The Manic Pixie Lightskint, Explained

Damon Young today at 06:11. 0 comments
Manic Pixie Lightskint Insecure Issa Rae Tyler Perry Drake Manic Pixie Dream Girl Barack Obama

You’re back with another explainer!

I never actually left. I’ve been standing here, literally right here, the entire time.

Well, this is awkward now.

That’s not my fault. I can’t manage your feelings and also do these explainers. Pick a struggle.

Huh?

Nevermind.

Anyway, I’ve heard that Manic Pixie prefix before, haven’t I?

Yes, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. The term was coined in 2005 by film critic Nathan Rubin to describe the sort of movie character who “exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.” She is white, (usually) much younger than the protagonist, cute in a quirky, girl-next-door sort of way, and is somehow always just available. Wikipedia has a list of some of the more prominent ones in cinema.

Ultimately, they’re hollow (and sexist) characters whose only purpose is to provide inspiration and romantic validation for the main character — a muse in dELiA’s clothing. They exist so that he can be better at existing.

Ah. I see. So, who and what is a Manic Pixie Lightskint?

The Manic Pixie Lightskint is a lightskinned black male who essentially serves that same purpose in movies and/or TV shows about black women’s spiritual and sexual awakenings. She’s going through some serious, soul-shaking things, but his light eyes and strong jawbone save her.

Interesting. Any examples to cite?

The most prominent one, of course, is Shemar Moore’s character in Diary of a Mad Black Woman. Kimberly Elise seemed destined to a life of sadness and even sadder faces, but this working-class, redbone man saved her from herself. Each sprayed on cornrow represented a prayer God answered.

Never one to disappoint, Tyler Perry — who probably should get credit for being the Orson Welles of the Manic Pixie Lightskint trope — evolved. And by Why Did I Get Married Too?, the entire movie built up to the final scene, where The Rock’s Manic Pixie Lightskint shows up, literally just smiles at Janet Jackson, saves her, and ends the movie. How’s that for efficient!

And then, of course, there’s the current season of Insecure. Nathan aka “Nanceford” is an unemployed (and possibly homeless) barber with a beard that don’t link, but his eye contact changed Issa enough for her to pop molly with him and then pop pussy on him. That’s some high quality lightskinting!

Any other examples?

Of course! Off the top of my head there’s Rick Fox in Meet The Browns, Boris Kodjoe in Madea’s Family Reunion — basically, if you’re a lightskint male actor who’s over six feet tall, and you haven’t been a Manic Pixie Lightskint at least once, you need to find a new agent. (Or maybe you actually have the best agent.)

Also, Drake’s entire discography (and personal life) is based on him portraying himself as the Manic Pixie Lightskint to Cheesecake Factory hostesses, V Live bartenders and Rihanna.

And, well, there’s also Barack Obama.

President Obama?

Yes. If you think of America as Kimberly Elise in a Tyler Perry movie, it actually makes perfect sense.

Wow. It actually does. Never thought of it that way.

That’s why I’m here.

HighResolutionMusic.com - Download Hi-Res Songs

1 Katy Perry

365 flac

Katy Perry. 2019. Writer: Zedd;Katy Perry;Caroline Ailin;Corey Sanders;Daniel Davidsen;Cutfather;Peter Wallevik.
2 Alec Benjamin

Let Me Down Slowly flac

Alec Benjamin. 2019. Writer: Alec Benjamin;Sir Nolan;Michael Pollack.
3 Ariana Grande

7 Rings flac

Ariana Grande. 2019. Writer: Ariana Grande;Richard Rodgers;TBHits;Njomza;Michael "Mikey" Foster;Kaydence;Tayla Parx;Scootie;Oscar Hammerstein II;Victoria Monét.
4 DEAMN

Happy flac

DEAMN. 2019.
5 Bruno Mars

Please Me flac

Bruno Mars. 2019. Writer: J. White Did It;DJ White Shadow;Philip Lawrence;Bruno Mars;Cardi B.
6 5 Seconds Of Summer

Who Do You Love flac

5 Seconds Of Summer. 2019. Writer: Andrew Taggart;Talay Riley;Oak;Sean Douglas;Luke Hemmings;Calum Hood;Ashton Irwin;Michael Clifford;Trevorious;Zaire Koalo.
7 Brooks

Better When You're Gone flac

Brooks. 2019. Writer: David Guetta;Emma Lov Block;Ido Zmishlany;Jackson Foote;Jeremy Dussolliet;Brooks.
8 Avril Lavigne

Dumb Blonde flac

Avril Lavigne. 2019. Writer: Mitch Allan;Bonnie McKee;Nicki Minaj;Avril Lavigne.
9 Ariana Grande

Imagine flac

Ariana Grande. 2019. Writer: JProof;Priscilla Renea;Happy Perez;Andrew "Pop" Wansel;Ariana Grande.
10 Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike

Selfish flac

Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike. 2019. Writer: Victor Thell;Michael Thivaios;Maria Smith;Jeff Porcaro;Dimitri Thivaios;David Paich;Dan Book;Will Grands;ANGEMI.
11 Avril Lavigne

Birdie flac

Avril Lavigne. 2019. Writer: J.R. Rotem;Avril Lavigne.
12 Ariana Grande

Thank U, Next flac

Ariana Grande. 2019. Writer: Crazy Mike;Scootie;Victoria Monét;Tayla Parx;TBHits;Ariana Grande.
13 Avril Lavigne

Warrior flac

Avril Lavigne. 2019. Writer: Chad Kroeger;Travis Clark;Chris Baseford;Avril Lavigne.
14 Halsey

11 Minutes flac

Halsey. 2019. Writer: Matt Schwartz;Halsey;Dominic Harrison;Brynley Plumb.
15 Ariana Grande

Fake Smile flac

Ariana Grande. 2019. Writer: Joseph Frierson;Mary Frierson;Fred Ball;Happy Perez;Andrew "Pop" Wansel;Wendy Rene;Kennedi Lykken;Priscilla Renea;Justin Tranter;Ariana Grande.
16 Ariana Grande

Needy flac

Ariana Grande. 2019. Writer: Tayla Parx;TBHits;Victoria Monét;Ariana Grande.
17 Ariana Grande

Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I'm Bored flac

Ariana Grande. 2019. Writer: Kandi;Kevin "She'kspere" Briggs;Max Martin;ILYA;Savan Kotecha;Ariana Grande.

Suggested posts

Other Damon Young's posts

Language