing some subtle "racism" themselves.
I'm not suggesting marriage should be a political statement -- it is, theoretically, a matter of love -- but the uniformity of choice of skin tone among successful black men does make a loud statement. (The fact that nobody is willing to talk about it in polite company makes an even louder statement.)
Question: if Barack Obama has a real black woman for a wife, then, by that definition, are all of the women pictured above merely fake black women?
My impression is, the only rich and famous black guys willing to marry a woman darker-skinned than themselves are gay guys who want a beard.