Laila Muhammad, contributor
Oprah's new documentary on the OWN Network, entitled “Dark Girls” aired Sunday June 23rd, and social media sites were on fire on such a sensitive topic.
Kevin Hart received criticism for an ill-advised tweet apparently while watching Dark Skin Girls. He decided to make a joke about dark-skinned black women, stating that he (jokingly) believes that light-skinned women have better credit than dark-skinned ones.
“Light-skinned women usually have better credit than dark-skinned women…. Broke a** dark hoes….lol,” he said. Not the best way to get the “dark skin” dollar at the box office Kevin.
Dual documentary Directors/Producers D. Channsin Berry (Urban Winter Entertainment) and Bill Duke (Duke Media) took their cameras into everyday America in search of pointed, unfiltered and penetrating interviews with Black women of the darkest hues for their emotional expose’, “Dark Girls” which aims to reveal that the deep seated biases and hatreds of racism – within and outside of the Black American culture – remain bitterly entrenched.
Dark-skinned Black American women from all walks of life were covered with a key focus trained tightly upon women struggling for upward mobility in the workplace of Corporate America. “The sickness is so crazy,” Berry continues.
“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.” 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.
Berry concludes, “The skin issue is a discussion we all need to have once and for all…so we can eradicate it.”
Why in 2013 are we still having this 400 year-old-debate on skin complexion? Do we not understand that this stems from slavery? Prior to this there was controversy with the new ad for Beyoncé, were allegedly photographers lightened her skin and hair to make her look lighter.
India Arie who famously wrote and recorded songs like "Brown Skin", and her new album “Cocoa Butter”, said that she will never deliberately lighten her skin more recently told Ebony and Jet magazine that “I know what I've sacrificed to bring my messages, I know our society is in pain. We’re in pain about a lot of things, and I know my reputation will speak for itself.”
In the Black community we fear the word Black, we try to deny it, escape from it, remix it. Why do Black women and men refer to our complexion as mahogany, cinnamon, caramel, mocha, peanut butter? Why do we come up with various ways to avoid from calling ourselves Black? Why are we letting our complexions define us as a people?
Is the root of this self-hatred, Black inferiority?
We have to recognize that we have an issue in our community, begin to talk about it, and then heal from it. No one else can help our community but us.
Remember that famous line said by Samuel L. Jackson in School Daze? "Ya'll niggas and ya'll gone be niggas forever."
Well, today, we will remix that. “Ya’ll are beautiful Black people, the first faces to kiss the sun and ya’ll gone be too black, too strong and too beautiful forever.”
Our unity is Key!