dark girls


When Africans were first brought to the United States as slaves, many slave owners took a strange approach to diving the labor among the humans they owned — lighter skinned blacks were assigned to work inside the house, performing more precise but less physically demanding chores, while their darker skinned brethren were forced to perform punishing manual labour in the fields. In the 21st Century, a grim vestige of this tradition lives on in African-American culture, as women with dark complexion often find themselves looked down upon by their peers, considered less attractive, less intelligent and less refined than women with a lighter skin tone. A variety of African-American women discuss this phenomenon, sharing their thoughts on the social and cultural implications of this subtle but common form of prejudice, in the documentary Dark Girls. Directors Bill Duke and D. Channsin Berry feature interviews with women sharing their own experiences as dark skinned African-Americans, children who reveal how young these beliefs are implanted in girls, and men who share their feelings about women and skin colour. Dark Girls was an official selection at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival.

Even though at times I wanted to reach in and throttle the ignorance out of some of the contributors featured I really enjoyed this documentary. Well done to everyone involved.

Your thoughts please….

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9 replies »

  1. I find interesting and that in the Black communiy issues touching Black women are often told by Black men??????
    Although colorism needs to be addressed, all those documentaries are often biaised and one sided, it’s always the same old “I grew up thinking I was ugly…light-skinned black women are evil etc…l” as if all black women have low self-esteem, why not also interviewed, the confident and beautiful ones.
    Also why are all these documetaries making as if Black men are not affected by colorism???

    Finally, colorism is directly linked to slavery, colonisation etc … but Black folks are the biggest perpatror of it, in 2013 we can’t keep pointing fingers only at White folks and should have a look at the mirror.

  2. I refuse to watch this or participate in any light vs dark conversation within the black community. We all know it is ignorance, we can all control the ignorance. just stop, its that simple.

  3. It’s necessary to talk about an issue if it is an issue. Thank you for exposing the depths of a wound that exists in a community. Not just for one region but broadly. Ignoring this psychological wound which has been breed and grown for ages wont simply disappearing because you ignore it. To think that is like bleeding to death and saying your just fine; that wont stop you from passing out or dying. I’m sure many men have these same issues except that men will generally always find someone to accept them despite their self-esteem issues. They will simply pass on that ignorance.

  4. I’m sorry b/c I know this is going to sound rude but the bald headed woman wearing the red shirt probably gets discriminated against (by men of any race) b/c she’s just not attractive & on top of that she presents herself more so as a man than a woman. I mean I literally had to do a triple take b/c I didn’t believe she was really a woman. She just looked kind of hard & manly and most men generally are not attracted to that. So basically what I’m saying is she shouldn’t be blaming her misfortune with men on her dark skin & explore the idea that the way she presents herself is a major part of it.

  5. Thank you for highlighting some of the issues black people, men and women have experienced and are still going through regarding skin colour and discrimination. I am an African woman from west Africa to be precise, (Nigeria) I have never experience any negative issues regarding my skin colour because I love my dark skin colour, I look forward to summer so much because it darken my skin further. I am proud to be black, I have two daughters and a son and I tell my children that they are beautiful and should never allow anyone to put them down because of their dark skin….and I am so grateful my children are dark skin and proud of it. .I am just baffled by some of the things people said in this documentary in terms of dating dark skin women and men…life is just too short to be worried about your skin colour or be bothered about what people think about your skin colour…carry your skin colour with pride , walk tall like a queen and king that never existed, and your confidence and pride will magnified into greatness.

  6. @nubiahbella They do talk about how black people are the biggest perpetrators of it.Were you watching a different documentary.And if it was one sided at all maybe they should’ve touched on how light skinned women feel about their beauty.

  7. It’s just perpetuating the philosophy and the ideology of slavery… yet, those who do would be ashamed if they really stopped to think about how badly they’re behaving towards their own race… Nowadays, the caucasian culture only see ‘black’ – not shades in between…

  8. I really appreciate this documentary. This is an issue that only people who it does not affect do not see it. My son came home the other day explaining to me that he will have a ‘yellow’ girlfriend one day.
    As a dark skin woman and one that would say I am of acceptable beauty, intelligent and confident, that hurt me. In the UK black women are the most likely to be single. At the clubs, black men bee line for anything that is lighter than black. Colourism may exist for men but not in the UK. Black men are popular to date. As a dark skin woman I have listened to the comments about mixed race babies are beautiful and oh my god you’re so black. Just because you have never had an experience does not mean it isn’t very really to someone else! Black skin is beautiful, but not to everyone and when did a dark skin female ever make the top ten for beauty in the UK.

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September 2013