KATARi on Fighting Colorism in the Music Industry

Meet the Homegirl: Aspiring Ugandan-British Musician

By Harleen Roop

KATARi, as she’s known during her performances, believes that the entire world is her stage. She uses her platform to empower other unapologetic dark-skinned women in society by smashing every barrier in her path.

The 21-year-old singer was born and raised in London, but celebrates her Ugandan origins. KATARi strives to change the perception of dark skinned women in society, especially the music industry.

She is shaped her experiences growing up as a young dark skin Ugandan girl. While KATARi believes that the discrimination towards darker-skinned individuals has lessened recently, it is still powerful and present in many places. Growing up, KATARi noticed others looking down on her solely due to her skin color--and what hurt her the most was that many of those who targeted her were also of African descent. Many of her African friends had internalized the colorism in society, leading them to ridicule her, calling her “too dark,” “too blick,” and advising her to bleach her skin.

Photo by Harleen Roop (@hkbehindthelens on Instagram)

Sadly, colorism is a worldwide issue that affects many different communities, from the Fair And Lovely campaign in India to skin bleaching in Africa to fetishizing of light-skinned Asian celebrities. While KATARi didn’t observe much skin bleaching in London, it hurt her that women felt the need to lighten their skin tone in order to be perceived as more attractive. KATARi feels passionate about banishing this backwards mindset and empowering all young girls, especially those struggling with body image and physical appearance.

Within to the music industry, KATARi believes that dark skin women are still discriminated against for their skin colour. While the colorism may not be outright, she has noticed that the media focuses mainly on artists with lighter complexions. She feels as though there are not enough dark skin women who are put into the spotlight, and this is something she hopes to change.

A budding musician, KATARi's singing career has just begun. She aspires to break through into the music industry by representing dark skinned women. Recently, KATARi featured in a song, ‘Secure,' alongside Rowston and Konphlicted, tackling issues of insecurity. Her history with colorism fuels her to do better for herself and inspire a positive change in the perception of dark skin women in the music industry.

Today, KATARi is her own superhero, providing hope for society to change its views on colorism. While she wishes that these uplifting comments were available to her as a young girl growing up, she hopes to be the change that makes society realize that dark never means unattractive. KATARi believes there is still room for improvement in relation to societal beauty standards.