Redbone Yellowbone

Redbone Yellowbone: Understanding the Differences and History

The terms “Redbone” and “Yellowbone” have been used in the African American community for many years, but not everyone understands their meanings. These labels are typically used to describe someone’s skin tone and have their roots in colonial America. Throughout the years, these terms have evolved to encompass other cultural facets, such as music and fashion. In this article, we will explore the history and significance of Redbone Yellowbone.

What are Redbone and Yellowbone?

Redbone and Yellowbone are terms used to describe African Americans with lighter skin tones. Redbone is characterized by lighter brown shades, yellowish undertones, and a touch of red. Yellowbone, on the other hand, is more of a yellow or light brown shade. These terms are used to differentiate individuals with lighter skin tone from other African Americans who may have darker skin color.

Redbone and Yellowbone have their roots in colonial America when a hierarchy was established based on skin color. At that time, people with lighter skin color were seen as superior, and those with darker skin were treated as inferior. The term “Redbone” was initially used to describe people of mixed Native American and African American ancestry. In contrast, “Yellowbone” was used to describe people with lighter skin shades that lean towards the yellow color.

The Role of Redbone and Yellowbone in Culture

As previously mentioned, Redbone and Yellowbone have gone beyond being mere labels for skin color. These terms have infiltrated fashion, music, and even everyday language. For instance, in fashion, Redbone and Yellowbone are used to describe clothing with light to yellowish shades of brown. In music, artists such as Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, have referenced these terms in their lyrics. Childish Gambino’s song “Redbone” has become one of his most popular and played songs.

The meaning behind Redbone Yellowbone does not necessarily carry negative connotations. However, it is essential to note that people should not use these labels in a derogatory manner. Labels such as Redbone and Yellowbone should not be used to demean individuals with darker skin or to reinforce historical hierarchies.

Redbone and Yellowbone: A Reflection of History

The use of these labels, despite their roots in a deeply ingrained ideology of racial hierarchy, highlights the ways the African American community has continued to evolve over time. Although the history behind these terms is complex and often difficult, they are now part of an evolving language of identity and culture.

Redbone and Yellowbone are just a small part of the varied, rich culture of African Americans. While it is important to understand these terms’ historical and cultural significance, we must also move beyond using classifications based solely on skin color or other physical traits.


Redbone and Yellowbone are two terms used in the African American community to describe lighter skin tones. These labels can be used to differentiate people within the community based on their skin color. However, the terms should not be used to reinforce hierarchies or demean people with darker skin colors.

It is essential to understand these terms’ history and cultural significance to avoid any negative connotation. However, we also need to move beyond using labels like Redbone and Yellowbone based purely on skin color or physical appearance. As society becomes more diverse, we need to celebrate differences and work to bridge gaps that divide us, working toward a more unified and inclusive future.