My momma was raised in the era when
Clean water was only served to the fairer skin
Donda West, Kanye’s late mum, grew up during the 50’s/60’s — an era of segregation. During this period there were separate water fountains for white people and African Americans. The cover for Common’s “Like Water for Chocolate” depicts such a scene.
When Kanye refers to those with “fair skin”, he’s reflecting on the times of Jim Crow where whites and blacks had to drink from separate water fountains. The “fair skin” group would receive the cleanest drinking water, while everyone else had to use the more run-down faucets. Kanye’s use of “fairer” instead of, say, “lighter” is ironic because there was nothing “fair” about the way white people treated black people…
Possible triple entendre here, “the fairer skin” could also be heard as “the pharaoh’s kin”, which would imply that the water at the time was only served to those related to the most elite, which in this era, was the white people of America.
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