Directors D. Channsin Berry and Bill Duke tackle a provocative dilemma among the African-American community in their documentary Dark Girls.
After spending two years developing the project, Berry and Duke produced a film which addresses the issue of colorism among blacks and some of the challenges dark-skinned women face.
It features interviews with women of “the darkest hues” who discuss their experiences battling the stigmas and standards of beauty many African-Americans attach to skin color.
“I can remember being in the bathtub asking my mom to put bleach in the water so that my skin would be lighter and so that I could escape the feelings that I had about not being as beautiful, as acceptable, as lovable,” one woman says in the film’s trailer.
“I used to wish that I could wake up one day lighter or wash my face and think that it would change. I thought that it was dirt and I tried to clean it off but it wouldn’t come off,” says another.
Originally premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2011, Dark Girls has now made its way to the small screen and will be debuting on TV nationwide this Sunday.
Oprah will be broadcasting the documentary on her television network OWN from 10 p.m. – midnight, following an episode of Oprah’s Next Chapter at 9 p.m. where she will be talking with stars Gabrielle Union, Alfre Woodard, Viola Davis and Phylicia Rashad on the challenges they face in as black actresses in Hollywood.
More information on Dark Girls and the topics they discuss are provided on the documentary’s website:
These ladies broke it down to the degree that dark-skinned ‘sistas’ with ‘good’ hair vs. dark-skinned women with ‘kinky’ hair were given edges when it came time for coveted promotions,” Berry says. Additional interviewees for Dark Girls include white men in loving intimate relationships with black women that were passed over by “their own men,” as well as dark-skinned women of Latin and Panamanian background to bring a world perspective to the issue of dark vs. light.
The film serves as an expose into the lives of dark-skinned African-American woman and the racism some encounter within their own community.
Berry and Duke say they hope the film will help generate a discussion on the “skin issue” and hope it helps to “eradicate” it once and for all.
Follow Lilly Workneh @Lilly_Works