Dark Girls film

It looks like Oprah is continuing to fill her network’s airways with content for and about black folks. Though OWN struggled to find its footing early on, since Oprah took a more visible role on the air and incorporated a more diverse lineup, the network’s ratings have continued to rise.

Yesterday, One Village Entertainment announced that its critically acclaimed documentary, Dark Girls, will premiere on OWN this summer.

The film investigates colorism, self-esteem, and the complicated relationship some black women have with their complexion.

Bill Duke, co-director of the film, said making the film came out of his personal experience:

It came out of an idea I had based upon my childhood, what I’d gone through and seen, and what I’d seen people that I loved go through, like my sister, my niece, and other children in my family, and in my life, and I wanted to really give a voice to the voiceless. I brought the idea to Channsin Berry, my co-executive producer and director. We’d tried to get some investment dollars and we couldn’t find them, so we invested our own money — which is not painless. And why now? Colorism is unfortunately still an issue today. Dark skin is considered less than light skin in the in the minds of many in our community and in the media. We thought that finally it should be addressed, to give a voice to the voiceless.

Dark Girls has been a hit on the film festival circuit since its debut in 2011, but it’s OWN premiere in June will be the first time the doc will appear on TV.

  • Cali

    Can’t wait to see it!

  • Annoyed

    I wish Oprah took some kind of stance on the whole Zoe Saldana playing Nina Simone tragedy. And she says she’s doing it for her ‘brothers and sisters.’ Pisses me off.

    On another note, I’m excited to watch this. I hope it doesn’t come out appearing to bash others who are not darkskin in any way which seems to be a lot of lighter skinned people’s argument when in reality it’s privilege.

  • The Moon in the Sky

    Why does Oprah specifically have to take a stance?

  • http://www.myblackfriendsays.com myblackfriendsays

    exciting! I will definitely be watching it–can you post a reminder when the premiere gets closer?

  • The Other Jess

    Definitely NOT. Dark girls aren’t these pathetic, pity party creatures that the media wants to make out to be. OWN can keep this mess, especially since the blue-black skinned Bill Duke produced it. Maybe he should talk about how he and other Black MEN feel about being dark skinned and their own internal hatred for it that makes them prefer light/white. People just WANT Black women to lose, and we keep supporting them in their efforts. to make that very thing happen

  • http://theblackgirloncampus.blogspot.com Peace

    I expect a lot of down votes with my comment, but I don’t want to watch it. I know how colorism has effected the black community, my life personally, but does the world need to know about it all? Colorism is a problem within the black community. It can be addressed within the black community.

  • Treece

    Yes! I have been trying to see this movie for the longest and never knew where it was playing in my area. now I finally get to see it : ) Will definitely be tuning in

  • Velociraptor

    Actually, it’s a problem within the Afro-Latino and some Asian communities as well. So the problem does need to be dressed because it’s not just a “black” issue. The documentary may only address African Americans but many cultures can relate.

  • Annoyed

    Because I just thought of her and would like to know where she stands. Given that she is an influential figure and generally takes a stance on matters she cares about. Is that so bad?
    My post my opinion. It did start with ‘I’…

  • k

    yes ill be watching, my church was suppose to screen it a few months back then suddenly it was cancelled, i was like dang im never gonna see this docu but now i can so i def will

  • Jaslene

    Why don’t you ask her?

  • Jaslene

    So what is your issue with this? Also are you a colorist?

  • Imjustsaying

    The fact that you felt the need to comment on his skin tone proves his point that colorism is still an issue. I believe his purpose is to show OTHER people that dark doesn’t equal bad and light doesn’t equal good.
    You basically said his point of view is invalid because he is dark skinned.
    No one is pitying chocolate skinned women. It’s meant to show how amazing all women of all shades are.
    We always say we need to support our own and here you go tearing him down for his skin color.

  • http://www.myblackfriendsays.com myblackfriendsays

    Last time I checked, we didn’t have any secret tv channels that only black people could watch ;)

    I’ve never liked this whole “airing dirty laundry” argument against publicly discussing things. I don’t really care if white people tune in or what they might think after watching the documentary–I’m sure a lot of black people will watch it, and have a lot to think about afterwards.

  • http://gravatar.com/noirluv45 noirluv45

    I will be watching for sure. I hope we keep discussing this until things change.

    Unless those of us who are still being held captive by it won’t let go of that mindset, we can talk about it until or Maker returns, but nothing will change.

  • The Other Jess

    Jaslene, my comment already detailed my problem with “that”. As for your second question, I won’t even dignify such stupidity with an answer.

  • The Moon in the Sky

    With the internet one cannot hear tone, but now I am actually being a smart a** when I say that if she hasn’t taken a stance on it by now then she probably doesn’t care.

  • The Other Jess

    My mentioning of his skin tone has nothing to do with colorism. It has to do with this recent trend of making racial issues, common to the Black community as a whole, into one-sided gender-based racial issues. I’m so over these Black men telling the world that Black WOMEN have color issues, and Black WOMEN have hair issues, and yadda yadda yadda. What about Black men – yes those 1980s jheri curl-wearing, 1950s conk-wearing, Malcolm-X-perm-wearing, Al-Sharpton-bouffant-wearing, Michael-Jackson-and-James-Brown-relaxer-wearing-Black MEN have no right to pretend to be immune to racial perception issues, or to pretend to be experts on Black women alone.

    A Black man who is as dark as the women he is profiling – and having the nerve to paint us as this woeful, victimized bunch – would be laughable, if not so pathetic. This is no different than Chris Rock’s “Good Hair” mess – talking about Black women’s “problems” with our hair as if hair and color problems are limited to the women of our group only. Black men have the most severe color and hair problems and a man as dark as Bill Duke needs to either 1.) address the problem as it affects Black people GENERALLY, 2.)address the problem as it affects his own group, Black males, and how it affected him as being a very dark skinned man, or 3) shut the f*ck up.

    All these so-called Black male experts pushing racial pathology on Black women only, when they have the same problems, is beyond annoying – and played.

    It would make more sense – and be more genuine – if instead of them passing the buck, Duke made a documentary exploring why Black men have taken on such European ideals of beauty for hair and skin. Now that’s real

  • The Other Jess

    well, it’s definitely not only a female issue, definitely not for Black Americans, so until Duke can stop trying to victimize women, I won’t be watching.

  • BeanBean

    I’m really excited to watch this. I plan on sitting down with my white boyfriend and making him watch! And I’m going to make some of my ratchet color-obsessed family members watch it with me.

  • http://twitter.com/Author_JGail Teflon Jawn (@Author_JGail)

    That graphic is perfection. I will be supporting this.

  • thinkpink

    @theotherjess Your comment was absolutely amazing and true. I think you should email it to bill duke. Completely serious.

  • DeeD

    I think I can understand why some commenters are annoyed.
    Yes colorisism is problem in the black community but it is also a problem in the Asian community as well, but for some reason the media likes to target black women as though we are the only ones.
    In a way it makes black women look pathetic. I’ve only seen bits and pieces of the doc but does anyone know if it take a critical analysis of the main stream media and the history behind colorism?

  • The Other Jess

    Thx, thinkpink, that’s a great idea. Maybe I will. It probably won’t have as much impact now that the documentary is complete – it’s too bad I didn’t think of this before the film was completed. Maybe could’ve changed the direction and tone.

  • bk chick

    @ other Jess…Your comment is on point! I had to lol at: 3) Shut the F*ck up! But you are so right…and it’s sad because colorism is a real problem and I can see why so many people want to explore it…but when this is pushed as the ONLY pathology in the black community and literally every other blog post/movie/book is about colorism or other “black women problems,” Then you start to realize there is more going on here…Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest through the trees so I’m glad you spoke the truth.

  • http://Theantifash.blogspot.com Robin

    Am I the only one who actually said Boom after reading @TheOtherJess’ comment?

  • http://Theantifash.blogspot.com Robin

    Initially I was interested in seeing the film after viewing the trailer on Clutch, now not so much… I’m not sure what has changed in the 6 (?) months since the trailer (perhaps it was the hard to miss all out war on black women via the media ), but I feel uneasy about this.

  • lexie

    wowww, another doc on black women with hair and color issue. soooooo unique!!! this topic has seriously lost its flavor and appeal .this issue goes beyond the black community and enters into the realm of being a national issue in various parts of the world.
    im bored of hearing women boo-hooing about light skin women/ girls and women whose hair texture is looser and wavier getting all the glory and making them feel inferior when in all actuality its the womens mother, relatives, and some loud mouth bully who really are the perpetratiors and in some cases not the ligh skin woman/girl and the woman/girl with the wavy hair.
    talk about something more fascinating like men who have self esteem issue and body dismorfic disorder.
    CLUTCH i eagerly look forward to your articles on more interesting topics such as the one i listed above, in the future. :-)

  • noirluv45

    The Other Jess, RIGHT TO THE HELL ON!!! Oh, if only they’d do a documentary on colorstruck black men who put black women down in order to “justify” why they don’t date them. Also, the darn right hatred many of them have, as seen on youtube, and even right here on clutch. I know many articles have been written, but not aired as of late.

    A poster “Spiritual” said the other day about the young girl who dated a guy she met from a text message that she should’ve been shot because she made such a foolish mistake.

    Some black men have severe identify issues, and rarely is that addressed publicly. If it has, someone please correct me.

    I am going to watch the documentary, but I agree with you in that black women ARE NOT the only ones that have issues.

  • CaSweetface

    @The Other Jess

    I totally agree with you. Every Black man in the world seems to be an expert on us yet never appears to critically delve deep into their own psyche, ideologies, etc. An examination of the black male is desperately needed at this point. Shoot, I love to see us getting out shine but not a constant examination of what’s wrong with us like every other group is without fault. Its beyond annoying and regardless of the documentaries completion you should write him and give your shared opinion. I’m sick of the Steve Harvey’s, Tyrese’s, etc, telling us “what’s what.” STFU and look at your married a million times, white women loving, internal issues and stop lumping us together and giving half ass, ridiculous advice based on common sense that most with a brain already know.

  • LadyP

    I will support this film. I’m looking forward to receiving fresh tips in dealing with this ongoing colorism issue.

  • http://gravatar.com/blaque217 blaque217

    I will definitely watch. It’s sad that in 2013 Black women still suffer from low self-esteem because of the color of their skin. I think it goes without saying that it’s not only “dark skin girls” but I think those of us at the other end of the spectrum have felt the same way. I’m looking forward to checking it out.

  • Chic Noir

    Thank you, I was trying to school these sisters a year or two ago. Stop giving these folks amunition.

    It’s bad enough we have these sell out brothers,who are almost always dark-skinned themselves, blasting dark-skinned Blk women.

    Hell now they came for all Blk women even if they are light, damn near White.

  • Yb

    Colorism, like institutionalized racism is more than just “self-esteem” issues and inferiority complexes.

  • ImJustSaying

    Well after you explained your reasoning I understand where you are coming from. I have not seen the documentary and I will still be watching. I’m guessing you’ve seen the film to be so passionate about it.

    I also agree that Chris Rock did a TERRIBLE JOB with “Good Hair”. I took a personal offense to his so-called “discussion” about natural hair where the Relaxed girls basically told the ONLY natural girl in the room they would not hire her based on hair alone.

    HOWEVER, his skin tone still has nothing to do with his choosing to focus on the female perspective and your use of “with his blue black self” still conveys a negative view of dark skin on your part. It was not meant as a compliment. Imagine if that was said about a dark-skinned little girl.

    “She shouldn’t be writing a novel with her blue black self”
    Her skin tone has nothing to do with her art. Do you see how your words are hurtful to ALL people of that shade?

    WE (Yes I’m including myself) say these things and then backtrack as if we didn’t mean to tear a person down.
    To sum this up I accept your opinion of the film and will see for myself when it airs. I hope you think about what is adding to the colorism problems in our community.

  • Whitney’s Receipts

    The only problem I have with these docs that tend to “air our dirty laundry,” as some would say, is that they never address the root of the problem. OK, you’re gonna talk about colorsim in the black community and how it effects the self-esteem of black women…But are they gonna touch on that fact our issues with our skin color are based on white supremacy? When you google the word “beauty” why is it that all you see is white women…? When was the last time there was a dark skinned female superstar? Why is it that dark skinned actresses can’t play dark skinned women in movies (Zoe Saldana/Nina Simone, Halle Berry/Storm)? How many dark-skinned women do you see in beauty advertisements? etc…………………

  • ash

    While I totally understand where @the other jess is coming from. i think it should also be noted that bill duke made this documentary because of something he heard his niece say, and he wanted to specifically talk about how this affects black woman. when you hear his interviews, and if you’ve ever met bill duke, you know its not coming from a place of malice,bitterness, or anger whatsoever. And he would probably be open to your suggestion. However, I just feel your tone is so unnecessarily angry.

  • Ella

    Super excited to see this doc! Growing up, my mother put more emphasis on character than she did on the color of my skin. my older sister is much lighter than I am and I never felt inferior or upset or saddened by my darker skin tone.

  • http://elegantblackwoman.blogspot.com Elegance

    To The Other Jess,

    I agree with you that Black men need to examine their own issues with natural hair and dark skin. But a documentary examining that could come out sounding like a list of all the reasons why they think straight hair and light skin is better and how they can’t be blamed because it’s the White man’s fault. We’ve heard these excuses before and it just comes off sounding insulting to Black women anyway. It would be a good documentary if done right but if done wrong, Black women will end up feeling bad.

    I agree though, I’m tired of Black women being pathologized and pathologizing themselves by telling the world they have so many issues that other women don’t have and that we are so sensitive. Some people believe this is true and want the special treatment, but I personally don’t because it makes us look damaged and inferior. Yet I do want to be treated with care like other women…I just don’t know which is better, being treated like we are fragile or being treated just like everyone else…

  • http://elegantblackwoman.blogspot.com Elegance

    To noirluv45,

    I was tempted to agree with you that there should be a documentary exposing all the hatred Black men have for Black women, including on YouTube. I thought it would be a good thing for the world to see how hateful they are and maybe they would realize how much they harm us. The world would look at them like they are crazy.

    On the other hand, making such a film would spread their hatred even further and could insult Black women more than ever before. It would be better to place LESS focus on these haters rather than more. It’s like a lot of people thought that Chris Rock’s Good Hair would help to spread knowledge and acceptance, but others feel that it makes Black women look bad. Both things could happen when you let the world in on something bad or unusual that’s happening in a group. Letting the world know that so many Black men hate Black women could backfire on us. I have no idea if it will be good or bad…

  • noirluv45

    Elegance, I read your comment, and I kind of understand where you are coming from. However, I think we need to quit worrying about what other’s think. They are going to think what they want regardless. In fact, I wish they’d stay out of our business and deal with the issues in their own back yard (none of which are made public I see because it paints of picture of perfection for them).

    As stated, youtube is littered with radical, angry, bitter black men who have a negative thing or two or three to tell the world about black women.

    I’d rather Bill produce it than some white man who thinks he knows about the “ills of the black community” produce it. I don’t know. It’s funny how many black men go through such lengths to post their views of black women on youtube, yet never want to address the pathology (that’s such a great description) that “The Other Jess” and you used. I think anyone in their right mind should be able to watch a file and not make sweeping generalizations. No matter what, people can choose to do what they will and process whatever information shown to them. I think that people are going to believe whatever they see about blacks “make them look bad.” If we continue to worry about what other’s think, we’ll forever been enslaved. We’ve gotta break this cycle FAST.

  • noirluv45

    You know, Whitney, you are so right. I highly doubt anyone is going to discuss white supremacy as the root of the problem. When do we stop subscribing to it. Maybe, just maybe this doc will help. I don’t know, especially if people aren’t willing to listen, learn,a and change. White supremacists are going to keep pushing their own superiority. I mean, look at the music videos. These black artists go along with the “light skinned long hair non-black female love interest.” They aren’t willing to say, “NO, I want a woman who looks like me to play my love interest.” They go along to get along. You are so right about the standard of beauty. I doubt that will ever change. In their eyes, why should it? It works for them. They own everything and they do whatever they want. It’s sad, pathetic, and archaic to say the least, to think that there is only ONE standard of beauty. It’s sick that many, not just black folks, subscribe to this nonsense after all these decades.

    We gotta put a stop to it and it starts with our children, boys and girls alike, so they don’t fall for it when they see it.

  • Robbie

    I get tired of these type of documentaries and related news articles. How about a documentary about black girls that love been black. That have high self-esteem and that don’t spent their time looking down on their skin complexing. Not all of us have these issues and these are the women that I want to see and not the low self-esteem ones. I will not be watching it. I am glad I don’ t have cable.

  • http://gravatar.com/chanela17 chanela17

    i’m probably gonna go to hell for this but, the lady with the short hair reminds me of arsenio hall in “coming to america” when he was playing the girl eddie murphy was on a date with. LOL

  • Nic

    I feel you b/c this is going to turn into a lot of non-black people thinking all dark-skinned girls feel ugly just like Good Hair made them think that all black women hate their hair.
    Ugh on so many levels.
    Why do black men spend so much time dissecting black women’s “issues” and none examining their own? Why not do a documentary on black men and colorism, or black men and prison, education, illegitimate kids.
    I don’t know why they aren’t using their platforms to unpack their own myriad of problems for public consumption.

  • Jaslene

    Well I think by your comment you did. I am going to say you are. I think it’s stupid you aren’t going to even watch the documentary and just make assumptions and decry the whole thing. But then again as a Black woman you have the right to be stupid so continue on your way.

  • BuckwheatsMomma

    Although I applaud Bill Duke for even attempting to tell a story about the light skin/dark skin issues some of us seem to have, I also feel that he (they) should tell the truth, and in my opinion it is not so much about skin color as it is about features.

    It is about how “ethnic” one looks.

    We all know that almost every dark skinned female who has European features, (small lips, sharp nose, long hair) are not viewed like her darker sister with African feature (large lips, wide nose, bulging eyes,) and these darker women also have small feet, a nice figure, nice tapered legs), thus she is deemed to be a beauty, and they have so problems attracting men of all races.

    I feel that if we are to discuss the issue we need to discuss the real issue, or nothing will be accomplished.

    Case in point is all the uproar about Zoe playing Nina Simon! The real reason some say she is not right for the part is that Zoe does not have the African/ethnic features that Ms. Simon had, but they won’t say that, instead they place it all under (she is not dark enough), and that is simply not the whole truth!

    We must also remember that the light skinned females also have had to deal with their own issues/problems, and it would be great if someone addressed their plight as well.

  • Oats22

    I have literally *never* heard of the argument being one about features rather than skin color. And I promise you, I am being 100% honest. I have heard about the intersection of dark skin + broader nose, bigger lips (have absolutely no idea what you mean about this bulging eyes thing. I get the image of black face in my mind, where I assumed the wide-eyed expression was made to make black looks like they were wide-eyed and dumb/childlike. I’ve never associated “bulging eyes” with black people…at all…ever.)

    And from what I read, the issue with Zoe was most certainly about her skin color–features as well.

  • BuckwheatsMomma

    Nope, it was not just about Zoe’s skin color, and again, the “features” issues are not brought up. That is what my main thrust is about. Of course it has been about skin color starting with slavery, but I also stated that you never see the darker skin women who have European features, and shapely bodies with the problems that her African sisters have with African/negroid features.

    Although most will not mention it (features) they are indeed thinking about the features of Zoe compared to Ms. Simon’s feature.

    Sorry, but this is true. Folks just sweep it under the rug, however the elephant is in the room.

    Thank you for your comment.

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  • hohprkyfd

    it seems that black people can’t get enough sympathy

  • Dee

    You are right. I’d like to see a doc on how discriminatory dark women are to lighter women. That dynamic is ALWAYS ignored, yet very prevalent. The nastiest black women I’ve ever dealt with were always darker than myself (and I’m not even in the “true” light-skinned category). The colorism “disease” flows both ways. Until the whole problem is addressed, this self-destructive nonsense will continue.

  • thearbiterofallthingsevenslightlyracial

    Amen. I have a sister struggling with addiction and mental illness – and my family feels paralyzed to help her because of that antiquated “what will people say?” attitude. I’ve taken strides to get her help, but before the agency I contacted could help her, my dad glazed things over and told them she didn’t have a problem. Sigh. You cannot heal by hiding. You gotta air the stinky laundry and dwell with your pain in order to truly heal. Tired of the “dirty little secret” attitude in our Black community.

    Regarding “Dark Girls” – I find it more important to help even one young black girl experiencing issues with colorism; than maintain the “indestructible black woman” status quo. Non-black people aren’t deaf, dumb or blind – so they know about the issue of colorism in the black community anyway. May as well try to control the narratives ourselves. Finally – I DID watch the documentary and it touched on the effects of colorism globally – not just in the Black community. Geez.

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