After watching the Super Saiyan Vampire Jesus Bill Compton get all the way crazy on True Blood, I saw my Twitter timeline discussing a documentary being shown on Oprah’s OWN network called “Dark Girls”. I immediately hesitated from joining in on the fun, as I feel like the light skin vs. dark skin debate is as old as Jay-Z vs. Nas, and I didn’t have time for potentially petty debate. However, I saw some great points and highlights being discussed, so I joined in on the discussion. After watching the documentary along with the Twitterverse, I had five key takeaways from the whole experience:
Dark Girls Showed The Most Commercials I Ever Saw in My Life
The actual run time for Dark Girls documentary is roughly 75 minutes, but with the amount of commercials that were shown I swore it was 3 hours long! What made it worse was the type of commercials shown, including one for a “Skin enhancer” product. I understand Oprah has to pay the bills, but the redundant, lengthy, and at times inappropriate commercials took away from the watching experience
Light Skinned and Dark Skinned Women Use Their Complexion As A Crutch
Watching that documentary, I couldn’t help to think that Director Bill Duke tried to sway the conversation, and make it more impactful, by having unattractive dark skinned women speaking about their struggles. There was one dark skinned women on the documentary that said she was called a “mud duck” by her friends father, as he warned him to stay away from dark women, and to me that father was both blind and an assh*le! Yet others were talking about their plight, and in my mind I thought “I don’t think skin tone has anything to do with why you couldn’t get any play”.
If you’re a woman who looks like Dwyane Wade, it doesn’t matter what skin tone you are, you won’t be attractive to me. Don’t use your skin tone as an excuse. Men who exalt sub-par light skinned women are no different. Just because a woman has fair skin doesn’t make her a dime! As men in general, we are somewhat conditioned to think that “light is right”. I’ve had to catch myself from automatically assuming a lighter woman was attractive to me, and I scrutinize now more than ever to avoid those conditioned assumptions. Just know that the jig has been above sea level for both the light skinned and dark skinned women complexion swindles for years!
Colorism Is A Global Issue
I got roasted on Twitter when I made an initial comment that the light vs dark skin debate was a mostly USA issue. Before I could get out my complete thought, I had angry mobs doing the Dougie in my mentions. Yes, color is a global issue. You see it with the skin bleaching in the Caribbean, the major color divide in DR, you see it in India where women don’t want to get darker as they prepare for marriage, and even in China too! There are varying levels to this story, but I feel like the actual DISCUSSIONS on this topic happen openly in the U.S.A. while they are swept under the rub in other places. Once you travel the world, and speak to people in various countries, you find out the real.
The Color Issue Reversed From A Different Perspective
During the documentary, they interviewed a white woman who spoke about the tanning culture, and why people of fairer skin like to have that bronzed look. They feel it hides their imperfections (when doing fitness competitions), and they like to avoid the pale look. I’ve heard of white women getting botox shots in their lips to make them look fuller, and we all know the fake booty craze as well. I find it ironic that white people would look to tanning as a way to hide imperfections, while that same darker shade is societally perpetuated as a core imperfection to Blacks. Black people want to be lighter to be accepted, and whites want to be darker to be “more perfect”. It’s a beautiful yet tragic duality.
This Documentary Could’ve Been Way Better
I commend Bill Duke for putting this film together and exploring this huge issue in our world today. I definitely feel like more could’ve been done to fortify their points. They could’ve travelled to these other countries and spoke to natives to get their perspectives on the issue. It would’ve been cool to get lighter blacks perspective on the subject and explore their perceived “advantage” in the world. I know it was mostly on the dark skinned woman’s struggle, but showing the trickle down effect to other shades would’ve been dope too. They glossed over entertainment, and other areas, but they could’ve fleshed out some of the more poignant topics.
I’m glad I watched this documentary, along with the interaction from the Twitter community. I got to see a lot of perspective from others, some humour, and it furthered the conversation and awareness somewhat. While there were improvement points, these discussions should be conducted more often.
Some questions that I asked last night, that I will leave for you:
1) If Michelle Obama was light skinned with long hair, what do you think the support level/reaction would’ve been to Barack Obama?
2) Is the main image of a strong black woman one that is of a darker shade?
3) How do you approach dating in the realm of colorism? Any preconceived notions? Any shades that like you more/ won’t date you? Any complications in general?
4) Is a black person who dates the lighter shades of the race any “less black” to you? What are your initial thoughts when you see it?
5) What can we do to change the negative effects of colorism?
6) When will we have a documentary on women who use filters and angles to falsify their level of attractiveness on social media?!
“Until the Lion has a historian, the Hunter will always be the hero”