Dominique Apollo had known for some time about Tru-Colour’s range of bandages to cater for a diversity of skin tones, but it was only this week when he injured his finger that he used the product for the first time.
When the 45-year-old secured a protective strip that finally matched his dark skin colour, he was overcome with emotion sparked by a feeling of ‘belonging’, that he as a black man hadn’t felt before.
“It’s taken me 45 trips around the sun, but for the first time in my life I know what it feels like to have a “band-aid” in my own skin tone,” Dominique wrote on Twitter next to two photos of his hand sporting the product.
“You can barely even spot it in the first image. For real I’m holding back tears.”
Dominique, who works for Race Forward, a US non-profit racial justice organisation, didn’t expect the ‘complex emotions’ he’d feel, nor the over 95k retweets his post got.
“Not like I didn’t know these strips existed,” he tweeted. “But I definitely didn’t expect the complex emotions that would swirl as I watched it just … blend in. A seemingly trivial exercise I’ve repeated 1000x on my body with ‘regular’ ones since childhood. Self-administered
“This felt like belonging. Like feeling valued. Sadness for my younger self and millions of kids of color, esp black kids. Like a reminder of countless spaces where my skin is still not welcomed. Feared. Hated. Like, ‘Why am I really thinking all this ’bout an effing band-aid?'” he continued.
Thousands of people reacted to Dominique’s tweet, including Star Wars actor John Boyega, proving colourism is an issue in Hollywood.
“Yep! On film sets where we get cuts a lot, make up artists have to paint it brown to get you picture ready,” responded John.
Addressing the support and discussion his first post generated, Dominique later reminded people that the bandage simply symbolised the bigger racial issue at hand.
“Clear one looks like this on me. It’s a white patch in the middle,” he wrote next to a photo of his hand sporting the slight variation of the product.
“But honestly if you’re focusing on the band-aid, you missed the point. It’s not about an exact skin match for all people. It’s about belonging. Racial inclusion. It’s not about the band-aid.”
In another tweet he said: “To clarify, my (almost) tears were not about a bandage color. The bandage color was a symbol of a much broader anti-blackness and absence of belonging. Not just for me”.
Tru-Colour also responded to Dominque’s original post on Twitter, informing shoppers there’s two additional shades in their bandage range, stocked at Amazon in the US and Canada, as well as Target.
Here’s hoping we see these in Australian stores soon.