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TrojanDad

Colorism Debate

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17 minutes ago, TrojanDad said:

Coming back from Europe and I have been watching on the news the debate/discussion about Will Smith playing the part of the William's sisters father.  Anyone else following this?

 

Thoughts?

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-47468011

 

Hadn't see this, but it's part of the dynamics left over, but still impactful, from slavery and general societal attitudes based on shades of Blackness.  

In part, it's tied to the old storylines of "house ni**ers" and "field ni**ers" and how White society treated, tolerated, overlooked, missed, etc. lighter-skinned Blacks vs. darker-skinned Blacks.  It definitely created and drove a wedge in the community and still to this day, continues to pit Blacks against each other. 

For me, I typically tend to look at the acting of a role as opposed to the race; however, I completely understand the issue of Blacks and other minorities in general wanting to be representatives of their own racial identities as well as sub-groups within a race ... especially when it comes to playing real people.  I think it's less of a concern if you are talking about fictional characters.  In some instances where you do have real characters, there may indeed be artistic value/design in casting juxtaposition ... imagine doing The Passion of The Christ with an all-Asian cast or, much more recently the multi-cultural Hamilton.  I can also certainly see an argument from the perspective that dark-skinned Blacks already get so few opportunities at roles in Hollywood and I am sympathetic to that. 

Robert Townsend's Hollywood Shuffle, comedically does a pretty good job of hitting at the topic and, if I recall correctly, even touches on the dark/light issue as well.  Another film to take a look at is Bill Duke's, Light Girls.  Bill has been the face of dark-skinned Blacks in Hollywood even though, while people recognize him, they rarely know his name or his director/producer roles.  His documentary looks specifically at the the roll of colorism/shading in, particularly, American culture.  I'd also be remiss if I didn't also mention Spike Lee's School Daze,  which has an underlying tone tied to Blacks working to put aside the dividing issue of colorism by exposing the conflict with the race based around color.  While most of the movie takes place within a college atmosphere, there's a seen where Laurence Fishburn and his crew run into local Blacks at a fast food restaurant.  It extends the colorism issue and makes it more complex by adding in an additional confounding issue of education too.

A couple of interesting first-hand accounts of the color divide, including terminology like "high yellow" which normally tends to be heard within race, can be found in Good Men Project online ...

https://goodmenproject.com/ethics-values/kt-youre-black-so-why-do-you-talk-white/

https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/cnorris-the-question-im-often-asked-as-a-high-yellow-black-man/

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Sorry, when you said Will Smith I thought of this:

Will-Smith-as-Genie-blue-in-Aladdin.jpg

Isn't this blueface racist towards real Genies?

 

Edited by Muda69
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1 hour ago, TrojanDad said:

Coming back from Europe and I have been watching on the news the debate/discussion about Will Smith playing the part of the William's sisters father.  Anyone else following this?

 

Thoughts?

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-47468011

 

Heard about this controversy over the weekend in Toronto.  Some people (not sure who) are pretty upset about this.  The Williams actual father is a "darker" shade of black then Will Smith is.  Brings to mind the argument over the black Annie character from a few years back.  SF was more upset about her losing the red hair as opposed to the color of her skin.

I think Will Smith is a stellar actor and would do a great job in about any role.  

So "Colorism" is now a thing, eh?

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So if Mr. Smith uses makeup to make his complexion darker for this role would that be the same as going "blackface"?

 

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5 minutes ago, swordfish said:

Heard about this controversy over the weekend in Toronto.  Some people (not sure who) are pretty upset about this.  The Williams actual father is a "darker" shade of black then Will Smith is.  Brings to mind the argument over the black Annie character from a few years back.  SF was more upset about her losing the red hair as opposed to the color of her skin.

I think Will Smith is a stellar actor and would do a great job in about any role.  

So "Colorism" is now a thing, eh?

Skin color among black people has always been a “thing”

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6 minutes ago, swordfish said:

Heard about this controversy over the weekend in Toronto.  Some people (not sure who) are pretty upset about this.  The Williams actual father is a "darker" shade of black then Will Smith is.  Brings to mind the argument over the black Annie character from a few years back.  SF was more upset about her losing the red hair as opposed to the color of her skin.

I think Will Smith is a stellar actor and would do a great job in about any role.  

So "Colorism" is now a thing, eh?

Colorism has been a thing much longer than now ... see my above post.

Just now, gonzoron said:

Skin color among black people has always been a “thing”

It's also been a thing for Whites too ... about Blacks.  Some of that's slowly changing, but it's very slow. 

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12 minutes ago, swordfish said:

 

So "Colorism" is now a thing, eh?

Nope.  It's the old normal.  Some are privileged enough to be aware of it.

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Soooo........So, an African American can't be Racist but can be Colorist? 

But what is your opinion of Mr. Smith and his role in this upcoming Biopic?

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10 minutes ago, BARRYOSAMA said:

Nope.  It's the old normal.  Some are privileged enough to not be aware of it.

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58 minutes ago, swordfish said:

Soooo........So, an African American can't be Racist but can be Colorist? 

But what is your opinion of Mr. Smith and his role in this upcoming Biopic?

Sounds like you need to attend some classes, lol.

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9 hours ago, gonzoron said:

Skin color among black people has always been a “thing”

If so, has every role that Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Cuba Gooding Jr, etc. acted prior have the exact skin tone of the person they represented as an actor?  If not, why is Will Smith being singled out now??  Do you feel he shouldn't play the William's sister's father?

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4 minutes ago, TrojanDad said:

If so, has every role that Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Cuba Gooding Jr, etc. acted prior have the exact skin tone of the person they represented as an actor?  If not, why is Will Smith being singled out now??  Do you feel he shouldn't play the William's sister's father?

Have no idea why you're asking me, I'm not black.

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54 minutes ago, TrojanDad said:

If so, has every role that Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Cuba Gooding Jr, etc. acted prior have the exact skin tone of the person they represented as an actor?  If not, why is Will Smith being singled out now??  Do you feel he shouldn't play the William's sister's father?

Again, I would highly recommend checking out, as a start, the three movies that I mentioned in my above post to see that this is not "something new" or just made up.  Hollywood Shuffle came out over 30 years ago.  School Daze came out 30 years ago.  Light Girls came out about three years ago.  Duke's other movie, Dark Girls came out roughly 7 years ago.  Others include A Question of Color which came out 25 years ago and A Girl Like Me which came out over a decade ago.  If a full-length movie isn't doable, then take a look at the "Black Like Us" episode of Black-ish in Season 5.  It hits at many points, but also misses on a few as well ... but for 22 minutes of prime-time viewing before the "adult hour" it does a good job as a primer if you are just finding our about colorism. 

If you are looking for the academic coverage, here's an article that hits at several aspects as well as a mainstream coverage in Time:

https://openscholarship.wustl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1547&context=law_globalstudies

http://time.com/4512430/colorism-in-america/

Historically though, you can go back, as alluded to in the Black-ish episode, much further back.

https://www.newsweek.com/ugly-roots-light-skindark-skin-divide-213518

 

 

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, gonzoron said:

Have no idea why you're asking me, I'm not black.

LOL....I replied to YOUR comment.  You come across like an enlightened dude, responding skin color has always been a "thing" for black people.....then with the next comment, you say you can't comment on the issue because you're not black.  C'mon dude...pick a side of the fence and stay there.  If you don't wish to comment, try just staying silent....for a change.

Fox...thanks for the comments....and I did read them.  I am just asking why now Will Smith has been taken to task for playing a role in which is skin tone wasn't exactly the same as the person he's playing?

Will Smith played the role of Chris Gardner, the homeless man that became a multi-millionaire in the movie "The Pursuit of Happyness" in 2006.  Maybe I just wasn't paying attention at the time, but I don't remember Smith being taken to task for playing that role, when he clearly has  lighter black skin tone than Gardner.  I thought Will Smith and his son knocked their roles out of the park, and I don't remember Mr. Gardner being concerned about the "blackness" of Will Smith.  I simply don't remember it being a story in the media.

Should I expect to hear more about this in the future with black actors....and more pressure for Hollywood to nail down an actor with more focus on his/her skin tone?

When black actors play white roles (e.g. Morgan Freeman as "Red" in the Shawshank Redemption) that was called "color blind casting".  What happened to this term today with Will Smith playing another black man?

 

Will Smith.jpg

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4 hours ago, TrojanDad said:

LOL....I replied to YOUR comment.  You come across like an enlightened dude, responding skin color has always been a "thing" for black people.....then with the next comment, you say you can't comment on the issue because you're not black.

Haha, my comment was in answer to SF, I didn't ask you to butt in. Just because I haven't lived under a rock and know "colorism" exists, doesn't mean I'm qualified to answer questions that should only be answered by those who practice it or have been subjected to it. 

If I was you, I think I'd be more worried about white guys being dropped off on my street and robbing my neighbors house. Crime has invaded White River Township, times there must be bad.

 

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8 hours ago, TrojanDad said:

LOL....I replied to YOUR comment.  You come across like an enlightened dude, responding skin color has always been a "thing" for black people.....then with the next comment, you say you can't comment on the issue because you're not black.  C'mon dude...pick a side of the fence and stay there.  If you don't wish to comment, try just staying silent....for a change.

Fox...thanks for the comments....and I did read them.  I am just asking why now Will Smith has been taken to task for playing a role in which is skin tone wasn't exactly the same as the person he's playing?

Will Smith played the role of Chris Gardner, the homeless man that became a multi-millionaire in the movie "The Pursuit of Happyness" in 2006.  Maybe I just wasn't paying attention at the time, but I don't remember Smith being taken to task for playing that role, when he clearly has  lighter black skin tone than Gardner.  I thought Will Smith and his son knocked their roles out of the park, and I don't remember Mr. Gardner being concerned about the "blackness" of Will Smith.  I simply don't remember it being a story in the media.

Should I expect to hear more about this in the future with black actors....and more pressure for Hollywood to nail down an actor with more focus on his/her skin tone?

When black actors play white roles (e.g. Morgan Freeman as "Red" in the Shawshank Redemption) that was called "color blind casting".  What happened to this term today with Will Smith playing another black man?

 

 

Going backward, the character Red is a fictional character, so the issue of colorism tends to be less in those situations, although there have been some as well.  Just recently, folks basically lost their minds with the potential that Idris Elba might be cast as James Bond.  Fan's were upset by the casting of Halle Berry to play Storm because, in the comics, Storm is portrayed as a Black woman.

With regard to is there a potential to see more of this come into play, the answer is likely "Yes."  As Blacks have struggled to get ANY part and then eventually any LEAD part in the movie, much of it tended to be chalked up to "wins for the race."  Although there was still a divide that existed.  Recall that Big Bill Broonzy was singing all the way back in the 30s,

This little song that I'm singin' about
People you know it's true
If you're black and gotta work for a living
This is what they will say to you

They says if you was white, should be all right
If you was brown, stick around
But as you's black, m-mm brother, git back git back git back

And it was way before that the divide was part of Black, and White, culture.  As marginalized groups get more and more recognized and become more and more mainstream, the eventual issues will be that sub-groups within those groups will also emerge working to also become mainstream.  As the LGBTQ community gets more opportunity for representation in movies/TV, you will see a push for more trans and queer parts as well as more trans/queer actors being able to portray those parts among others.  Going back to the fictional character Storm above, Alexandra Shipp, who was the second to play her on screen, is bi-racial, yet she identified with Storm as being "black like her" even though the coloration was the same on the spectrum.  Just seeing ANY Black in the comics was a big issue for Blacks of all shades.  While Black characters aren't nearly as mainstream as they probably should be, it's certainly a far cry from the 60s/70s and before where Black characters tended to show up as heavily-stereotyped rolls or in Blacksplotation rolls that, even when they had read rolls, were out of mainstream appearance.

For years, minorities have truly been under-represented in movies, even when the movie/role is primarily about their race ... John Wayne as Genghis Kahn, Marlon Brando as Sakini, Laurence Olivier as Othello, Jeffrey Hunter as Jesus, Mickey Rooney as I.Y. Yunioshi, Natalie Wood as Maria, and more recently Jennifer Connelly as Alisha Nash and Mena Suvari as Chante Jawan Mallard aka Brandi Boski.  For years, minorities had no say at all in these kinds of over-reaches in casting.  They didn't even have the ability, given the power structure in the country, to even complain about the situation.  As they get more opportunity for inclusion, expect more challenges and pushes for equitable pieces of the pie. 

 

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On 3/9/2019 at 6:35 PM, gonzoron said:

Haha, my comment was in answer to SF, I didn't ask you to butt in. Just because I haven't lived under a rock and know "colorism" exists, doesn't mean I'm qualified to answer questions that should only be answered by those who practice it or have been subjected to it. 

If I was you, I think I'd be more worried about white guys being dropped off on my street and robbing my neighbors house. Crime has invaded White River Township, times there must be bad.

 

But you did answer my question and it was totally inconsistent with your response to SF.  Personally. I don't care if you respond, as I know its coming anyway.  You can't resist.  Thus why you consistently lead in posting on GID.  Qualifications on an issue HAS NEVER stopped you from commenting, so why worry now???

Not sure why you stated WHITE guys....some petty crime has occurred in WRC and its not been confined to one race or another.  Not sure why you are playing a race card here.  While we don't like any crime in my community, I'm not concerned that we are an outlier as compared to any of the Indy suburban communities.  Actually, times here are pretty darn good.  Once again you shoot off your mouth, and you are hardly qualified to make assumptions about my community.  As I've stated, qualifications have never stopped you from flapping your gums.  

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On 3/9/2019 at 11:28 PM, foxbat said:

Going backward, the character Red is a fictional character, so the issue of colorism tends to be less in those situations, although there have been some as well.  Just recently, folks basically lost their minds with the potential that Idris Elba might be cast as James Bond.  Fan's were upset by the casting of Halle Berry to play Storm because, in the comics, Storm is portrayed as a Black woman.

With regard to is there a potential to see more of this come into play, the answer is likely "Yes."  As Blacks have struggled to get ANY part and then eventually any LEAD part in the movie, much of it tended to be chalked up to "wins for the race."  Although there was still a divide that existed.  Recall that Big Bill Broonzy was singing all the way back in the 30s,

This little song that I'm singin' about
People you know it's true
If you're black and gotta work for a living
This is what they will say to you

They says if you was white, should be all right
If you was brown, stick around
But as you's black, m-mm brother, git back git back git back

And it was way before that the divide was part of Black, and White, culture.  As marginalized groups get more and more recognized and become more and more mainstream, the eventual issues will be that sub-groups within those groups will also emerge working to also become mainstream.  As the LGBTQ community gets more opportunity for representation in movies/TV, you will see a push for more trans and queer parts as well as more trans/queer actors being able to portray those parts among others.  Going back to the fictional character Storm above, Alexandra Shipp, who was the second to play her on screen, is bi-racial, yet she identified with Storm as being "black like her" even though the coloration was the same on the spectrum.  Just seeing ANY Black in the comics was a big issue for Blacks of all shades.  While Black characters aren't nearly as mainstream as they probably should be, it's certainly a far cry from the 60s/70s and before where Black characters tended to show up as heavily-stereotyped rolls or in Blacksplotation rolls that, even when they had read rolls, were out of mainstream appearance.

For years, minorities have truly been under-represented in movies, even when the movie/role is primarily about their race ... John Wayne as Genghis Kahn, Marlon Brando as Sakini, Laurence Olivier as Othello, Jeffrey Hunter as Jesus, Mickey Rooney as I.Y. Yunioshi, Natalie Wood as Maria, and more recently Jennifer Connelly as Alisha Nash and Mena Suvari as Chante Jawan Mallard aka Brandi Boski.  For years, minorities had no say at all in these kinds of over-reaches in casting.  They didn't even have the ability, given the power structure in the country, to even complain about the situation.  As they get more opportunity for inclusion, expect more challenges and pushes for equitable pieces of the pie. 

 

Thanks for the response again Fox.

I don't know if prescribe to your thoughts about fictional vs. non-fictional characters.  I think that depends on the character.  I don't remember people losing their minds over Idris Elba.....I think he would be fantastic in the role.  But I used Red as an example...as color blind casting has occurred in a variety of roles and has been successful.  Easy to find examples out there.

But getting back to Will Smith....you didn't answer my question as to why a non-issue in 2006 with the Pursuit of Happyness film, and now 13 years later, the uproar.  It would seem inconsistent at best.  Any thoughts?  Perhaps your last sentence above explains your thoughts on it...but wanted to confirm.

Finally, do you think the criticism to Will Smith for playing William's Father is fair and deserved?

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8 minutes ago, TrojanDad said:

Finally, do you think the criticism to Will Smith for playing William's Father is fair and deserved?

On 3/8/2019 at 11:11 AM, gonzoron said:

Sounds like you need to attend some classes, lol.

Above was the answer I got after asking that same question........

Seriously, what do you guys think about this?  Fair or not?

I really don't care about the "shades of blackness" argument because since going clear back to the 80's I have been taught and have tried to apply the concept of "color blindness", and I am just now being taught that only applied to white people. 

Which begs the question, how white am I, are there different shades of whiteness, and is my wife tan enough to be multi r........Nevermind.......

 

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1 hour ago, TrojanDad said:

Thanks for the response again Fox.

I don't know if prescribe to your thoughts about fictional vs. non-fictional characters.  I think that depends on the character.  I don't remember people losing their minds over Idris Elba.....I think he would be fantastic in the role.  But I used Red as an example...as color blind casting has occurred in a variety of roles and has been successful.  Easy to find examples out there.

But getting back to Will Smith....you didn't answer my question as to why a non-issue in 2006 with the Pursuit of Happyness film, and now 13 years later, the uproar.  It would seem inconsistent at best.  Any thoughts?  Perhaps your last sentence above explains your thoughts on it...but wanted to confirm.

Finally, do you think the criticism to Will Smith for playing William's Father is fair and deserved?

Yes, that last statement in my previous post kind of gets at the issue ... in earlier films, people were happy to see a breakthrough for the race as a whole.  As those breakthroughs become more prevalent, other battles are fought.  A homeless person's first goals toward getting out of homelessness often focus on immediate needs, food and shelter, as those are attained, new battles are to be fought like education, employment, non-reliance.

I don't know if the criticism for Smith playing the father is fair or not.  Frankly, I just waded into the responses based on the high level of colorism.  I've not read the details to see if there has been pushback or statement from Williams himself.  I know that in the past, I've seen issues concerning the focus of the biopic expressing concerns for whatever reason.  I have not read enough to see if Williams himself expressed issues or just folks in general.  I'll try to hit that up later on today as time permits.  With that said, I do understand the concern and push from those who would like to see more opportunity provided to folks, especially in first-time coverage.

As for Idris Elba, here's some of the pushback including a response from Roger Moore that was later backwalked:

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/sep/03/idris-elba-still-smiling-comments-james-bond-author-anthony-horowitz

https://www.indiewire.com/2015/03/roger-moore-says-idris-elba-as-james-bond-is-unrealistic-because-hes-not-english-english-155299/

 

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27 minutes ago, foxbat said:

Yes, that last statement in my previous post kind of gets at the issue ... in earlier films, people were happy to see a breakthrough for the race as a whole.  As those breakthroughs become more prevalent, other battles are fought.  A homeless person's first goals toward getting out of homelessness often focus on immediate needs, food and shelter, as those are attained, new battles are to be fought like education, employment, non-reliance.

I don't know if the criticism for Smith playing the father is fair or not.  Frankly, I just waded into the responses based on the high level of colorism.  I've not read the details to see if there has been pushback or statement from Williams himself.  I know that in the past, I've seen issues concerning the focus of the biopic expressing concerns for whatever reason.  I have not read enough to see if Williams himself expressed issues or just folks in general.  I'll try to hit that up later on today as time permits.  With that said, I do understand the concern and push from those who would like to see more opportunity provided to folks, especially in first-time coverage.

As for Idris Elba, here's some of the pushback including a response from Roger Moore that was later backwalked:

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/sep/03/idris-elba-still-smiling-comments-james-bond-author-anthony-horowitz

https://www.indiewire.com/2015/03/roger-moore-says-idris-elba-as-james-bond-is-unrealistic-because-hes-not-english-english-155299/

 

I don't think I would care who played Bond so long as his English accent was there.....That is what distinguishes Bond IMHO.......The 007 character can change to compliment the story of each movie as far as I'm concerned......

I haven't read any responses from either Will Smith or Mr. Williams, but my suspicion is that Mr. Williams might be flattered having Will Smith tagged to play his role........And SF is sure there exists some complexion make-up that could (quietly) darken him if needed for this role.....

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3 hours ago, swordfish said:

Which begs the question, how white am I, are there different shades of whiteness, and is my wife tan enough to be multi r........Nevermind.......

Does she look like this yet? This white woman now believes she can have a black baby.

Image result for White woman wants to be black

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15 minutes ago, swordfish said:

I don't think I would care who played Bond so long as his English accent was there.....That is what distinguishes Bond IMHO.......The 007 character can change to compliment the story of each movie as far as I'm concerned......

I haven't read any responses from either Will Smith or Mr. Williams, but my suspicion is that Mr. Williams might be flattered having Will Smith tagged to play his role........And SF is sure there exists some complexion make-up that could (quietly) darken him if needed for this role.....

That's from the mind of an American.  I'm teaching in Dublin this summer and have to remember to be on my Ps and Qs in my considerations.  I was talking to one of the admin folks from Dublin and had made a reference to Brexit and the UK and he cut me off mid-sentence to remind me that Ireland wasn't the UK even though the second half of my sentence was going to be, "although I realize that Ireland's not needing to make that consideration because they aren't part of the UK."  At that point, I worried about mentioning to him that I was born in England.  I don't think it's really that much of an issue with him, but I'll be a bit more aware while overseas.  Recall that there was a bit of a dust-up when Gibson's The Patriot came out from the other side of the pond.  The Brits took umbrage at an Australian playing the role of an American misrepresenting the British in history and smoothing over the American history component.  They seemed to be quite miffed at the Australian part.

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28 minutes ago, gonzoron said:

Does she look like this yet? This white woman now believes she can have a black baby.

Image result for White woman wants to be black

LOL - No Gonzo.....

Mrs SF had a dust up with skin cancer about 4 years ago, had surgery to remove it and does not want a repeat, so tanning  is OUT for the foreseeable future......Been pretty white ever since then.......SF is kinda missing those tan-lines though......

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