Savannah Cristina weighs in on the “protection of black women” conversation, sharing what she believes must happen for black women to be protected. She also dissects “light skinned” privilege, and black beauty representation. Get into her thoughts inside…
She’s soulful. She’s beautiful. And she’s definitely woke.
Savannah Cristina is the breath of fresh air we need when it comes to R&B music.
After making her debut on the music scene in 2016, the 23-year-old South Florida native just gave her fans a sonically beautiful EP titled, Self Care. She defines her sound as “soul therapy” and her tracks are all of that and some. On her track "Gold Mine," she samples Adina Howard's hit track "Freak Like Me," which samples "I'd Rather Be with You" by Bootsy Collins' Rubber Band.
Not only is she a skilled singer, she’s also well aware of what’s happening around her right now. The political science graduate (yes, sis is SMART) has her own take on the notion that black men should protect black women. The soulful songstress doesn’t feel black men should be responsible to protect black women. Now, hear her out on WHY she feels this way this before you start being judgmental.
”I don’t know. I don’t really feel like black men are obligated to protect black women,” she tells TheYBF.com.
“I think that we have a system that has to be dismantled. There’s a system set in place and that system has to change. It’s so much bigger than someone just stepping in like, ‘No!’ Now, that is important. You should do that, but I think we put a lot of the blame on each other.”
There's truth to that. But it would be great if both systemic change and protection while that happened could co-exist..
”We’re being distracted from what’s real. It’s a whole system that has to be dismantled and we’re pointing the finger at each other. It’s like when they say, ‘How do y’all expect the police to stop shooting us when we keep shooting each other?’ And it’s like, ‘What does that have to do with anything?’ This question is bigger than that. It’s ‘How do we change the system because the system is messed up.’”
And we can’t disagree with that. Every system currently operating in the United States should be reevaluated, dismantled and rebuilt so that EVERYONE is included. We’re still operating on rules and laws from centuries ago.
Not only are black people given the short end of the stick in society, black women are often overlooked when it comes to beauty standards. A lot of times when “black beauty” is being featured, a light skinned woman is almost always chosen as the representative. Savannah Cristina wants to see more women like Tika Sumpter be the representative of black beauty.
”There has always been a very big issue with representation of black women,” Savannah said. “We know that and we can’t be blind to that. They always pick the light skinned girl. Always. It’s always been that, so I can understand why people are tired of seeing it. All these beautiful black women that you see. Tika Sumpter is a personal favorite for me. Why do we keep giving it to the same people? I totally get it.”
”black-ish” actress Tracee Ellis Ross – who is biracial – received tons of backlash when ELLE magazine put her on the cover of their inaugural “State of Black Beauty” issue. Some people felt a way that the publication chose Tracee has the representative of black beauty. Here’s Savannah Cristina’s take on the issue:
”Was Barack Obama our first black president?,” she asked. “And that’s all I’m going to say. I totally get it. I grew up in a predominately black community. I’m from South Florida. The prom queens, the prettiest girls in school, the girls I wanted to look like and be like - they were all African-American, black women, Caribbean-American, African women, brown skin, darker toned – those are the women around me growing up that I looked at for beauty. I do understand that there are black women who grew up around only white people and they were subjected to having to subscribe to Eurocentric features. And just imagining how typical that was for them.”
She continued, “We all have different life experiences. Everybody’s emotions are valid because we all have different life experiences. If you don’t think a biracial woman is the face of black beauty, then I cannot disagree with you at all, but I want to know, was Barack Obama our first black president?”
Savannah Cristina acknowledged her own “light skinned privilege,” but made it known that she can still speak out on the injustice that’s has been placed on darker toned women.
”Even the way I look, I look like I could be Tracee Ellis Ross’ cousin. I’m somebody who benefits from the same benefits that she’s getting, but I can still say this is something that has been going on for too long. And if you want to talk about the face of black beauty, let’s always make sure it’s diverse. I don’t know the history of this magazine. I don’t know if they always talk about the face of black beauty. But if they never discuss it and the only time they do is somebody who fits their standards, then that’s something that should be reviewed.”
”I’m not pulling anyone’s black card, but you are allowed to say, ‘It’s time for a change and let’s include everybody.’ Everybody’s perspective is valid.”
And how could you be mad at that?
If you haven't already, be sure to stream Savannah Cristina’s “Self Care” EP on all major streaming platforms and catch her soulful vibes.
Photos: Dennis Leupold