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Entries in black women (41)

Bracing New Documentary “Dark Girls” Delves Beneath The Skins of Women Darker Than Most and the Separate Lives They Lead


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!

See Her Like You're Never Seen Her Before

Since its premier in Charlotte, NC in June 2002,the WOMEN OF A NEW TRIBE exhibition has been traveling always continuously. In every venue the project has been enthusiastically received by the media and the public. Many venues have reported increased attendance and media attention particularly in those venues where images of women from the hosting communities are included in the exhibition. In February 2010, the exhibition made its European debute when the United States Embassy in Slovakia opened the exhibition at all three INFO USA Centers in Bratislava, Banská and Kośice. Again the exhibition opened in Europe in February 2011 at the Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum in Bucharest, Romania.

The WOMEN OF A NEW TRIBE project is a photographic study of the spiritual and physical beauty of the black woman.  It is an attempt to see in a new light and in a new way an incredible group of women.  The women protraited represent the Black American Woman in many of her social and physical manifestations.  The subjects come from all walks and stages of life,  they are mothers and
daughters,  artists,  professionals,  and community activists to name a few.  Through the use of black and white photography done in a style reminiscent of the high glamour photography of 1930's and 40's Hollywood,  the beauty of the black women is dramatically laid bare.
The core exhibition which currently consists of well over 90 powerful images, can be easily tailored to fit practically any space or facility.  One particularly unique and popular feature of this exhibition is the option of the presenter to have women from the hosting community photographed and included in the exhibition.   This has been done to great effect in a number of venues to increase local interest and community involvement.

Since its premier in June 2002,  the WOMEN OF A NEW TRIBE exhibition has traveled to a number of cities around the U.S. and twice to Europe where it has been enthusiastically received by the public and the media.  The Herald-Sun of Durham NC wrote, "Jerry Taliaferro challenges us to re-think our ideas about beauty."   Neil A. Barclay, President and CEO of the African-American Cultural Center of Greater
Pittsburgh, wrote , "When I first encountered Jerry Taliaferro's acclaimed traveling exhibition  of black and white photographs I was immediately impressed with his ability to tell a story.  Using the synergy of portraiture and symbolism,  he has found a way to tell the story of a woman and a people."  This project is more than an exhibition.  It is a powerful tribute to women.