But what exactly is Beyoncé’s “usual colour”? She is a fair-skinned black woman. And, like most other people on earth, her skin tone changes with the seasons. For example, I – a dark-skinned black woman – am a lot darker in summer. At the risk of sounding condescending, black people tan too. Personally, I tan quickly and deeply. And in the winter, I get as “pale” as my dark-brown skin gets; enough to see the green veins at my wrists. And then let’s add in the other pertinent factors: makeup, studio lighting, airbrushing. I’m fairly certain everybody in the business with any kind of promotional budget gets sculpted, “smoothed out” and tightened in post-production.

Yes, there’s no denying that shadism or colourism still exists. Is there a noticeable bias towards a certain aesthetic – fair skin, light-coloured hair, skinny, but with a (proportionally) large bottom? Definitely. And is there a correspondingly high number of fair-skinned black women in the public eye? Again, yes. Is Beyoncé looking lighter than “normal”? Perhaps. But she was hardly of an Alek Wek complexion beforehand. People will have to troll harder on this one.

So what if Beyoncé’s skin colour is looking lighter? | By Bim Adewunmi, published on The Guardian, 17th January 2012