A photo of actor Lance Gross posing with friends during an annual holiday trip divided social media Sunday when many pointed out the alleged colorism on display. The image in question, taken at Big Bear Lake in California, features Gross posing with his wife along with their friends and their partners, while a dark-skinned woman sits alone off to the side. Since the other coupled-off women are light-skinned, Twitter and Instagram lit up with remarks over the seemingly biased picture.
@JessicaSaxena said she would refuse to be a part of such a photo.
Nahhh they wouldn’t have me out here looking like a photo from a book on colorism. Fuck no. pic.twitter.com/wV1OXHkhlD
— j’dan?? (@JessicaSaxena) December 26, 2016
Spinsterella also pointed out the dark-skinned woman sitting alone.
@JessicaSaxena @AVocalistsRival I like how the dark skinned sister is the one who’s by herself in the picture. Nope. ?
— Spinsterellla (@Spinsterellla) December 26, 2016
On Instagram, users more blatantly called out the supposed bias.
@commander_kimble thought the image was insulting
@crsimmons saw it as depressing.
@afrosnkurls immediately noticed the disparity in the skin tones of the women.
However, some didn’t focus on the colorism but noticed the photo featured four couples and one woman who was noticeably single.
@imforrealzz didn’t think she would be able to take such a photo.
@birdjune1986 noticed it could be a joke but still thought it was harmful.
@cbeautiful thought the woman should have skipped the couples’ trip.
It turned out @birdjune1986 was right. @flanayskrients, the woman sitting by herself in the picture, set the record straight in an Instagram comment.
“Newsflash: Black people come in ALL shades,” she wrote in part. “I’m dating someone special, but he didn’t come to Big Bear this year. I take a pic like this EVERY YEAR making fun of the fact that I’m the only single one in the couples pic.”
Gross said the photo is a long-running inside joke shared by the vacationers, who have visited Big Bear together for more than a decade.
“We’ve been doin’ the same joke for years,” he wrote on Instagram, complete with several hashtags including ones that said, “You on the outside looking in” and “f— your discussions.”