In many parts of Nigeria, across all social strata, fair-complexion women are head turners. If you haven’t noticed it, please look out for men’s reaction to them, even in public. 


A popular Yoruba oldie may have passed just as a good entertaining song, but now it looks like the truth. “Omo pupa o, omo pupa la wa n fe; omo pupa o ju wo mo feran re o.” It literally means “light-skinned girl, you are the one we want, light- skinned girl, please I love you.”

World speed star, Usian Bolt, drew unusual attention to the syndrome, when after deserved getting his country women stand behind him in the spectacular London Olympics victories, he was found to be dating on Oyinbo, as he had always done.

Rather than his own folk, black Bolt, (so black even the blind will see his skin colour), hit town with a white lady, 28-year-old Miss Slovak.  For fashion designer Lubica , it was special opportunity to show her love, so what did it matter with Bolt’s arm around her waist all over the place.


But, “oooch”, Bolt’s fellow black Jamaicans shouted painfully. Should they? It happens in Nigeria too o. Men tend to prefer light-skinned babes to black, (no, it should be dark-skinned) babes.

I find this very touching: ‘These superstars will always disappoint when we depend on them to raise our racial identity.’

Racial identity! Hmmmmmmmm!


A friend of mine said people identify with race when they are poor. Money comes in and it is “love knows no colour.”

That is serious talk.

This other respondent in the Bolt story sounds funny, but sends a clear message: ‘I hope when he’s ready to settle down he chooses a beautiful Jamaican black woman … In the meantime have fun “responsibly”, cause some “pretty girls” just a wait fi “lock u down” for the wrong reasons.’

Proponents of the fairer-the-better Complex readily cite other cases like Tiger Woods, whose career came tumbling down with his marriage. In fact, the angry Jamaicans called Bolt ‘the next Tiger Woods’, referring to his £60million divorce settlement with Swedish former model Elin Nordegren.


The Brother, Tiger, has a new woman in his life. Again she is white. But the coincidence of the new entrant and the resurgence of The Brother’s career is suggestive of an issue worth investigating.

Although, I followed Tiger’s story carefully, and as a body language reader, and I have been observing the reaction of men to light-complexion women, it was the suicide of Mr. Soul Train that made it register in my head as a complex.

Don Cornelius, who was found dead in his Sherman Oaks, California home, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He was taken a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead at 75 years.

I got myself thinking when I read that Don and his wife ended a bitter divorce battle before death.  According to the reports, Don and Viktoria had a troubled marriage. Viktoria, a former adult film star, Russian model and former Miss Ukraine, became Don’s second wife after the exit of his African-American wife. Six years on, Viktoria filed for divorce in 2007.


In 2008, Cornelius was arrested at his Mulholland Drive home on suspicion of domestic violence. According to the police report, she pepper sprayed him multiple times.

That year, he appeared in court, charged with spousal abuse. He pleaded not guilty before later pleading no contest the following year. He was placed on 36-month probation. He was also ordered to complete a 52-week domestic battery violence treatment, 300 hours of community service and stay 100 yards away from where the attack took place.

The couple became legally divorced in 2009. During final divorce proceedings that year, Cornelius complained about the emotional toll the relationship had taken on his life as well as his declining health. He told an L.A. judge he was suffering from “significant health issues” and wanted to “finalize this divorce before I die,” according to TMZ, which also reported that he suffered a stroke later and had brain surgery.

He shot himself three years later. The perspectives change a little situating the complex at home, but here too light-skinned women seem to catch attention and/or lust of men faster.  I have observed it; some surveys have confirmed it. The point is that all things being equal, most men will be more attracted to the light-skinned lady who walks pass them than the dark-skinned lady of similar shape.


Women know this all too well, and it has become the endorsement or positive reinforcement for bleaching their skins, despite the health hazards. City People reported last month celebrity women’s craze for chemical skin peel to bleach and look good. Bleach and look good!

Among the surveys on the subject is one by my friend, Chima Ekenyerengozi. Light skin came up tops among the five features respondents used to pick babes.

There is additional evidence from Kenya. Very Interesting! According to the study, some borrowers may have a built-in advantage in getting our attention—specifically the ones who are prettier, lighter-skinned females. The study, which was led by Walter Theseira of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, focused on and used one month of lending data from their site.  Kiva is a  non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world.

Researchers worked with the info provided on each borrower and coded the photos used in their profiles to indicate their attractiveness and skin color (which was based on an established skin color scale). What they found was that people who were lighter-skinned got loans more quickly than people who were darker-skinned. Women did better than men, and attractiveness also influenced how quickly people got their loans funded.

Wikipedia also treats this subject. It says the preference for lighter-skinned women has remained prevalent over time, even in cultures without European contact, though exceptions have been found. Anthropologist Peter Frost stated that since higher-ranking men were allowed to marry the perceived more attractive women, who tended to have fair skin, the upper classes of a society generally tended to develop a lighter complexion than the lower classes by sexual selection. Exceptions have been found to this observation in Cameroon, where in the Bikosso tribe, they found no preference for attractiveness of females based on lighter skin color.

However, today, skin bleaching is not uncommon in parts of the world such as Africa, and a preference for lighter-skinned women generally holds true for African Americans, Latin Americans, and Asians.

In the US, the complex looks easier to understand. Julius, my Africa-American brother there has had a go at it. He said: “It goes back to slavery. It was taboo or death for a black man to be with a white woman: same throughout the dark segregation. For some men, therefore, it gives a feeling of conquest or superiority to have a white woman. This is coupled with the media obsession with blondes and blue eyes being the epitome of beauty. And lastly feelings among many that white women are easier to handle and offer less resistance or back talk.”

I am yet to find a convincing scientific reason of universal application for this behaviour among men, especially in Nigeria. I am still searching. Meanwhile I tend to agree with Anthropologist Peter Frost when he said: “When an individual is faced with potential mates of equal value, he will tend to select the one that stands out from the crowd.”

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