“I can remeber being in the bath tub wanting my mom to put bleach in the water so that my skin would be lighter.”
” ‘Oh, she’s pretty – for a dark skinned girl.’ ”
“I used to wish that I could wake up one day and be lighter.”
These are just a few of the statements from the dark skinned women of the upcoming documentary ‘Dark Girls’. In the 10 minute clip we get an idea of just how deep-seated the biases and attitudes towards the particular shade of brown you are.
Which definition is the most accurate?
The documentary will attempt to explain where the prejudices come from, asserting that the shadeism in and amongst black people is a direct consequence if slavery. ‘Field Niggers’ (darker skinned due to working outside in the sun) versus ‘House Niggers’ (fairer skinned as not in the sun much) and this perceived divide is a serious issue that needs to be addressed.
The mainstream media agenda, along with self-perpetuating norms and values, continually seek to undermine women’s self-esteem. This much is obvious in media where the main audience is ‘ethnic’. The frequency of adverts and marketing undermining women’s self-esteem is shocking. I once conducted a study on how many adverts for skin lighteners, and hair products that transform kinky hair into glossy, silky locs appeared in *a sucessful UK, black interest magazine*. There were nine full page and two half-page ads for skin lightening creams. Taglines included ‘Brightening lotion’ ‘Bring your skin to life’, ‘The pharmaceutical reference for lightening skin care’.
The dark girls of the documentary found themselves embroiled in a lifelong effort to self-define in a mainstream culture that doesn’t provides much positive reflection.
The documentary’s aim is to promote natural beauty that knows no bounds in terms of shade, race, nationality and ethnicity and will be released towards the end of 2011
Directed by Bill Duke and D. Channsin Berry
Produced by Bill Duke for Duke Media
and D. Channsin Berry for Urban Winter Entertainment
Co-Produced by Bradinn French
Line Produced by Cheryl L. Bedford
Edited by Bradinn French