Yaba BlayThe highly anticipated documentary, Dark Girls, made its debut on OWN Network last night. In the days leading up to the world television premiere, as more and more promo materials were released, people began to reach out to me; and on yesterday, no less than a few dozen folks emailed, messaged, Facebook’ed, and tweeted me – “Dark Girls is on! Are you watching?” I had already seen the film during its national tour last year, but I needed to watch it again, not because it was just that good, but because I wanted to see folks’ response to the film in real-time. My Facebook and Twitter timelines confirmed what I have long known to be true – we have been trained for war.

What I witnessed on social media last night was no different from what I’ve experienced time and time again. Whether in-person or on-line, conversations about skin color often transform into scenes that look like they were taken straight out of School Daze. While many dark-skinned women appreciate the acknowledgement of a pain that feels impossible to heal, others resent what feels like new picking at old sores, while many others reject the repetition of personal reflections that seemingly suggest that all dark-skinned women have issues. Some light-skinned women feel overlooked, their experiences seldom recognized as if their lightness somehow protects them from any pain. But if any of them dare say so, they are quickly and effectively dismissed if not silenced. Brown-skinned sisters who aren’t so light but aren’t that dark are somehow made to reflect on their own skin color as much lighter or much darker than it actually is, just so they can be a part of the conversation. Either that or they watch from the sidelines and remind us every now and again that we continue to push them to the sidelines. And where are the men? Either shaking their heads or being blamed for having us caught out there like so. And like clockwork, there are always more than a handful of brothers willing to offer their unsolicited opinions about their “preference.” In the end, we all head back to our corners exasperated and exhausted.

As I watched Dark Girls and the social media warfare that ensued, I couldn’t help but to question the film’s purpose. I mean, I know what Bill Duke and D. Channsin Berry have said – that they wanted to facilitate dialogue and help to move us towards healing. I get that, I support that, and I have the very same intentions for my own work. I wholeheartedly agree that a potential for our healing lies in open and honest conversation. However, we have to be purposeful about that conversation. Part of the reason why we aren’t able to have different conversations about skin color is because we aren’t talking about skin color any differently than we have been since forever. We can’t seem to talk about our color without our complex.

For nearly two hours, I watched dark-skinned women, faces tear-stained and emotions raw, testify about all the many and painful ways that colorism has damaged their beings. Unfortunately what I didn’t see were any of the myriad ways that the conversation could have and should have been nuanced. Yes, I am a dark-skinned woman, who was once a dark-skinned little girl who grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana and therefore knows all too well how colorism can break you if you let it. But I didn’t let it. And what Dark Girls was missing was that voice. The voice of the confident, assured, self-affirming, self-loving, “I wish you would tell me I’m not the ish” sister, who although she can relate to the pain refuses to stay stuck in it and has somehow figured out how to find beauty in her reflection. We needed that voice, not to distract from or to negate the experiences of pain, but rather to balance them with the capacity for triumph, if the purpose of the dialogue is in fact our healing. If we truly want to heal, we have to stop talking at each other and start talking with each other. And to do that, we need all voices at the table – dark, light, and every shade in-between – without the “vs.” While not with equal measure, colorism does impact us all. I’m not sure that those of us on the darker-end of the spectrum really need to maintain a monopoly on the pain. I think there’s room for other voices and other experiences. We needed the voice of the light-skinned sister to tell us what it’s like to walk into a room and have women who know nothing about her throw daggers with their eyes, or the light-skinned sister who stays in the sun and has either loc’ed her hair or cut it very close because she’s down for her people and doesn’t want anything about her presence to cause the browner-skinned women she considers her sisters to question their value. We needed that balance, if in fact the purpose of the dialogue is healing.

We also needed to hear more from men about their own experiences with colorism, not just their opinions about women’s experiences. In our dialogues and debates, we act as if colorism doesn’t affect men too. Again, not with same measure, but impactful still. There’s a reason why dark-skinned men have no problem opening their mouths to report that they “prefer” light-skinned women and perhaps that reason has something to do with how what they see in the mirror makes them feel. Instead of continuing to ask men about their personal “preferences,” why not hold them to task and ask them to make sense of that in light of their own complexions? (pun absolutely intended) For every dark-skinned man who wants only a light-skinned woman, there is a light-skinned man who only wants a dark-skinned woman. Like his darker skinned brethren, he also doesn’t want his children to go through what he went through. Either that, or he wants a woman who will validate and authenticate his Blackness and therefore his manhood. And on the subject of White men – yes, there are White men who appreciate our complexions, but there are also White men who exoticize us in ways no different from their forefathers did. So no gold stars for the White men who adore their chocolate lovers. Dark-skinned, light-skinned, or White, as I always say, there is a fine line between preference and pathology.

I find it interesting that the two dark-skinned male directors were inspired to make the film because of their observations of “the unfortunate pain” of others and not their own. I’ll admit that I take issue with Dark Girls for the same reason I was incensed by Chris Rock’s Good Hair: aside from the fact that it is Black men leading the conversation about Black women on issues that also affect Black men, most problematic is the absence of any substantial contextualization within global White supremacy. To Dark Girls’ credit, there was some focus on enslavement and the trauma it caused, as well as some discussion of the global impact of the media in creating particular images of beauty, and I do believe one of the experts interviewed actually said the word “global White supremacy.” (Good Hair offered no such context which ultimately served to pathologize Black women – as if our issues with our hair came out of nowhere. We are some peculiar creatures aren’t we?) Still, in focusing on personal story after personal story, that much-needed context was somehow lost and the issues were over-personalized. We needed to walk away from the conversation assured that we are not “crazy” and that we did not do this to ourselves. What we needed was a conversation centered more on the history and continued legacy of global White supremacy because …

“if you do not understand White Supremacy – what it is, and how it works – everything else that you understand, will only confuse you.”(Neely Fuller, Jr.)

Our relationships to colorism and to each other made me hesitant to offer any critique of Dark Girls out of concern that they would be seen as just another line of arsenal in our ongoing wars.

For as much as I have to say about the film, while watching with my social media crew last night, I tried very hard not to say anything at all. I knew that the film would be very powerful for many women and that many of them would finally feel affirmed by the fact that the conversation was being had in such a public manner and that it was endorsed by Oprah no less! But I also know that if we don’t start having new and nuanced conversations about skin color and colorism, we will continue to be at war.


Dr. Yaba Blay is currently co-Director and Assistant Teaching Professor of Africana Studies at Drexel University. Her research focuses on Black identities and the politics of embodiment, with particular attention given to hair and skin color politics. She is the author of the forthcoming book (November 2013), (1)ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race. 

  • Mela1

    I thought I was going to hate this film but I enjoyed it because it was global. He interviewed Asian women (a Korean woman) who had dealt with similar issues. Wow! I loved that he interviewed Black women form Latin America too. I do agree, I wish there were some assertive dark girls who were interviewed because I know many dark skinned girls who had the right parents and are just fiercely assertive (more than me!). One funny scene is that woman who says she wanted to be a model and thought she looked like Grace Jones. Herein lies the problem. She could never be a model and did not look like the beautiful Grace at all but no one is telling her that. She thinks she can’t be a model because she is dark but really she can’t because she had the oddest, most disproportionate, super androgynous face ever. It was not a pleasant face to look at and not because it was dark. Keeping it real.

  • Mela1

    One more thing, I also think focusing too much on white supremacy would take the responsibility off of us too. Hate to say it. Lil Wayne has the power to have dark skinned girls in his videos. We have the power to not uphold Beyonce as the ideal black beauty but we don’t do it. We are not innocent. Besides, colorism in Asia let’s say has a lot to do with class and maybe sometimes not so much with race. Whites love the blonde, blue eyed look and many white girls can’t live up to that standard. Just a thought. Yes, white supremacy has a role in this but I think we too love their traits and celebrate it all the time. Even black people in power like Jay Z, Lil Wayne and also look at who black men marry when they reach a certain status? Very light women. We play a role. We are not innocent.

  • http:tontonmichel.tumblr.com Tonton Michel

    Very good article I haven’t seen the documentary yet but I wasn’t expecting it to be well rounded still in all I thought they would have the voice of women who do not see their skin tone as a handicap. As for this “Instead of continuing to ask men about their personal “preferences,” why not hold them to task and ask them to make sense of that in light of their own complexions?”, very good question, I have noticed that some men fall into light brotha dark sista, dark brotha light sista match up with no small help from their opposite sex. We probably do get a pass on that.

  • Santi

    Thank you Mela1! While I respect Dr. Blay and her work, too often I think she tries to shift the blame towards white America. They started it, but we’re continuing it. We focus too much on white America, period. And that is the real issue. Lets stop worrying about them, what they did, and what they do. Let’s take responsibility and accountability.

  • http://gravatar.com/missinformation7 Ms. Information

    And shaving her hair made it worse….

  • Nicoline

    I consider myself to be a “dark girl” yet I cant ever remember a time when I felt like I wasnt pretty. People have always described me as cute, pretty or whatever and Im dark! I have never had anyone insult me or make negative comments about my skin.
    Which leaves me wondering if maybe Im not as dark as I think I am or maybe people did make comments but I was just oblivious to them.

    Any who, I enjoyed watching but I just couldn’t relate to it on a personal level. It was disappointing to here some of the men in dark girls comment that they refuse to date dark girls. I’ve heard men say this in real life and I have a little brother who only likes “exotic” looking black girls. Terrible. I guess I just dont understand why these woman were so hung up on what other people thought of them. Some of them claimed that they felt like no one would want them because of their skin color but there are billions of people walking this earth. I guarantee someone wants you dark skin and all!

  • Nicoline

    That Grace Jones comment made me laugh out loud! I was thinking the exact same thing!

  • http://gravatar.com/missinformation7 Ms. Information

    The documentary good but just like Mela1 said, it kinda portrayed that ALL dark women have low self esteem. Every good documentary has to touch on all sides, not just the side that they are trying to prove. Put some confident dark skinned women on film and have them talk about the positives of being dark….not ALL dark women are depressed and oppressed….most top black models are very dark…there are many many dark beautiful women with varied features….some of the women shown would be considered unacttractive whether dark or light or in between….ijs

  • Nicoline

    I agree! I was thinking the same thing when I was looking at some of those women.

  • Smilez_920

    I saw “Dark Girls” when it first came out and again last night. I think we can’t have a real conversation about colorism until we stop talking about it from one angle. It’s not a conversation if only one person is talking. It needs to be a conversation where everybody talks and listen.

    As someone with women of all different complexions in my family, my darker cousin, aunties and even mother have never made “being dark” seem like a burden or something that killed them every single day. I’m sure ppl have said a few slick comments about their skin color only to be told off. Every time we see these documentaries it’s like directors pick the most self conscience, no confident having dark skin women to represent every dark skin woman that has experienced colorism. How can little dark girls watch this movie and feel confident after. Where’s the dark skin woman who can tell their stories about how they uplifted themselves from the negativity and started loving themselves.

    And I know I will probably get some thumbs down for this but. Not only do documentaries (not so much this one) pick the most homely looking dark skin women to interview or do comparisons with. For example media:

    If I’m a dark skin girl and all I see in media, movie and tv shows is absolutely gorgeous light skinned women, what am I going to think when I look for women who are my complexion, minus the Tikka Shumptors etc…and the majority roles they’re portraying are the loud, angry, ugly, attitude, low self confident, sister, how am I suppose to feel about myself.

    Overall I think the documentary was cool. But I hope more of a positive conversation starts from it.

  • Trisha

    “there are many many dark beautiful women with varied features” — this is a good point and oftentimes I think this fact is overlooked.

  • Santi

    There were beautiful dark skinned women in that documentary

  • Between Light and Dark

    A “Dark Girls” documentary that doesn’t even try to get super models like Alek Wek, Naomi Campbell, and Grace Jones, or a provocateur like Kola Boof in the line-up, if only to counter the “woe is me” narrative is a documentary showing its hand. I was definitely missing the voices of Dark Girls who rock their beauty, kick a$$, and keep it moving. Where were they?

    Not to mention – that one guy who talked about the beautiful “blue-black” people of Senegal. You mean to tell me the film couldn’t get some footage of the beautiful black-black people of Senegal (or the Sudan for that matter). Just one shot of their gorgeous black selves would have shut this conversation down!

    So many ways to portray this issue: 1) Highlight the impact of white supremacy; 2) Discuss the pain; and 3) Give as an alternative aesthetic!

    This film only succeeded at #2.

  • Deb

    she stated “not so much this one”

  • Faye

    I didn’t get the impression that ALL dark women have self-esteem issues while I was watching it. The film seemed to be more about where the self-esteem issues regarding color come from. However, it did depress me, but colorism in the black community needs to be discussed. Sometimes simply being able to talk about your pain is the first step to healing.

  • Ask_ME

    “The voice of the confident, assured, self-affirming, self-loving, “I wish you would tell me I’m not the ish” sister, who although she can relate to the pain refuses to stay stuck in it and has somehow figured out how to find beauty in her reflection.”

    I just don’t think black men should be telling black women’s stories period. Whenever it happens it comes out one-sided, biased and to be frank, simplistic.

    Like the author of this post, I too was looking for the above dark-skinned black woman. Instead, I got the same old, “I grew up thinking I was ugly…light-skinned black women are evil” dark-skinned black woman’s stories.

    There were no light-skinned black women in the documentary to compact some of the beliefs put forth by the men and women against them.

    While many of the women were attractive there were some, who were crying buckets of tears, who weren’t so attractive. A change of skin color wouldn’t change this in my opinion. So, I don’t think the issue is always based solely on skin color as some of the women and men believe.

    All in all it wasn’t a bad documentary, but it wasn’t that great either. I enjoyed the conversations Oprah had with black actresses in Hollywood that aired before the documentary more.

  • http://goo.gl/uiHaH Greg Dragon

    “There’s a reason why dark-skinned men have no problem opening their mouths to report that they ‘prefer’ light-skinned women and perhaps that reason has something to do with how what they see in the mirror makes them feel.”

    Beautiful article. Not to deflect but that quote above struck a nerve with me so I’d like to give an answer from a personal standpoint… can we please stop with the generalizations of black men – especially when weighing real men out here doing things versus rappers, cat-callers on the street, and token bad dates from Okcupid? Many dark skinned men who I know personally do not hold a preference for “light-skinned” women but I am talking about professionals with money, not kids who want to be Lil Wayne when they grow up. A beautiful woman is a beautiful woman and most of the time it comes down to tolerance, understanding and acceptance.

    I can add that many times we dark-skinned men are not welcome to the conversation because our honesty does not add to the plight of the dark-skinned girl in many ways. Nobody wants to hear that a childhood of rejection–when the Al B.Sure’s of the world was what every little girl wanted–led to us broadening our horizons in order to find love wherever it was available. Nobody wants to hear about how the pretty, smooth-skinned, dark girl rejecting us for “being too black” led to the feeling that women our complexion aren’t interested to begin with. And nobody wants to hear that light-skinned women sometimes have a preference for dark-skinned men… which in turn pairs us up because guess what… men like available women. It’s a complex issue on our end but it has been generalized into “black men prefer light-skinned women” and this really isn’t fair.

    Speaking to other men of my shade, when we reflect on what we went through coming up it is a story that hasn’t had much focus in the past (right Bill Duke?). What we get – like many things male nowadays, is a loud opinion on how we have the over on getting any woman we want – if only that were true. Dark-skinned men are continuously told that we have nothing to complain about; that dark skinned men are the problem – more of the sins of our no-good brethren (who ironically don’t read blogs) levied unto us to own as our own, and we had better be quiet and accept it.

    On topic: This documentary and more like it will miss it’s mark until the perpetrators, the wounded, and the people seeking answers are ready to listen, come up with solutions and make moves towards it. The angry, bitter, and misinformed should not be the most vocal, but like everything else this is not the case so it seems like a good effort and that’s about it.

  • Trisha

    I haven’t seen the documentary as of yet.

    I was really hoping that it would provide some solutions of how to deal with the ongoing issues with colorism.

    Also, I wanted to point out that I’ve noticed the dark men who normally struggle with colorism are usually older (maybe 40+). Majority of them have just as many scares as dark women. Even though they have been accepted, embraced, and sort after for the past 15 to 20 years or so.

  • Deal-n-Truth

    The confident an self-assured “Dark Girl” does exists and I am one of them. At first I didn’t want to see it thinking that it was going to be a “pity party” and glad that I did watch this awesome documentary. I watched and I also know of the ridicule that I received from those who I came across in pubic who tried to place their self-hatred and insecurity on to me without any success, so I fully understand where they were coming from.

    In our home we weren’t taught that we were inferior and no matter what the public said, they couldn’t degrade me no matter how hard they tried because I knew and still know who and what I am. We must raise our children up with a better standard of self and our history as a people regardless of what’s in the history books.

    The psychiatrists in the documentary were so awesome that I looked most of them up and found that they have created programs for those who are hurting from the effects of a lack of self-worth to regain their power to heal from their emotional wounds.

    Twitter can be so negative at times and I’ve made it a practice to not follow those who I find to be overly critical, insecure and judgmental of others, so my timeline was super positive in their commentary of the documentary.

    It doesn’t matter who (black man or black woman) tells the story, just as long as the story get’s told and those of you who don’t agree with this statement need to tell those stories from your view-point if so be it, otherwise it’s just the usual talk or whining without the actions.

  • http://deereeder.wordpress.com deereeder

    I really wish you would do a documentary. I agree 200% that the nuanced convo is needed- some of us get this in college, but it’s based on the course choices you make. So many people never get to peek into the context, which in and of itself would ease the pain. As a scholar, you write and probably convene with others who have these understandings- we need all of you to make your knowledge, into common/public knowledge.

  • Sashay

    and there you go Mela, “keeping it real”, critiquing this woman’s facial features? really? she may not look like grace jones, but based on you description of “odd” and “androgynous”, that is exactly what grace jones is. the comparison was fitting and understood. your comment just rubbed salt into a wound. have a seat…

  • Nicoline

    I used the wrong “here” meant to use HEAR.
    My bad!

  • Nicoline

    Okay! I’ll just say what I think she meant (I might be wrong)….

    She was using “odd” and “androgynous” as a nice way of saying facially challenged. In other words ugly…but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I think Im pretty but Im sure Im ugly to some people.

  • http://deereeder.wordpress.com deereeder

    Love this critique, the directors need to see it. If you are going to choose to look narrowly at one component, you at least need to be knowledgeable enough to express that’s what you’re about to do. Show that you know the larger context but are choosing to focus deeply on one component. I think that’s excellent feedback to directors.

  • Mz. Manning

    This is how the lady looks now. We don’t know what she looked like when she was a child/teenager/young adult because they did not show any pictures of her before. Anytime you have a bully or a person with low self-esteem trying to project their issues on you, they will try to make you feel bad about something that society sometimes deems unacceptable or not beautiful such as being fat or maybe to them your skin is very dark. Some people say that Grace Jones is ugly and some say she is beautiful, fierce and fabulous. As a child they were calling her Grace Jones as an insult. Beauty comes in all skin colors, shapes, and sizes and physical features. To me being beautiful is having the confidence to work with what you have and rock out with your top out. The most beautiful thing I have ever seen on anyone is confidence. Some people thought the Notorious B.I.G. was ugly, he even rapped about being fat, black, and ugly as ever, but he had beautiful women who loved him such as Faith Evans, Lil Kim, and Charli Baltimore. I’ve heard he had other good qualities about him, but he also was confident. You have to know your self-worth even if no one else tells you that. When you have confidence in yourself your light will shine so right and you will attract a lot of people. Some good and some bad so you have to weed out the bad ones. She probably could have been a model, but without the proper resources and encouragement her dream has been deferred. What one person doesn’t like another one will.

  • http://gravatar.com/keimia Kam

    In some of the comments there seems to be a shame in being seen as vulnerable or hurt. This is not the only time I’ve noticed it. Why are people so worried that dark skinned girls would be seen a depressed or victim? Tell me when has this country ever shown a shred of sympathy to a Black woman’s hurt? What space does a Black woman have where she can get some damn sympathy for her tears? Are Black women seen as vulnerable in the media? By and large, no. We are told to be a Strong Black Woman, to be like emotionless automotons when people hurt us. It seems like when a Black woman is hurting she either has to “Let Go and Let God” or “Brush the Haterz Off”. For goodness sake, you’re human, feel your pain a bit. And for those of us watching we can at least offer a damn hug, instead of trying to tell people to just not be sad. I hate how we try to sweep problems under the rug. It gets us nowhere.

    I think it’s good in a way for these women to show the hurt, because it shames those who stand by and let it happen. Just recently a dark skinned friend of mine announced she was going to visit Senegal and she had a whole bunch of people telling her not to get darker (described in various ways like charcoal, and burnt). People thought nothing wrong of saying this to a fellow human being in 2013. Not one iota of shame in their statements.

    I for one am glad that this documentary came out and showed women suffering. I have so much empathy for these women.

  • Mz. Manning

    I meant shine so bright.

  • http://twitter.com/rastaqueen92 Shug Avery (@rastaqueen92)

    I didn’t like the white savior thing they were trying to push…white men (people) appreciate dark skin more than black men do.

    As far as the men interviewed, their comments didn’t shock me because you most likely will meet some asshats who claim they’d never date a dark skin girl (but will have sex with them) and some who the darker the berry (you finish the rest).

    That statistic about marriage…what did that have to do with skin color?

    What bothered me were the people on my timeline saying…Colorism, why do we have to talk about this again? or …I’m sure Clutch and Madam Noire will have plenty articles discussing this so after this week can we stop with the dark v. light conversation?

    No we can’t stop talking about colorism because it’s an issue that still exists. It exists in various black communities around the world (regardless of how much money you make). For goodness sake, in North America at most Asian owned beauty supply stores there are skin bleaching products and it’s even worse in the Caribbean, Africa and South America.

    Until Black people embrace all shades because they’re beautiful and demand that our diversity be depicted in the media in a positive manner then Black people can’t give it a rest.

  • http://deereeder.wordpress.com deereeder

    I appreciate your perspective, and I think its a both/and kind of thing. I think the point you make about allowing black women to show vulnerability is amazing. I also think that there is a broader conversation that never gets air, and that needs to change. I was recently at a training on trauma, and one of the points made by the presenting practioners was a phenomenal research finding: When trauma victims were given an assessment (the ACE) that asked them to indicate which traumatic events had occurred in their lifetime, and then afterward asked to write down how they felt these experiences affected their life, long-term data showed that responding to that last question had long-term positive effects on people’s physical and mental/emotional health. So: I do think there’s room and need for the pain discussion for a number of reasons including the insight you pointed out. But it will actually help sufferers AND observers to engage the broader contextual reasons behind the suffering, rather than simply focus on the victimization.

  • Deb

    Nothing wrong with talking as long as there is some ACTION. For some people, talking is all the work they need to do. Action needs to come on the black community’s part (worldwide in respective enviroments) and not from society itself because that will never happen.

    It all starts with individuals. We need to continually teach and show our children that their skin and different shades are beautiful, SHUT DOWN negative talk about darker skin when you hear it. People need to be called out…that is only the beginning. Maybe there can be a difference in the next generation.

  • http://gravatar.com/keimia Kam

    What I’m trying to say is one documentary where there previously has been none is not “focusing” on documentation. It’s a start. If this entire documentary consisted solely of a dark skined woman crying it would be a step up.

  • Ange B

    I like this article and to me the biggest point was that this discussion of colour needs to discussed in the context of global white supremacy. I don’t mean to discredit anyone’s individual experience but the issue is broader and much more complex than an individuals experience, especially if there are many persons experiencing very similar situations themselves. I personally have never understood someone man or woman who declare they only date dark or light skinned men and women. And perhaps if there was a dialogue that looked at those individuals and what causes them to be so absolute in their preferences on all sides, we would find ourselves discussing the larger issues of ‘global white supremacy’.

  • http://gravatar.com/rastaman rastaman1967

    I was thinking the same thing watching this documentary last night on the couch with my lady. We are both 2 dark completed folks both of whom came from the kind of families where being dark was not a negative but something to be cherished. Throughout my dating life I have never paid much attention to a woman’s complexion as a determinant of her attractiveness. Unattractive comes in all complexions and yes I do see the folks who are thirsty for light skin. You can’t miss them at all, they cannot see beyond skin complexion and I always thought, well more for me. I have also encountered the ladies with the poor self esteem due to the issues with their dark skin, I was not interested in fighting through that crap to get her to accept I found her beautiful. Who has time for that?

    I am dark and there are many dark skin and lighter completed members in the family. So I am aware of the dynamics that happen around complexion we are not immune. I also encountered the skin color issues in school but I was lucky it never affected me. Yeah I have had women overlook me because I was darker but I never saw it different from women who overlooked a friend because they were short. Not for nothing but short folks catch hell out here too.

  • BlackBeauty

    Although I understand and can appreciate the film/Doc, it did leave a lot to be discussed.

    I think it should have included ALL shades of black so that everyone had a voice at the table. Also, the men that they did interview in my opinion did not give us the best spectrum of black men that are out here today.

    What was missing ws the pain that the lighter skinned sisters have had to suffer. It is not all about dark skin women. There is so much more to the story than that.

    As a lighter skined women I had many problems in school because most (not all) of the dark skinned girls were down right nasty and mean to those of lighter skin, longer hair, or different eye color. They pulled your hair, started fights for no reason, pushed you in the halls and dared you to say anything, tried to mess usyour clothes, and of course called you names like high yellow, half breed, half baked, white girl, yellow and orange and so much more. I remember having to fight this girl who was very dark and she jumped on me in the alley, and I gave her a royal ass kicking. After that we became friends LOL! In Jr. High it continued with some because the boys came into play. Of course the light skinned girls were accused of “taking” the boys away from the dark skinned girls which continued into adult-hood with some women automatically not liking you simply because of how you looked. These same types always felt “uncomfortable” with you in the room with their husbands or boyfriends, and would accuse you of trying to take their man, when it was their man who was doing all the looking and winking. There was pain on both sides.

    If we are to have a true discussion we need everyone at the table, and we need to come with bare honesty. We need black men to be honest. Unattractive women will not be with the most attractive man out here! And they should not expecy that just because they are black that they will be found attractive. In other words, we truly need to come to the table with honesty, and tell the whole story.

  • Guest

    @ Greg

    I absolutely love your complexion. I always have, even during those Al B. Sure days. To me, nothing is sexier than a dark-skinned man sweating in the sun. It’s just beautiful and alluring.

  • Josie


  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    Perfect assessment! I watched the documentary and honestly I still don’t know how I feel about it. On one hand I liked the brutal honesty behind it but on the other hand, I’ am screaming…”is this it? It can’t end like this?” It just felt like someone dropped an equation in my lap and said “okay solve it…” but didn’t give me the tools and the know how to solve it. I mean I can understood the issues and pain of these women/girls though to others it may seem that I’ am not directly affected by it in the same capacity as a dark skin person but I can still sympathize with the struggles of dark skin women/girls without injecting my own issues. But we are still viewing this issue on a myopic level…of me, me me when this subject is broad and is interwoven with other issues we face so this documentary didn’t crack the surface of the iceberg. I think to fully address this issue you have to address and hold white supremacy accountable (and those who upheld white supremacy and sadly some of the look like us) WHILE doing personal work and growth on yourself. Not saying you have to discount your personal experience because it matters but personal experience is only a drop in the bucket it does NOT make up the whole bucket. Furthermore, your personal experience isn’t everybody’s personal experience nor can you judge or assume other personal experience based on yours. Lastly, I said it before and I’ll say it again WE have a PR problem with one another that spans every hue and sectors of nationalities/cultures that we need to fix not only locally but GLOBALLY.

  • Eye Candy

    Ok, I watched the documentary last night and to be honest, I am sick and tired of this light skin vs. dark skin issue.
    The women in this documentary talked about light skinned females as if we were a seperate race. I’m a light skinned black female but do you really think whites care about one black girl being a few shades lighter than the next one? No! At the end of the day to close minded racists, we are still seen as inferior regardless of who’s lighter and who’s darker. The struggles of a darker skinned black is still the struggles of a light skinned black and vice versa. Maybe we need to keep that in mind.

  • tina

    I just don’t understand why complextion is an issue. I am deep brown but that has not and does not affect my life,except when I’m shopping for foundation.
    No matter what shade of black you are, you’re still black. Your shading won’t effect your getting the job or promotion or college acceptance or your station in life.There are no inside blacks or outside blacks.
    We come in every shade and I don’t see why someone can’t have a preference in a mate or an attraction. Both men and women have preferences. Just like a white person may prefer a brunette to a blonde.
    The only dialog necessary is….let’s find something important to talk about.

  • Parker

    That preference (prejudice is what it is) when it comes to skin tone just doesn’t and will never sit right with me. I mean like someone said before how can skin tone be a measurement for a person’s beauty. Like if you take someone like Beyonce who is considered beautiful and make her dark skinned will that take away from her beauty. Also a lot of people are trying to make this seem like a non-existing issue because they never dealt with it. It seems selfish to me to try to make this smaller than what it is just because they never encounter backlash because of your tone.

  • Neasha

    I curious at why we keep reliving the EXTENSIVE pain and hurt of race, color, segregation and other painful issuses that have occured in our HISTORY. Knowing is one thing but reliving it until you can not function or make sound self preserving decisions in you life, is just wrong. To me. I know about and have experienced racism from whites, blacks and latinos. I have a deep red & yellow hue to my skin tone due to the Navajo & Cherokee Indian blood that I have been so blessed to be a decendant of. Black folks have told me that they KNOW that “my peoples ain’t all black” Latio’s have asked me which of my ancestors was raped by an Indian cause Indians back then were better than blacks….LOL and the endless negative treatment of some white folks, but it didn’t and doesn’t stop me from loving me. I was taught to love me even those that created and birth me may stop.

    I just have never known for a doctor to keep going back into the chest & heart of a patience that he performed open-heart surgery on in order for him to move on to the next patient. IJS

  • http://gravatar.com/geenababe geenababe

    This documentary bother me and also enlighten me how deep this issue goes in the black community. I couldn’t almost take some of the things that were being said. The moments that stuck out to me was the little girl pointing to the pictures of the drawings. The second one was the girl who talked about her cousin’s facebook posting of loving white girls and then someone replying “Don’t get mad because white skin looks better on everything”. I couldn’t believe and could believe that because you see ignorant stuff like that on social networking sites all the time. The third thing that stuck out to me was the men talking about what they like and all the dumb stigmas attached to dark skinned women. I was shocked at how all the dark skinned men stuck up for the dark skinned women. I mean it all starts at home but the people at home could be the ones teaching these horrible things. I mean for example the girl who said her and her friend (who was lighter) like a boy and the father of the boy saying something like don’t choose the dark girl. He made fun of her name but I forgot what he exactly said. That kill me that a grown man would say that out loud in front of kids. Like where is your filter at?

    I do think the documentary could have touch on other points like the pain of dark skinned men. Or more on this issues outside of the United States. Also the commercials were getting on my nerves. They were only play ten minutes of the documentary before another commercial block popped up.

  • Kim

    I don’t think most people are ready for the whole story to be addressed, including those calling for such action.

  • Wanda

    I found the documentary very depressing. It didn’t keep my attention the second hour.

    Looking at some of the complexions in the film that were considered “dark,” I guess I’ve qualified as a “dark girl” all these years and didn’t know it. LOL.

    I have never felt ashamed or marginalized because of my milk-chocolateness. Been married to a guy for a long time who kinda liked my color way back and still apparently does.

    I had light skinned girls in my school who wore wigs (and would get them snatched off regularly by kids) while I had a head of full, flowing hair. Everyone has their own burden to deal with.

  • http://n/a Rebecca

    Guest-type posts from scholars like this one are great! I also think this is an appropriate length for a post, so consider that in the future.

    I think it takes people like this to push your thinking even further. I bet you were amazed and happy to view Dark Girls, but this entry just makes you think even more. Good job, Clutch.

  • Gail

    For me, I’m just really tired of the “Oh I am so sorry you’re dark skinned black woman, it must really suck”-ish that continues to be put out there by the media and blogs. I dont need a pity party or sympathy flowers over my skin color. Its 2013, and its sad we keep having whites and other blacks “feeling oh so bad” for us. I’m going to move on. I won’t be watching this documentary and dont need a pat on the back nor a hug. Just tired.

  • Cleb

    I don’t think I can ever watch that movie again. I left feeling that people will walk away with the assumption that every dark skinned women has had issues with being dark skinned, which certainly is not the case with me. While I am not immune to it on a societal level, on a personal level the pain of being dark skinned (that many of the women expressed in the film) is not something that I have ever personally subscribed to or felt victim of. This is not to say anyone’s feelings are irrelevant but I wish that the documentary profiled more women like myself. Whether it be the way I was raised or my confidence in general, the pain is not something that I have ever experienced personally.

    I also wish that they focused more on the root of the problem, which is our ongoing history of self hatred as well as where it comes from. There was also no need for them to focus so much on the preferences of those black men. There was no genuine antithesis to their comments.

    After watching, I walked away feeling very uncomfortable. There is no need for a part 2. Apparently they will be doing another one focusing on light skinned women. Funny, how it’s always about black women and our issues as though the men are perfect.

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    “as though the men are perfect”

    we are…..ha ha ha

  • Gail

    Exactly, And blacks in general, like CNN highlighting the month long series “Being black in America” like we are a freaking museum! (Which NYC Museum of Modern Art apparently thinks we are since they erected an exhibit on “Afro textured” hair so people can touch them and learn about our hair. Like a freaking petting zoo. WTF?? ) I am soo tired of it. I would love a documentary on being White in a America. Just see how foolish this crap is.

  • Lovebug

    There is a difference between being vulnerable and pathetic. The women in this film were pathetic: crying and weeping because you know it is so darn hard to be a black woman. How about it is wonderful to be a black woman? Vulnerable (which I applaud) is saying I have things to work on myself and sometimes I am weak. Pathetic is begging a white world to accept your skin color when in 400 years it never promised you that.

  • Denise

    The woman WAS unattractive though. That’s okay. Some people are. Do you think Flavor Flav is good looking? Do you think he is as hot as Tyson Beckford? Please answer that question. The point Mela was making is that she thought this woman said she was not able to be a model because of prejudice against her dark skin. Like those American Idol contestants who can’t sing and say it is because Simon did not like them. Not it is because you sing like a cat being tortured. On Grace Jones, a masculine look is stunning, on this woman, not so much. That’s ok, maybe she is great at something else but MOST of us cannot be supermodels. I never thought of myself as a model but I was great at math and did something close to that as a career. I never said I was not a model because I was a black woman. No it is because I was just a cute girl with regular looks. My sister was the beauty and I was the brains. My sister is darker than me. The woman in the film loses the argument when she is crying to us that she couldn’t be a model because she is dark. If she looked like Grace Jones, Paris designers would eat her up. Alek Wek is an example. Alek is beautiful and statuesque. Don’t be 100 pounds overweight talking about being denied modeling because you are dark. Also, she is older now I know but some of her “model” looks shoulda help up now too and they didn’t so I say she is delusional. End of story.

  • JaneGee

    Grace Jones is beautiful and this woman was not. What is there to say. I am cute but I am not Tyra and I know that. Why doesn’t this woman know that. Also, if she was cute 20 years ago, we should see some of it now. I call BS on her.

  • Mahoganyface

    I watched the documentary and I have to agree with some posters about it being extremely one-sided and in a way, biased. I am a dark girl and although I did not experience most of the ridicule the interviewees did, it would have been more telling if they included dark skin women who have embraced and appreciate who they are and diffused the notion that we are broken, damaged, and inferior. Not all of us can relate to their stories. There needed to be a healthy balance of the good and the bad, the truth and the reality,and a real account of every experience from every perspective. It was ok, but lacked depth, in my opinion.

  • Mee

    Why were all the commercials about skin enhancements? LOL. Why were they so many commercials? Why all the crying? If a black man does not like your skin color, do what I do and date a blonde white man…WITH MONEY! Check!

  • Fossilizedrelic

    So it was both pity party and kvetching party then? With a few white men thrown in to make it all better.

    I think I’m going to make my own documentary “black people who like being black”.

    No narcissism. no confrontation. no hating, no fuck yoos to give to give out. We’re just happy to be black.

    Yeah I know, they’d do like they done Salman Rushdie.

  • Rochelle

    Swear to God…. I thought that woman was a man before she opened her mouth. I even said it out loud. Swear…..

  • Andrea

    OK, you realize that the dark-skinned celebrities you mentioned are non-American former models — models who more than likely initially were scouted by white Europeans. Meaning that their beauty was “validated” by others and then we (Americans) fell in line and accepted them only after they became well-known. I agree that the doc should have added the voices of the more confident or assertive sisters who overcame. But I bet you somewhere along the line even the confident sisters have felt some kind of way about the way they were viewed by the world.

  • Kendra

    Can I just say once and for all that white people who tan are not trying to be black. I have never met a white person who wants to be black because they would lose their privilege. They tan for a few hours and know they will turn white right after. Let’s stop using that as an argument. Anyway, whatever to this documentary. Beyonce and Halle are still the most beautiful black women right? Talk to me when y’all decide to raise a dark woman to Halle status. Dark is beautiful. I am dark and I know that.

  • http://gravatar.com/keimia Kam

    It actually wasn’t a pity party, and I’m side eye-ing the people who said it was. The documentary is available online, you can watch it for yourself.

  • http://gravatar.com/keimia Kam

    No one gives a pity party over a dark skinned woman’s problems. You’re supposed to be a strong Black woman and shoulder the burden yourself. That’s the point.

  • Tisha

    I think your view here is very narrow and unrealistic. I live in the South and there is still a huge disadvantage to being dark down here. Even to the point where darker Blacks don’t get elected/appointed to positions and the few that get past that hurdle never get any positive press. This is a great deal of people’s everyday reality.

  • http://gravatar.com/keimia Kam

    They were crying because they were hurt because of their treatment. How is that wrong? Ya’ll are seriously not this emotionally stunted are you all?

  • Tisha

    I could not disagree more. Darker girls have a different kind of pain bc there is so very little representation in the media therefore there is an additional unspoken non-acceptance issue. You can even look at rap videos. Video girls of the last 15 years have certain complexions and hair textures. These underlying messages of what is beautiful and desirable absolutely has an impact on girls and their self esteem and image issues. And it hurts more when it originates from within our community (thus the rap video example).

  • The Artist

    I thought the documentary was good, of course it wasn’t well-rounded, but I’m guessing in order to fully grasp the full issue of colorism they would probably have to produce a whole weeks worth of two hour episodes. Perhaps a documentary mini series next time?

  • Ada

    Prof. Blay, thank you for a fantastic and thorough critique of the documentary Dark Girls! I am a dark skin sistah and fall within the category of the underwhelmed; and found myself asking, “Could any Black female filmmaker put forth a film entitled Dark Boys?” Already knowing the answer, “of course not.” I do not appreciate Duke and Berry’s infantilizing title. Like you I was disturbed by this discourse from the perspective of the Black male gaze. Duke and Berry are both bruthas of a darker hue and can address colorism from both their intimate experience are and for how the institutional systems deal with darker black maleness: schools, police, housing, etc. Michael Eric Dyson eloquently speaks of the difference made between he and his brother and how he believes these—based on hue—led them to very different paths. Just as I do not need Kathryn Stockett (white gaze) to tell my story nor do I need Bill Duke, D. Channsin Berry or Chris Rock (black male gaze) to do so. I too attended the earlier premier on its stop in Oakland and was very disturbed when Duke and Berry offered a title for the sequel addressing colorism as it pertains to sistahs of a lighter hue with something like—“Yellow Brick Roads”—really? Enough with the objectification! Again, thank you for adding such a fantastic critique to the discourse.

  • ScriptTease

    Not sure why you received a thumbs down because I agree with everything…. Now when it comes to white folks and big lips big cheeks and big arses, they trying to emulate somebody, and my guess is a black physique.

  • Tisha

    I do not think we can discount the long term psychological effects of slavery and post slavery. 246 years of being likened to cattle and then another 98 years of being second class citizens has a very far reaching arm. I believe these ideas of inferiority and unworthiness have been burned onto our psyche and it’s going to take many more conversations to unearth this deep rooted pathology.

  • ScriptTease

    Like, being white is awesome, like nine times out of ten we get the job we seek. Being a white woman is awesome, we have our pick of any man we want. Men hold us to the highest of pedestals, like being white is amazing… and so on.

  • Tisha

    Dr. Blay I so appreciate you sharing your view. We definitely need to continue the conversation. It’s not something to put to the back burner or just “get over”. I would have liked to have heard an action plan of some kind, some way we can take the media to task and continue the dialogue. And though I understand why the male preference conversation was included, I could have totally done without it.

    What I really hope is that Black parents will see this and have conversations with their children about colorism and do their parts to stop the pathology.

  • Gail

    If that was the point, why spend money to make the movie in the first place? I don’t need a documentary to tell me that.

  • ScriptTease

    The little girls dealing with colorism is all I needed to know. That told it all, skin tone shouldn’t be an issue this day in age just like racism shouldn’t be…. but guess what it is. Most Older women had time to heal from this black on black racism, but a child…. someone is teaching this child that being dark skinned is not beautiful. It may not be her parents but the little kids who’s taunting her learned if from my guess, their parents. Black folks keep thinking this is a few isolated incidences. SAD SAD SAD.

  • Tisha

    Some people are uncomfortable with this conversation, but it is needed for this very reason. Many of the adult ladies featured were clearly still hurting, even the older lady with the beautiful silver hair who spoke of her trip to Cancun. I could see the hurt, which is why we can’t keep sweeping this under the rug and pretending we are all ok and Kumbyah.

  • ScriptTease

    “The struggles of a darker skinned black is still the struggles of a light skinned black and vice versa” If you’re speaking from a white person point of view, then yes I agree. But black on black, NO, the struggles are different. I’ve seen it up close and personal. I’ve witnessed more black on black racism than white on black.
    Cousin of mine was happy her daughter wasn’t born too black.
    My cousin’s mother Happy because she finally got her some lighter skinned grand babies.
    Lady at my church “bragging” because some people think she is mixed, but my Aunt let her know “until they see your hair, they know you are pure N’gr” (lol)
    Church Lady Son talking about he has to get some of this black off of him (dirty or suntan- cant remember)
    My neighbor didn’t want her daughters to play outside because they will get too dark.
    All this was recent, and I can go on for days.
    My first experience was when I was middle school- late 80′s my daddy built us a little shower outside to play in, and he was playing with us. Fat nasty light skinned lady drove by on the passengers side and told my daddy, “that’s right, wash some of that black off you.
    Months later, during a choir meet, a lady stopped at her relatives, and after she learned my daddy, she said “good thing you didn’t get his color”

    I know light skin girls catch it from self haters… but please black folks, stop acting like this BS don’t exist. Acknowledging it exist is the only way we can start to love each other.

  • Rochelle

    Tisha you need to move. To me the only time a woman has to worry about how dark their skin is, is when she begins to date. All this skin color debate has to do with dating options of black men and women. Black men prefer lighter skin blah blah blah…..Is that really that important? I mean really? If a man doesn’t want you for something as trivial as your skin color, GET ANOTHER MAN! That simple. Guess what, I see light skin blk (women) people in the worst slums, surrounded by violence and drugs, high school drop outs, teen moms, etc. They are light and their lives suck arse. I don’t want to be them, even if they get the “cute guy.” That is what blacks should worry about how to get better schools systems, speak better English and move up economically in this world. Not trivial skin color issues………because this is not Brazil. This is the USA. Here black is black is black.

  • Rochelle

    To me the only time a woman has to worry about how dark their skin is, is when she begins to date. All this skin color debate has to do with dating options of black men and women. Black men prefer lighter skin blah blah blah…..Is that really that important? I mean really? If a man doesn’t want you for something as trivial as your skin color, GET ANOTHER MAN! That simple. Guess what, I see light skin blk (women) people in the worst slums, surrounded by violence and drugs, high school drop outs, teen moms, etc. They are light and their lives suck arse. I don’t want to be them, even if they get the “cute guy.” That is what blacks should worry about how to get better schools systems, speak better English and move up economically in this world. Not trivial skin color issues………because this is not Brazil. This is the USA. Here black is black is black.

  • Marketing Gimmicks

    This part of our history needed to be told and I’m happy that it’s been officially documented. It’s a great beginning in exposing the affects of what it means to live in “rejected skin”. The only thing I wish “Dark Girls” would have delved a little further into is how dark girls are the least likely to be the beauty trophy, courted and chosen by men who have money, power, and influence. Dark girls want those options too!

    Finding men to sleep with dark girls has never been the issue. But finding men who want to marry us, take care of us, court us, spend money on us…men of means, status and privilege….is the silent killer of being dark…you are the least desirable when it comes to being shown off…and you have a snowball’s chance in hell of that star athlete creating a family with you. Thumbs me down but we all know its truer than true.

    I appreciated the men who talked about loving dark women but most of them looked like they were the proud owners of a couple of rusty nickels. My issue is that dark women aren’t viewed as desirable, feminine, girly or worthy of the princess treatment…yet light skin women, bi-racial women always seem to be the go to standard of successful black men and this is no accident.

    It would have been so lovely if our men were called on that in “Dark Girls”…..

    I’m a dark skin women who’s beauty was validated by my family but I’m not blind. Dark skin women are not even considered by men of status…and we all know why….

  • Tisha

    Trust me I know people who have moved away because of these issues. They are so deep rooted. But while I think this doc could have been more well rounded in it’s representation of confident well adjusted sisters, I completely understand the reason why this perspective was highlighted. It goes well beyond dating. It’s a self image, self worth issue. The media has done an awful job of representing the diversity of our beautiful Black people. Someone said it, Why is there no dark sister that’s held to the level in the media of Halle and Beyonce?? That leaves an imprint on the psyche.

  • Tisha

    It absolutely still exists. My mother and my grandmother both told me not to bring home no chocolate man cause they didn’t want no chocolate grandbabies. They also had a fit when I stopped relaxing my hair and went natural. Family members today tell my niece and nephew not to play outside in the sun so they won’t get too dark. This is poison and it’s prevalent in our community.

  • BeanBean

    I honestly didn’t think colorism existed in my family. WRONG WRONG WRONG. Over the past week I’ve counted the number of times my mom and grandma have said things like: “That baby is so ugly, but at least it’s bright skinned.” “Why would anyone marry someone that black?” “That baby is only going to get blacker.” “Don’t go outside right now, I don’t want you to turn chocolate.”

    I was shocked, I’ve never noticed it before, but now I do. My brother has only dated one black girl, the whole time my mom/ grandma talked about how black she was, and how she ‘looked like a little African with that nappy hair.’ A lot of people might not think they’ve experienced colorism, but if you look deep enough, or pay attention to details, you’ll discover that colorism is everywhere. Sad but true.

  • BeanBean

    I understand where you’re coming from. It really is a double edge sword, there is always two sides to the story. I have a biracial daughter that has experienced similar things. One day at school another black girl put glue in her hair, another time she pinches her. The girl that does this is dark skinned, and my daughter is a little on the pale side with auburn hair. I really hope the girl is just evil and isn’t doing this because of skin color. Blacks have to stop fighting each other. This whole ‘us against us’ has gotten blacks absolutely nowhere and it never will.

  • Z

    “To me the only time a woman has to worry about how dark their skin is, is when she begins to date”

    I wish this were true but it’s not. studies show skin color affects what kind of job you can get , prison time, any other “opportunities”
    . its not that simple.

    ” If a man doesn’t want you for something as trivial as your skin color, GET ANOTHER MAN!”

    unfortunately this is not easy when a large majority of the men that are available to dark women (black men) express a preference for lighter skin.

    ” Guess what, I see light skin blk (women) people in the worst slums, surrounded by violence and drugs, high school drop outs, teen moms, etc. They are light and their lives suck arse. I don’t want to be them, even if they get the “cute guy.”

    look at most men who are upwardly mobile. whether they graduated from college, are business owners or just in general can adequately provide for a family. what color skin is their mate?
    usually very light skinned.
    you think pointing out the few light skin women in the slums means anything?

    ” That is what blacks should worry about how to get better schools systems, speak better English and move up economically in this world.”

    how do we do this “moving up economically” if any effort made on my part is discounted by my dark skin?

    this is why folks get angry when light skin chicks talk about this stuff. you don’t know what in the heck you’re going on about.


  • SpkKay13

    There is also a difference in being empathetic towards someone and THEIR truth versus projecting YOUR expectations onto them based on YOUR truth. How can you ascertain that THEIR experience as dark skinned black women has been/is wonderful? How is it that you get to determine how they emote and express the pain that they feel based on their PERSONAL experiences? Even if you experienced the same kind of hurtful treatment and suffered alongside these ‘pitiful, attention seeking from the white man’ souls, your interpretation and manisfestation regarding what you have experienced could be completely different. How does anyone in our community truly expect open and honest dialogue to occur, as well as healing, concerning issues that plague people of color when transparency and vulnerability are met with apathy and heartless dismissiveness? How are we as a people any different from the unaware, priveleged members in mainstream society that constantly assert that ‘BLACKS SHOULD JUST GET OVER SLAVERY AND STOP LAMENTING OVER NONEXISTENT PSYCHOLOGICAL/
    SOCIOECONOMIC RAMIFICATIONS’ associated with a GLORIOUS era in American history? Comments such as these continue to confirm that we as a people are more detrimental and discouraging towards one another than the system that instituted and maintained racism/colorism in the first place. The aforementioned is the same kind of vitriol that perpetuates victim shaming/blaming and it is absolutely disgusting. Truthfully, people who can identify with this type of pain are exerting enough mental/emotional energy seeking the compassion , acceptance, and support from their own people. I am certain that there is not enough energy remaining to grovel for the acceptance of Caucasians.

  • http://twitter.com/NicT10 NicT (@NicT10)

    Ugh, can we stop assuming that light skinned women naturally have straighter or longer hair. There isn’t any correlation there. So the comment about light skinned women cutting or loc’ing their hair is just…

  • Ava

    Ohhhhhh! I consider myself so blessed and fortunate that I never encountered any negativty about my beautiful dark complexion, first of all I grew up in a home without ignorance and I was always told to embrace not only my good looks but my beautiful personality as well. I feel bad when I hear kids speaking about their skin color when they should be having the time of their life being a kid. I hope all my sister’s will let that negativity go and learn to love “God” put together and stop letting this crazy society validate who they think they should be. I don’t give a dam what a magazine says or Hollywood. You better own it and know it, and I know I’m beautiful Hale who! I don’t think so God didn’t make no mistakes here!

  • Z

    interesting how you equated being dark to being unattractive…


  • tina

    Tisha I live in GA you don’t get more south than that! My dark skin has not kept me or anyone I know from doing anything we wanted to do. My dark skin daughter have the same opportunities as my light skin one. All of my light daughters friends of every complextion graduated college and have jobs and are successful. The DARKEST of them all is now a doctor. Skin color doesn’t determine your success ,you do.

  • http://gravatar.com/chanela17 chanela17

    not to mention, most of them are knifed the hell up

  • TCL

    How can we never see a white person get a nose job to make their noses wider? White people are not trying to be us in any shape or form. The tanning, big butt and lip injection argument seems like a desperate one on our part. White people know the perks of being white and have no interest in losing it. We are the ones who want to look like them. Almost every famous black beauty is biracial. We, as a community, don’t bat an eye. Sorry, I have no sympathy for this documentary because we black people willingly accept colorism. I am beginning to think we actually believe white is better.

  • Guest1234

    For every star athlete who won’t be caught dead w/ a dark woman, a billionaire like George Lucas marries one. Please. Stop actin’ like nobody’s interested. The self pity is unwarranted.

    Mellody Hobson – w/ a billionaire
    Naomi Campbell – w/ a billionaire
    Janet Jackson – w/ a billionaire
    Oprah Winfrey – a billionaire in her own right
    and on, and on, and on,

    How can you whine about a few silly athletes when that bs is child’s play as compared to the folks who marry black women – if we’re talking about privilege, anyway. But, for the record, there’s more to relationships than money. Black folks need to stop looking at the negative as if there isn’t an entirely different side to the story.

  • Truth-Dont-Change

    This is one of the reasons I am glad clutch exists! We may not always agree with each other but the love is definitely here.

  • Lynette

    Absolutely, Tisha! When scholars discuss white supremacy, they often don’t mean “white people,” but the idea that white or light is better. The author Junot Diaz said you could send all the white people away, and white supremacy would still exist. It’s about how our history of white supremacy…of thinking white is better…is ingrained in our psyche. Lil Wayne didn’t get the idea of light is better out of the blue. Our society was shaped this way. Blay is just calling for a deeper analysis of how we got to this place. She is definitely not letting black people off the hook.


    Our issue are political not personal, but I will conceed that the personal is political.Bell Hooks’ in her book’CULTURAL OUTLAW’ addresses this very well[the COLONIZED MIND], Angela Davis whas been wrting about thissince her essays on ‘RACE,CLASS, SEX.’ for many years, we have the critical theory analysis, we have the solutions.[ see /read JOHN HENRICK CLARKE. AMI MARIMBA.but will black women have suffered enough pain to make a change and really accept the African centered models that will fram this discussion .There is no solution without address white supremacy, the media bias that devalues /negates deep brown sisters, the SYMBOLIC ANNIHILATION /easureof the image of brown women.But more our own INTERNALIZATION OF RACISM..,how we have coluded with our owm destruction[WILLIE LYNCHis real!!],how the denial of African identity has lead us here, the rejection of African centered paradigms and opting to assimulated into whiteness[allowing white to define blackness] without an balence critique of how it will diminish our black identity is destroying us..the color cast sysytem ,a residual of slave priceing/designation for selling African prisoners of war[so-called slave] RISE UP BLACK AFRICAN WOMAN!!! RECLAIMING THE AFRICAN MIND!!

  • http://gravatar.com/loverloverlovertalia kiki80

    When my husband and I are on the town at upscale places, it is RARE to see a black man with a woman his shade or darker. He is almost ALWAYS with a non-black or light skinned woman. This is a fact where I live. People just don’t want to face the truth. Dark women are considered a downgrade to the avg upscale black man.

  • Roger


    Not it is because you sing like a cat being tortured


  • Roger

    @Greg Dragon

    You handled your business in this comment!!!

  • Katei

    “I find it interesting that the two dark-skinned male directors were inspired to make the film because of their observations of “the unfortunate pain” of others and not their own. I’ll admit that I take issue with Dark Girls for the same reason I was incensed by Chris Rock’s Good Hair: aside from the fact that it is Black men leading the conversation about Black women on issues that also affect Black men, most problematic is the absence of any substantial contextualization within global White supremacy. To Dark Girls’ credit, there was some focus on enslavement and the trauma it caused, as well as some discussion of the global impact of the media in creating particular images of beauty, and I do believe one of the experts interviewed actually said the word “global White supremacy.” (Good Hair offered no such context which ultimately served to pathologize Black women – as if our issues with our hair came out of nowhere”

    “We also needed to hear more from men about their own experiences with colorism, not just their opinions about women’s experiences. ”

    The dark skinned men who directed these films are talking about their experiences by allowing those women who look like their wives and mothers to speak. Creating a mirror. We are their experience. It s not a conversation for them but for Black women. Black women are warped and continue to create broken children who become broken adults hence the madness that we have now in the States and abroad. Its an open secret that Black women are crazy and its cyclic. This doc is like buying your obese friend a gym membership without directly saying that he/she need a lifestyle change.

    When you color/straighten hair, wear Indian Remi weave, are an Appletini queen, have Korean nails, seek validation from White dominated institutions(degrees are just political tools to get access to power and ownership, nothing more, nothing less, they do not make an the individual actions and merit does), are promiscuous, crave Loubitons/Gucci/Kors/Tom Ford etc (even the post 1990s new naturals but unconscious are often materialistic), then you are advertising yourself as anything but an African/indigenous woman. Also the Miss Independence attitude is acceptable those one generation out of the projects/lease housing. You are suppose to be self supporting. You teach your daughters to emulate and your sons to look for that type of mate. Your children and your community are a direct reflection of what your thoughts and actions.

    I understand why Black American men date outside their race. Though Asians, Latinas et al have their fair share of issues, they don’t seem to have a problem circulating their own money, attracting men who love, protect, circulate their money and build communities(not neighborhoods). Everyone has been colonized. Even a toothless a white girl from the trailer park has enough confidence to build with someone who can take her out of her situation no matter what color they identify with. BW will often pass over nice loyal guys and will breed and settle for any POS due to their own self hatred. They will treat dope boy like a king, be verbally/physically abused by a jerk yet look over and mistreat nice guys or nerds. The nice guy often gets to take care the residual of a failed relationship with a POS, some other able bodied man’s child(ren). No one else can make you hate yourself unless you are not right within hence SELF esteem. NO MAN energy to waste trying to convince someone that they are beautiful and worthy.

    Blame the media sure stop watching tv, watch Al Jezeera, attend a self help seminar, host instead of RHOA and do productive creative activities. The lack of a father is a cop out also. If a woman grew up without a father,there are uncles and grandfathers around and even in traditional nuclear families the women are the FIRST teachers. Men should be out providing and protecting. These documentaries are saying what should be said but is not PC – the open secret that black women are just crazy, the how and why we know but the solution is what we need to work on. We are quick to criminalize Black men and degrade them but never look at the source from which he came and why women continue to create children.

    I am dark sister with no admixture on my moms side for 6 generations, 3 on my dads. Romantically and friendship wise, I’ve always attracted foreigners, African, Caribbean, Southeast Asian, Latino and European and White American men. For a long time I’ve passed over a lot of opportunities and placed energy into broken people who happened to be from the same contrived “culture” due to indoctrination. My mother is a dark skinned elitist and even switched tunes after seeing whats out there and what type of families these brothers come from and acquiesce to the fact that her potential grandchildren will not look like us but as long as they are healthy and happy she is fine my dad always told me an apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. The men I dated mothers, with varying hair textures, skin tones, phenotypes and incomewere typically in toxic relationships with men, 40/50 year year spinsters OR still on the breastfeeding their adult son due to their own lack of companionship. My international friends are are more confident, driven and have better families. Black American men are insecure and hampered due to their mothers and the men that she decided to have sex with to be (women Choose when and who they have sex with)

    If we keep it up we will eventually end our reign of leading HIV cases, hypertension, diabetes, fibroid tumors, prison, lack of land, ownership and eventually die off or create a permanent breed of underclass, which is what they want us to do. I love my sisters but we really need to get it together! Basically just breeding and not creating families. We are still slaves if you honestly look at it.

  • Roger

    @Marketing Gimmicks

    Of course who cares what 80% of men think,

    I want the ballers, rappers & the athletes.

    And that is where people stop feeling sorry for dark skinned women.

    You don’t have dating issues, you have entitlement issues.

    Good day!

  • Roger

    Refer to @Greg Dragon comment.

    We always talk about black men who choose LSBW.

    We act like attractive dark skin women can’t pull black men of means.

    Go head with that BS

  • anon

    Denzel, Samuel L. Jackson, the President, all high status men do not choose light skinned women. And why you would look at a rapper for validation is beyond me. So many of them rap about women with disrespect. I could not give a d@mn who Lil Wayne dates.

  • anon

    U didn’t find the women in the documentary unattractive. It seems to me that you are implying that dark women are not attractive.

  • anon

    U = I

  • anon

    Did you see the man who said that he hires light-skinned people because dark people steal? Lighter-skinned people have an easier row to hoe. Even white people are more “comfortable” with light-skinned blacks. That affects job opportunities and money.

  • jj

    actually grace jones is gorgeous, beauty is in the eye…

  • Ken Kojei

    The secret about dark-skinned beauty: They know you’re beautiful. They worship your beauty. They instinctively know they derive their genes from you but fear the day YOU know it and embrace this for in that day, the veil is lifted and they will no longer be supreme. White supremacy is a joke. Not a day passes that it doesn’t prove itself a ridiculous lie. Claim your royalty! My mother is “light-skinned and trained to love even lighter skin. Meeting my father for the first time since I was three was shocking. He was sooooo incredibly beautiful in that Caribbean sunlit way dark-skinned Africans have. To me he looked like a God just stepping into the world. He seemed to stand between worlds and despite the intervening years since my mother took me away from him, magically, we had read the exact same books, loved all the same things-music, electronics, and spirit science. The short time I spent with him before he died [a handful of hours] was enough to begin the transformation that allowed me to see how stunning my own beauty is. Periodically, women friends will stop and stare then tell me how beautiful I am. Tourists stop me for photos with the same comment. Yet nothing of that matters until you look in the mirror and see it yourself. Every day I see dark beauties, women who make me gasp at their awesomeness, “and when she passes I smile but she doesn’t see.”

  • GT

    Amen, beautifully said!

  • Tisha

    I think Lynette is exactly right. It’s not about being validated by a rapper nor an athlete. It’s about the stigma and the perception perpetuated in the media And in the entertainment industry that “light is right”. It is bad enough these images that we are bombarded with coming from mainstream society, but it’s definitely more painful when it comes from within or own community, i.e. hip hop culture, sports where Blacks dominate-basketball, football, and our very neighbors, classmates, co-workers and church members. Which I think was the whole point of the doc in the first place.

  • Pascale

    Nice Ipanima reference! Don’t know if I spelled it right.

  • http://www.theimagirlcollection.com Betty K.

    Dark Girls has opened a great and needed conversation. I wrote the coming children’s book “I’M A PRETTY LITTLE BLACK GIRL!” — glittered full color hard copies launching in TARGET STORES OCTOBER 2013 — because I saw and felt a huge canyon of neglect of love of our black girls. As a dark-skinned young woman in the entertainment industry, I lived so much of the pain described in the movie. I wanted to do something that would help our little girls before they become young women – and make them see a book on the shelves that celebrates them AS THEY ARE in glitter, bright colors and lots of fun. I have faced ever possible rejection from publishers wanting me to change the title and the text and every other obstacle, but I persevered — and you can find more on it here “I’M A PRETTY LITTLE BLACK GIRL!” http://www.theimagirlcollection.com. Let’s celebrate our girls and show them love and self-appreciation…NOW!!

  • noirluv45

    Santi, they haven’t ended it. Apparently, I’m the only one who refuses to let white America off the hook especially since they continue to perpetrate the lie every day.

  • Tisha

    Tina, I live in GA as well and not in a small city. Just small minded. I’m not playing the race card or playing the victim, I’m talking about what I see every day. Institutional racism and colorism is alive and well. Black business owners denied loans, organizations trying to help Blacks in certain areas of the city denied grant money even with heavyweight political backing. I have been successful here bc my family has been active in the community for a very long time and the majority of my family is light brown. I challenge you to broaden your view. I’m happy for your family’s achievements, doesn’t mean others don’t suffer racial and color-based obstacles.

  • BlackBeauty

    It is even more interesting that of everything I wrote you came away with that! What was it that I wrote that made you feel I equate deing dark to being unattractive?

    In fact most of the really attractive/pretty/beautiful women I know are mostly dark skined, including my relatives.

    Very interesting indeed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mztanya10 Trinity Storm Muur

    Thank you.

  • http://gravatar.com/lope32 Really?

    Jay Z and Beyonce are about the same complexion. How is he setting a bad example by wifing her? Please explain?

  • BlackBeauty

    Why do some black folks have to always refer to Beyonce when they want to compare beautiful women or what the general public feels is beautiful? Why hold her responsible?

    Bey is an entertainer! She is a singer, she sells records and performs in concert. And, she IS a very pretty woman! But she is not the only pretty/beautiful black woman out here! There are thousands who are dark and light skin who qualify as beautiful not only in the entertainment world, but just in the general population.

    As for her husband and father of her daughter, he is a hood young man who made something of himself! What is wrong with that? I applaude them both! Keep on doing it!!

    Please black women, give Bey a break!! LOL.

  • Pingback: Beautiful Dark and Light Our Souls | BlackandBlewish

  • lhoskins

    Kam,well said! cute avatar too. :3

  • BoutDatLove

    Let me just say this before I start, black people are truly the most beautiful of all. We are diverse from skin color, to facial features, to hair, to our bodies, talents etc. I just hope that maybe one day we can meet each other at a center of agreement.

    I think the age of social media really has us living in a bubble. All the talk about how skin color effects dating, this may be true for some and it may not be true for others. If you keep looking at black celebrities who are only dating white or light skinned men or woman, then you are going to have a low opinion about your options as a black woman or man. And a low opinion about yourself, if you let it.

    I think having a conversation about the topic of dark skin is a great start for those who feel like they need this topic discussed. I don’t knock that. But I feel that at the end of the day, black is black as Rochelle expressed.

    I think us black people have this thing where we want to uplift but we also cause separation between each other. We unconsciously continue the cycle of slavery, by saying this vs. this is better or worse. It puts a wedge between us. Because we feel like we are being ”pro-black” by choosing a black woman who is more curvier over a black woman who isn’t, or by going out of the way to state how a dark skinned woman is so beautiful but a light skinned woman isn’t because of her lighter skin or ”european features.” etc.

    Damn, we can’t see how we are divided and feeding into propaganda? The media is controlled by white people, once black people make up in their minds that the famous black people in the spotlight (no matter what shade of blackness) doesn’t represent you as an individual we will start to become powerful. But that is the point after all, to keep you psychologically down. Realize the current effects of psychological slavery that you are still under. Let us have conversations about that as well, instead of only focusing on basic topics like, dark skin. Let us stop looking to a media that is white to represent us. It is ridiculous, we know our history, why are you still looking for them to save you and have compassion and love for you. ”They” are going to say this type of black person is more acceptable and attractive then this type of black person, to further cause damage and division. What happens with that? We look at each other as enemies and we continue to fight each other. Never taking into consideration who is really pulling our strings.

    Someone mentioned preference. Excuse me, but you can not be a black man or a black woman and have a preference about another black persons skin color, facial features, hair etc. Like wtf is that? You are mentally ill and have a lot of self hate if you claim a preference concerning black skin shade and all of the various attributes that make us black people.

    I would also like to say that it is not for anyone to prove their self worth to anyone. If a black man/woman still wants to be brainwashed by his/her so called ”preference” then so be it. You ever read the parable in the Bible about the wheat and the tares? This is how I look at this situation. God is doing something but us being the black people that we are, we want to hold onto people who hate us and don’t like us… including other black people. If someone (a black person) has a preference and makes you feel bad because you aren’t it, it is because they do not prefer themselves. As cheesy as it may sound.

    Lastly, It is clear that we like to feel like we are being progressive and doing something powerful and revolutionary in the black community. But really we are not. ”They” really pull the strings and push our buttons, ”they” create these topics and issues and we make ourselves believe that these topics and issues are somehow valid enough to cause division and that there must be ”something wrong with ourselves.” This keeps us running in circles and nothing actually gets done. It is always something petty after another, and every time we look up, our conditions etc are never better, no matter what shade of black. Yet we keep having these same damn conversations. We complain about the division amongst black people, yet we continually provoke and entertain issues and topics that cause division between black people.

  • V Grant

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  • Ken Kojei

    I wholeheartedly agree with the only caveat being that the same holds true for beautiful little black boys. I had the opportunity to apprehend a 20 year old boy who was attempting to break into an apartment in the middle of the night where I live. He was homeless, sleeping on the beach here in South Beach and seconds from being locked up as a neighbor was getting ready to call the police. I gave him a stern lecture about his prospects [including my overhearing a group of Miami Beach police officer talk about letting a suspect "bleed out" and being shot in an altercation], gave him money for food and suggest he get home to his family and get back in school.

    Standing there watching his profile, I was overcome with the realization that he never once held his head up, never could look me in the eyes and never did speak up for himself during the conversation, which consisted mostly of me asking him questions about how he came to be here and why he couldn’t go home. I had an epiphany in that moment. This kid was very handsome. Except for his personal circumstances, his financial circumstances, his mental disability, he was an awesome looking kid. Then I realized that underneath all of this, his “lack of face”, his greatly diminished presence was the product of how he was treated because of his very dark skin. He and many others of us until we get it and throw it off, had a mental implant that denied both his worth and his beauty. It is one the entire society we live perpetually seed, enforce and reinforce from the cradle to the grave. I told him the secret he never knew.

    The Secret: That he/we is/are from royal bloodlines. That the original Madonna and child [Isis & Horus/Heru] are portrayed in their truth as a very dark-skinned woman with her dark-skinned son. That the very Christ on the Cross in the most Holy of holies in the Vatican is blacker than either of us. That I had seen this with my own two eyes. I told him that no matter what he was going through, he was a prince & KING in HIS life if nowhere else and nobody but he himself could take that away from him, even if they imprisoned him for the rest of his life. That all he had to do to change his circumstance was to change his mind about accepting that circumstance as something he must tolerate, then work to educate himself and find work he would love to do. I made him identify things he was good at and suggested how easy it is to learn more, train more and be more.

    I never saw him after that but now you know this secret. The power of the mind is so much more vast than we know. It creates reality from thought and emotion combined. Astute master criminals know this. If you saddle the mind with even the most ridiculous lie and reinforce that lie with strong emotions about it, whether fear, love, hate or religious fervor you have completely enslaved that and and that person. Much work is to be done and it must be done before the forces plotting even now for our demise finish their hateful, evil work. Freedom begins or ends in the mind. All external circumstances follow.

  • Ken Kojei

    @boutdatlove: That is what I mean when I say we have to change the narrative. The story, no matter what we may think we know is “his-story”. If you are living your life based on “his-story” you are living a false life because whatever “his-story” is, it’s not “your story”. Each individual MUST create their own story. If you look at the story you’ve created so far and find that it has it’s roots in “his-story”, it’s time for a radical departure from that story. Being free, being aware, being spiritual, emotionally, politically conscious requires NO LESS that closing our minds and hearts to these stories, even if they come from parents, grandparents, siblings, peers or so-called educators. How does a school teach mathematics to kids for all their educational lives but NEVER teach personal financial management? How do college educated people with BAs to PhDs get caught in bad mortgages and become dispossessed of their property? That is pure B.S. They’ve listened to the stories, bought them hook, line and sinker, without doing their own due diligence on the story, the storyteller and most importantly, where responsibility lies between their own story and “his-story”.

    What is the story being constantly repeated in your mind? What emotions does that story produce? Truth begins right there. Ra Un Nefer Amen stated very accurately in the Metu Neter that thought and emotion combined create the reality, the thing. The mind and heart do not distinguish whether what you create is right or wrong. Together they are a creation machine. If you think somebody bad is going to happen and empower that thought with intense fear, the reality CAN’T HELP but be produced. If you think something beautiful is about to happen and you empower that thought with intense joy and anticipation, it is as inevitable as sunrise your thought will become reality.

    This is why what we talk about is so important. Talk is NOT cheap. Far from it. Having conversations about low, petty topics, conversations that produce negative emotions, conversations on “his-story” instead of constructive conversations about our own story create, maintain and sustain the realities we seek to escape. Which is why the stories created in violent hiphop and repeated by youth from memory are operating our powerful creation faculties to the detriment of those who practice this and many who don’t. There are financial consequences far and beyond the money earned from this kind of hiphop that represent devastating losses to individuals, families and communities.

    Our minds are highly sophisticated creation bio-computers. No matter what you program into it, this is the reality it will create. This is why media must be handled carefully. Media is the program. There is a reason it is called “television programming”! It is programming of your mind, your bio-computer creation faculty with what the programmers’ objectives are regarding you.

    So now, any credible, effective effort to create a new and expanded version of ourselves must:

    1. Identify the efforts that represent co-opting, kidnapping of our bio-computer creation faculty.

    2. Eliminate the sources of this programming

    3. Identify the root story we live by.

    4. Decide is that is valid for us NOW! If it is not then

    5. Write the new story.

    Begin the new story with “I am free”. ” I am Awake”. “I am Aware”. “I am the localized presence of the Infinite Consciousness in this place, in this moment”. “I am the creator of the reality I live” “I write my OWN story”!!!

  • cp925

    I think it’s more about attractivness than complexion.

  • DA

    Thank you for this article! I agree that we need to change the conversation. I’m proud to be brown skinned and I while I had issues when I was younger, I’ve grown; just as the conservation should.

  • http://beautyandthestreetmag.blogspot.com Amber Nefertari

    I did not see the film, but from what I have been hearing about Dark Girls it seems that they did not speak to Black men. As a lighter skinned Black women I have had many dark skinned men speak badly about their beautiful complexion to me.I would hear things like “I’m surprised you like a crispy n*gga like me.” WHAT???? It is so disheartening. It would have been great to hear from these guys as well! It is their insecurities that they project on their dark skinned sisters which lead them to chase after lighter ones.

  • BlackBeauty

    I agree!

    No one seems ready or willing to address the “attractive” issue.

    It is more about how you look than the color of your skin. I have stated that it seems to me that those who have more ethnic features are not considered as attractive for the most part. There was one female in the group in the film who actually looked like a male in my opinion. She would not be one to attract the majority of men out here no matter what color/race, and men need to be honest about it. All the, she is beautiful inside and that is what matters is pure crap!

    These are the ones who constantly complain that black men do not want to be with them. These are the ones who put black men down when they see them with others. Some even saying that they should be with them! Come on folks, this is not being realistic.
    Bottom line is that until, and unless we are ALL willing to come to the table with honesty/truth, then nothing will change.

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  • http://gravatar.com/honeydose01 honeydose01

    Miss Nefertari, I agree with you on the many issues of our black men. I did see the documentary, and it was worth seeing, but at the same time, sad. Many of the black men had negative reasons for not dating dark sistah’s versus light sistah’s (I dislike the use of the politically correct reference of dark versus light skinned), but the documentary was clear and I noticed that some issues that I thought were gone have never went away. As a beautiful honey toned sistah, and others would use the term light skinned, I am happy that this issue is being discussed.

  • PB

    Noirluv45, I am in agreement with you 100%. I think we have lost sight of the source of the problem. It’s as if we’re trying to cure an active disease (color discrimination) without having clue about what’s causing it. The shallowness of my people on this issue scares me. It causes me to feel like people lost their lives fighting for equality only to have us worship the looks of people who looks most like “massah.”

  • fizbin

    I’ll bet still that this same “unattractive” black woman wouldn’t have any problems attracting those same black men if she were white.

  • cabugs

    I saw the documentary and I was very disappointed. I didn’t think I would be. I guess I just expected more. I would really like to see a more comprehensive docu about colorism w/ these features I will mention below. The fact is, this is a multifaceted issue and we are doing this phenomenon and ALL (yes all, not just dark-skinned) black people a disservice if we don’t treat this nuanced issue like it is truly a nuanced one. Features that were missing in “Dark Girls” that should be talked about or incorporated:

    -Few or no dark skinned men. What are their troubles or joys on being dark skinned? How do they view darker skinned women and lighter skinned women – both ones in their family and those outside who could be potential mates?

    -Lighter skinned women (and men). Yes thats, right. This is not Oppression Olympics like so many people have stated so many times! Let the lighter sisters speak, goshdarnit. This is a nuanced issue and knowing their side of the story (both the troubles and joys, and acknowledgment of privilege of course) is worth it for EVERYONE. One person’s story of sorrow, however privileged it may be in some aspects (not ALL aspects) benefits us all, and does not discredit another’s story).

    -The children! So there was one little black girl in the docu, we need more children (boys and girls!) to speak on this. This awareness of color, and really the undertones of any society’s preferences and prejudices becomes tangible for young children really early! We must know what they are thinking now, so we can save them and future generations from this destructive mindset.

    -I agree with some that the white men in the docu are not necessarily needed. Only if the docu had more comprehensive features should the white men have been added. Otherwise they are just taking up space that issues more pertinent to the topic could have been covered. And while they are at it, if they are going to add people of other races, where are the non-white men and women? I know they had that Korean lady. They should add women (and men) of more nationalities if they were to make a more intensive docu.

    -Medium toned sisters – Yup, you thought I forgot you all, didn’t you? Haha, so another thing that I see is that some get lost in the conversation because in some situations they are considered light, in some they are dark, and in others yet, they are just neither or “medium” – Let the medium-toned (whatever that is) sisters speak too! Here’s a humorous take on this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K44o4ta4P3w

    -What do we really care to know about? Everything: this convo shouldn’t just be about attractiveness and dating, it should be about how skin tone affects job prospects, who goes to jail, who gets what parts in movies and media representation (well that is def always covered), who gets promoted in the workplace, etc.

    - The elephant in the room: Is it really about skin tone or is it about the features? I saw a comment that said that sisters are passed more for the fact that they have “ethnic” features rather than that they are dark-skinned. I know this comment will be problematic to many because it begs the question “what are ‘ethnic’ features anyway”? But we all know deep down that we know exactly what she is talking about. Now, this is a whole other conversation in and of itself that could even have its own documentary, but anyway. I’m guessing what she means is that people of West African descent (most African-Americans who have ancestors from slavery qualify here) more often have darker skinned coupled with wider noses, plumper lips, less aquiline features than our Eastern and Horn of Africa brethren and sisters do. She is absolutely right. Sometimes when I see photos that people have posted to say: “See! See?? She is dark skinned and absolutely stunning!” What do I see? Narrow noses, plump lips (big-ish lips are always okay for women, I guess), high defined cheekbones, and just features overall that represent a certain black woman rather than a more diverse range including all kinds of features. That then leads to the question that all want to ask, since for most this convo is about attractiveness more than anything else: Are these women being considered unattractive because they are dark, or because they are just truly unattractive? And what exactly decides what kinds of features (facial features excluding skin tone) are attractive and which ones aren’t?

    -MOST IMPORTANT: This docu simply touched on the institutionalized, systematized phenomenon of racism and imperialism of the West which births colorism. But that’s it. They simply “touched on” it. This needs to be the overarching framework in which the whole conversation is structured in the first place. Colorism is vicious, however, we have lost sight of the fact that it is not the disease itself, but the symptom of a much more destructive disease – an epidemic in fact. Colorism is EVERYWHERE. When they told you bleaching creams are one of the top products in most countries in Asia and Africa, let me tell you – they were not lying! I am from Ghana and even when I go to the African shop in the U.S., (yes in the U.S.!) the display counter right in front of the Cashier has soooo many skin lighteners, and “even tone” creams, and bleaching creams all on sale right there. There are two full shelves in the store for it, so obviously there is a market! This problem is worldwide. Outside of “developed” countries, it’s not just “White is Right”, it is “West is Best” – any and all images imported from the West to Ghanaian, Nigerian, Indonesian, Cameroonian, Indian, etc. TV screens are what the youth aspire to be. They feel their culture inferior from the times of colonialism. Yes, it’s a deep case of Stockholm syndrome that will take forever to unravel. Where do we start? I think it’s okay if another more comprehensive docu has more questions than answers, as long as the conversation evolves. We have been talking about the same things for too long! I am not one of those people who advocates dropping the colorism topic altogether. Rather, I think we need to move from discussing the basics that we all know to the more insidious, barely perceptible things.

    Oh, the shame. This issue really is complicated. As a dark skinned woman myself, I just have to say that the convos have been all kinds of disappointing to me ever since I got super interested in colorism during my freshman year of college. It always leaves more questions than answers (which is not necessarily a bad thing). All I know now is, I have grown to love who I am in all aspects, including skin color (which is just a tiny aspect of it all) and I don’t resent men who state their preference for lighter skinned women (I used to). Because I can’t find the answers I need/want, I have decided to resign from this conversation (until it evolves) and go with: you like what you like. No use expending energy with no returns. Like some have said, you cannot shame someone into finding you attractive. No use. I go with the motto, find who DOES like you and move from there. We are not going to change any minds by being angry, mean, or depressed killjoys. Live your life and be open to all possibilities of men, from African to South East Asian, to African American, and Latin American- wherever you will find quality love. And even with my closing statement, I see how I have made this convo all about beauty again, when it’s also about jobs, how society views us, incarceration rates, etc. But I am a woman who is of dating age. Let me be a little vain please?

  • http://deereeder.wordpress.com deereeder

    Have you checked out the author’s work at this website:
    http://1nedrop.com/ ?

    Pics are interesting, but the journal is down right fascinating. I think you’ll find that website to have more of the type of convo you’re looking for. Plus there’s a book and other references.

  • lunanoire

    The name of the documentary is “Dark Girls.” Why do non-dark girls have to be included? If it included light and medium-toned women, it could be called “Black Girls.” If it included black men, it could be called, “Black people.” With a topic like Dark Girls, dark women are the center of discussion, which is rare, because they’re usually expected to share and are accused of being jealous haters when they speak up about colorism.

    Colorism is more important in terms of discrimination in housing, jobs, medical care, the criminal justice system, etc. Just like there are studies showing racism, the same for colorism. It’s MORE than hurt feelings.

  • Pingback: »Documentary: Dark Girls Road to Ethiopia - Camino a Etiopia: My journey to Ethiopian culture

  • ConsciousWoman

    In my opinion most of the women interviewed for this documentary were not “dark skinned.” They were considered medium toned. Also, it is the elephant in the room, but most of the women also likely had issues in life because of other factors besides their color. Beauty perception, weight. IJS.

  • cabugs

    I will take a look at that. Thanks!

  • Taz

    While I can understand where the author is coming from wanting the inclusion of men and positive experiences, I can firmly say that it would not have changed or enhanced the conversation. I was reading the comments on a well known mostly black female blog and when a sister or ten stated how they got over it, there was a frenzy that said ‘See, I don’t understand what the big deal is….if they could do it, what the hell is wrong with y’all…..get over it and stop whining.’ Whether the film did anything to open the eyes of one, two or twenty people who did not recognize the unintentional harm they may have done as children or parents remains to be seen. And that was the purpose I found in it.

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