colorism in media
Light skin vs. dark skin and our never ending hyper-focus around colorism. We just need to affirm that our Black really is beautiful. (Courtesy of Fotolia)

Camille Sturdivant, is suing Blue Valley School District in Johnson County, Kansas, for racial discrimination after she was told her skin was too dark to perform in certain dance routines, according to The Kansas City Star.

Sturdivant, who was one of the 14 members on the Dazzlers dance team at Blue Valley Northwest High School claims that Kevin Murakami, the dance team choreographer, said her skin was too dark and would distract the audience from looking at the other performers.

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He also allegedly made a statement claiming that her skin color clashed with the costumes.

Sturdivant, who graduated from the school in May 2018, filed a suit that alleges that she suffered racial discrimination and was excluded from dance team events in retaliation for complaints about how she was treated because of her race, the report says.

Unfortunately, these types of incidents aren’t new to Sturdivant. She dealt with racial bias before when her dance team coach, Carly Fine gave Sturdivant her phone so she could play music. While doing so, Sturdivant saw text messages between Fine and Murakami. The messages between the coach and the choreographer referenced the dancer earning a spot on a University of Missouri dance team called the Golden Girls.

“THAT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. I’m so mad,” Murakami had written.

Fine wrote, “It actually makes my stomach hurt.”

She then added: “Bc she’s (expletive) black. I hate that.”

Fine was fired, but Dazzlers team members continued to support her. Members wore ribbons with Fine’s initials during a performance. Sturdivant and another African American girl on the team did not participate.

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Blue Valley Northwest High School issued a statement saying that discrimination of any kind had no place at the school.

“The District expects staff to treat all students with respect at all times, and any report that this expectation has not been fulfilled is taken very seriously,” the school said. “As stated in the Complaint, on May 1, 2018, Mrs. Sturdivant showed Dr. Pressly the text message between Mr. Murakami and Ms. Fine. Ms. Fine’s employment with the District was separated the following day on May 2, 2018.”