Tonight I was invited by the Albany Black Professionals group to attend a special screening of the movie “Dark Girls” Directed by D. Channsin Berry and Bill Duke. Below is the poster for the movie and a description:
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”. Two years in the making and slated to premier at the Toronto International Film Festival, “Dark Girls” pulls back our country’s curtain to reveal that the deep seated biases and hatreds of racism – within and outside of the Black American culture – remain bitterly entrenched.
When I first arrived, I didn’t have any expectations about the movie. I wanted to be as open minded as possible when watching. The movie opens up with an absolutely beautiful black little girl looking in the distance as an off screen voice asks her why she doesn’t like being black. She looks into the camera and says simply; “because I’m not black”
The documentary included a cast of very influential psychologists including Dr. Cheryl Grills. Grills tells us of the downfall of unity amongst blacks when slaves were emancipated without a plan of what to do for them afterwards. There were no set plans in motion as to how they will move on from their slave owners. Blacks were “people without real rights, they weren’t considered real people.” The phrase “colorism” was used a couple of times in her explanation. “Colorism,” which is prejudice or discrimination in which human beings are accorded differing social treatment based on skin color.
Psychologist Dr. Ronald Boutelle talked about a time where an individual’s worth was based on your skin color in comparison to a paper bag. Can you imagine? Your beauty, intelligence and overall value in the world are based on your skin compared to the color of a paper bag.
While we like to blame outsiders for our self-hatred. It really comes within. Conceptions of color come within our race. We are the ones telling our children to “stay out of the sun”, so they don’t get dark. We are the ones who use the terms “tar baby”, “ijgaboo” and say “I’d never date a dark skinned man/woman.”
One girl even admitted that Whites made her appreciate her skin color while Blacks made her question it.
Michael Coylar, an actor and comedian pointed out our innate sense of right and wrong based on color. Black is bad. White is good. The movie took a sad turn when young women admitted to begging their mother to put bleach in the water so her skin gets lighter. One man recalled how his grandmother would only hire light skinned blacks to work in their store because she thought dark skinned blacks would steal from them. He also confessed that he continued his grandmother’s practice when hiring, but shirked all responsibility stating “It was ingrained in me! It wasn’t my fault.”
One young man in a New York City subway station pointed out the rarity of two dark skinned people dating. Relationships in general are a sad story for black women entirely. 41.7 percent of. Lack women have never been married compared to 20.1 percent of white women. Black women are the least coupled women in the US.
Something I didn’t agree with in the movie was its ending. The movie ends with a woman saying “rise dark girls.” I disagree with this call to arms. As black people, we should all rise. Together. Black men and women of all color and background should come together in praising and rearing our young black children. Our society is falling apart because adults would rather shake their head in disgust than pull someone aside and educate them.
There’s a lot more to this movie, but I don’t want to ruin it for you. I highly suggest that you check it out! Watching this did raise a few questions for me: Do men have similar issues with being dark skinned? There were a lot of mothers and aunts that had something to say, but you didn’t see fathers speaking in this documentary. How does the role of the father affect a woman’s on her skin.
This movie was the first step of a long self-discovery journey I will be taking. Black is beautiful. It is not bad. I am black. I am Latina. I will be sharing with you different movies, books and articles that I have and will be reading to better understand the relationship between blacks and Latinos. It is certainly a relief to find that there are black and Latina females out there that are just as confused as me!
To my dark girls… you are beautiful! You are the color of fertile soil from which the green grass grows. You are the color of savory chocolate- a taste that everyone covets. You are deep and dark like the night with glistening stars, and a round moon that inspires every dreamer. Your skin is the softest cashmere hypnotic to all who touches it. You are grace style and class. A wonderful beautiful woman and you are a queen.
Here is the trailer: