Falz is one artiste loved by a lot of people. Very creative and comparatively daring, his ability to marry music with humour often stands him out.
But, as is the case with many other comedians, it can sometimes be difficult to know when he is joking and when he is serious. Humour seems to be so natural with him that it walks in out of his music and speeches. That is why when I heard him say yellow in colour a few days ago, when he was on a programme on HipTV, I was not sure whether he chose to present his point in a funny manner or that was exactly what he intended to say.
He was speaking on why he decided to feature a lady with a fairly dark complexion in one of his recent videos – instead of those with fair complexions, which many other artistes prefer to feature. He told the presenter that he chose the road less travelled because “many artistes use ladies that are yellow in colour.” Yellow in colour?
One doesn’t need to bother much on whether the award-winning singer was playing on words or putting his thought in the best way he could in the circumstance. What is important is that many of us have issues when handling colours in sentences and that is why I am tapping inspiration – anointing – from Falz to discuss the matter today.
To appreciate the genesis of the challenge, ask many pupils to write a descriptive essay titled My Best Friend. And, too soon, they will tell you that their friends are yellow or black in colour. It, however, goes beyond children as a lot of adults too are deficient in handling colours especially when they concern people’s natural/physical/skin appearance. The fact is that instead of cheaply falling for yellow, black, red etc., the word that defines the idea best is complexion, which means the colour or appearance of the skin or a person’s face. The word can also mean the general aspect or character of a person. True, ‘colour’ and complexion are synonymous, but, like other synonyms, it is not in all contexts that they are interchangeable. In describing the appearance of a person’s skin or face, think first of complexion:
The actress is yellow in colour. (Wrong)
The actress is yellow in complexion. (Wrong)
The actress is fair in complexion. (Correct)
Note that, in other situations, we can have black skin, yellow skin, tanned skin etc, but when the totality of the man’s appearance is the case, we talk about dark complexion, light or fair complexion etc. One must also bear in mind that using yellow or ‘black’ too broadly or lazily can make the statement derogatory. Imagine someone describing President Muhammadu Buhari or President Donald Trump as being yellow or even yellow in colour. It is not proper because it harbours some element of mockery since the two handsome gentlemen simply have fair or light complexions. Well, if you say they are not fine gentlemen, you are on your own!