She was his
She would take his children
Black and white
Right to her own breast
There were times
When he could mix
With ordinary white company
And if the subject never came up
No one would notice
He had what they call passing complexion
He had what they call passing complexion
He had what they call passing complexion
He had what they call passing complexion
He'd been white, he'd been black
They asked him, black like that?

Lyrics submitted by infotainment_lad

Passing Complexion song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentAbout a black person who can pass as a white person due to his pale complexion as far as I understand.
    ZEROpumpkinson August 04, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIts pretty sad thinking about this concept. Even modern artists talk about this shit. Chance The Rapper (also from Chicago) talks about how he would always tell people he was "mixed" despite being 100% black... and looking back, he says hes really ashamed of that.

    You look on TV and half the black celebrities are "whited up" unless they're in a role society is used to them in (rapper, athlete, etc).

    There is a Negativland song that touches on this subject titled "Why Is This Commercial?". Musically its not that great of a song, but its part of a concept album. That whole album is great, and I recommend giving it a listen purely for its "lyrical" content and message.
    PoopieDeLoopieon September 13, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhen I was in high school and 'Atomizer' lived in the cassette deck in my car, I thought that this was a piece of speculative fiction about somebody whose complexion was not stable—whose racial identity was "passing," i.e., shifting back and forth between black and white in such a way that he could be said to be neither. That kind of abject experience of race—not white, not black, fleetingly both, but ultimately neither—felt very Big Black to me. Of course, I later learned what passing really meant, but I still kind of like my youthful misapprehension of the lyrics.
    scooperon February 16, 2014   Link

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