The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #34525   Message #1909269
Posted By: Azizi
14-Dec-06 - 07:08 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Pretty Little Pink
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Little Pink
Sian, I'm "tickled pink" * that you posted the fact that you always thought that "pink" in "Pretty Little Pink" was a referent for a particular type of flower.

It makes sense that "pretty pink" could have referred to that particular type of flower, or to any type of flower which is pink.

In posts on this thread I've suggested that among 19th century {or earlier} African Americans, "Pink" could have been a referent for a mixed race African American woman who had very light skin color.

It's possible that "pink" in that song could have different meanings for different populations. It's also possible that pink can mean something entirely different for different populations. And it's possible that "pink' could have multiple meanings for the same population or populations. One of those meanings could be the same as the "standard meaning" and another meaning [or other meanings] could be different than the "standard meaning".

All this to say that in my opinion, "Pink" ** in this song could mean a flower and [at the same time] it could also mean a woman who is light skinned, especially among those persons {African Americans and non-African Americans} who were familiar with pink as a skin color referent or nickname for a light skinned person.

* Actually, I don't get pink when I'm tickled, but that phrase points out the use of color words that may or may not be taken literally.

** Note the capitalization of "Pink" means or implies that "Pink" is a substitution for a person's [in this case, a woman's] name. However, I'm backing down from the statement that I made earlier in this discussion, that this capitalization means or implies that the person was referring to someone called "Pinky/Pinkie" and that someone had to be a person of very light complexion. Perhaps it does, and perhaps it does not. Be that as it may or may not be, I continue to promote the theory [and am I the only one who has suggested this theory?!] that among 19th century African Americans, "Pink" may mean a woman of very fair complexion.

In that sense, this "Pretty Little Pink" verse can be placed among a 'fairly' large category of pre-emancipation African American rhymes that mention the skin complexion [and particularly the light skin complexion] of women who are courted [and in some cases lost].