Light Girls

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I just finished watching Light Girls, a documentary directed by Bill Duke. It was the much needed sequel to Dark Girls which aired on Own Network in 2011. Both documentaries explored the confusing, prominent and unspoken idiosyncrasies of colorism in the black community.  It features several women, celebrities, actresses, doctors and strangers who account their experiences as a light complexioned woman and their feelings on the negative feelings they received from darker complexioned women.  I loved that it wasn’t portrayed as just an American thing.  It touched on colorism on every continent.  It discussed colorism’s effects in the beauty industry, relationships, the church and more.  Most importantly, it discussed the solutions and how-tos of healing between women of all hues.

I thoroughly enjoyed both films! I remembered watching Dark Girls years ago and my heart breaking at the testimonies.  Being a woman of brown skinned complexion, I have experiences from both spectrums of hue.  In the summertime, I play outdoors religiously and became very dark and have been treated as a dark girl. In the winter, I can become very light and have negative stigmas put on me, such as the all too common, “she’s thinks she’s all that.”  So I related immensely to the stories told in Light Girls AND Dark Girls.  When I finished Dark Girls, I remembered feeling a hollow pit in my stomach because I wanted desperately to help other women see each other the way I see them. I am blessed to have grown up in an environment that did not perpetuate such stereotypes or beliefs  based on complexion. I saw all colors as beautiful.  I was always encouraged by my family to think differently from others and so I was, as you could guess, bullied for that.  Still my confidence in myself never waned as a result of my standards or beauty. How I related to myself and other women as beautiful was taught to me in a parallel way, not perpendicular.  How I see myself, (beautiful or not), does not have a direct relationship to how I see you (beautiful or not).  The ideas were similar; however, if you were like my grandmother, I thought you were beautiful, but my grandmother is more than just her skin color.  

I know this was a taught behavior because my grandmother who told me when I was very little that I did not like white people.  Knowing who I am now, that seems so farfetched. She told several stories of my outright prejudice regarding my aunt, who is white and married to my uncle, who is black.  Instances where I would say “good morning” to them both but only look at my uncle.  I would thank my uncle for gifts that my aunt specifically bought me.  Having  practiced such behaviors, my parents taught me up to love and honor people for who they are and by their character.  They worked hard to uproot whatever biases I had learned through media and other exposures.  You can look into my relationship history and see I have loved people of every hue.  I have no “type.” I have loved and dated men who were small, large, short, tall, very very dark to very very light.  You can see I have friends of all different hues as well.  It is my hope in sharing this film with you that you’re able to say the same about the people around you. 

You can watch Light Girls for free here and Dark Girls here.  It is my STRONG RECOMMENDATION  no matter what “team” you affiliate with that you watch both! The entire community is hurting as a result of categorizations. I sincerely hope that when I have children #teamlightskinned and #teamdarkskinned are a thing of the past.  Seeing color isn’t the issue.  Seeing color and attributing assumptions are.  My people are so beautiful, varying in so many shades, features and sizes.  Our differences and refusal to fit in one box is the resilience that has allowed us to stand the test of time from royalty, to slavery, to assimilation and self discovery.  May both films open your eyes to a greater and more loving you.  God bless you readers and I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the films!
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