Famed actor and filmmaker Bill Duke had an idea to spark discussion on a silent, but not so hidden issue occurring in the African-American community.
It is an issue so engrained in the subconscious of many African Americans that it affects this demographic on a daily basis. African-American women, particularly, are affected by notions of westernized beauty and attempt to adopt certain characteristics to mimic the looks of their lighter counterparts.
Duke, along with friend and fellow filmmaker D. Channsin Berry, took on the task of exposing the plight of dark-skinned, African-American women. Shockingly, they learned a woman’s hue has an enormous effect on their self-esteem and feelings of self-worth.
The colorism complex in the black community dates all the way back to slavery.
“Dark Girls” pulls back our country’s curtain to reveal that the deep seated biases and hatreds of racism – within and outside of the Black American culture – remain bitterly entrenched, Duke said, according to official dark girls movie website.
Duke and Berry pose the question on whether “anything has really changed since the days of American slavery when dark-skinned Blacks were made to suffer even greater indignities than their lighter skinned counterparts.”
The documentary takes viewers on a journey through the racial experiences of several dark complexioned women as they tell tales of seclusion and rejection by their own culture and community.
“I can remember being in the bathtub asking my mom to put bleach in the water, so that my skin would be lighter,” said a woman in the documentary.
Another woman in the doc mentioned the commonly heard “pretty for a dark-skinned girl” phrase.
“If we’re all hanging around and a dark-skinned girl walks by ‘Oh, well she’s pretty for a dark skinned girl’ and I’m like ‘what is that supposed to mean?’”
This mental defeatism of one’s own skin color seemingly passes on from generation to generation. One woman in the doc is so ashamed of her skin color that she wishes her children will not come out dark complexioned.
“I think I remember most is saying if I had a little girl I didn’t want her to be dark,” the woman said.
Duke hopes his documentary can end the stigma associated with skin tone and start the healing process the black community has yearned for over 400 years.
“The skin issue is a discussion we all need to have once and for all…so we can eradicate it,” Duke said.
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Check out a preview to Dark Girls below