Dark Girls The Movie
Junious Ricardo Stanton
My wife and I attended the screening of Dark Girls the movie produced by Bill Duke and D. Channsin Berry at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby Pa.last Saturday. The event was well attended and the energy was positive despite the serious content and nature of the film. The movie addresses the impact of colorism within the global African community. Color prejudice and skin tone revulsion or favoritism are not just relegated to Europeans and Arabs. Within the African community, in our homes and families parents and extended relations show preference to lighter skinned children even in 2012. This favoritism is reinforced in the media, in the magazines, the music videos and motion pictures. We have all been subjected to it and it has not gone away; The sad reality is the saying “if you're light you're all right if you're brown stick around but if you're black get back.” Is still alive and well today. We heard this as children and it still reverberates in our lives today. Whether it is blatant or subtle it’s there.
The documentary Dark Girls shares the pain and experiences of darker hued Sistahs how the sting of colorism and rejection impacted and shaped their lives. Interspersed amongst these personal stories are commentaries by historians who explain the origin and roots of color and phenotype bias and how African people have internalized the negative notions Europeans have about us and our melanin. Mental health experts, psychologists, psychotherapists and psychiatrists are featured in the film and they explain the trauma and deep seated pain this culturally induced self-negation has caused our people. Black and white men share their thoughts and feelings, sane and insane about dark skinned women. The film is quite revealing yet it is not a pity woe is us film. It does offer insight into the problem as well as hope for healing and restoration.
In one scene a Sistah shared that when she was a child she wanted her mother to pour liquid bleach in her bath water to lighten her skin. Actress Viola Davis shared how she was teased and taunted mercilessly as a child by her black peers growing up in a mostly all white community. Black males were interspersed throughout the film telling their likes and dislikes regarding skin tone. Watching the film we can plainly see how we’ve been damaged by white supremacy and racial oppression to the point we do it to ourselves
Berry shared during the question and answer session that the movie was the result of his and Bill Dukes’ own experiences growing up as dark skinned brothers in New Jersey; how they knew it was even more hurtful for the Sistahs The documentary was independently produced by raising money from donors and regular folks who contributed money to finance the film. Berry revealed that he and Duke are currently working on a sequel or follow up documentary addressing the issues of light skinned women. “Me and my buddy Bill Duke did this about three years ago. He came up with the concept. He said ‘how about working together and doing a documentary.’ He said, ‘how about doing something on dark skinned women?’ and I immediately said, I'm in. I'll tell you why. Both of us grew up as dark skinned boys and we went through some things, we experienced being called names and it caused some damage to both of us. And I emotionally understood what this meant but for women it was ten times worse. So we made the film as a way to possibly heal or beginning the healing for those who have issues about being dark skinned and being light skinned”
Dark Girls is an independent project. It did not have the backing and financing of a Hollywood studio nor a distribution deal to exhibit it in a national chain of theaters. So Duke and Berry are using the model established by pioneering black film maker Oscar Micheaux, in the 1920s. They are traveling around the country renting theaters to show their movie. They depend on black media, word of mouth and social networks to market, promote and support the film. They are asking black folks to donate money, get the word out and endorse the film. One way to support their efforts is go to their Website http://officialdarkgirlsmovie.com/about/ and make a donation via PayPal, leave a comment or contact Duke and Berry about exhibition opportunities. You can see where the film is going to be shown next by visiting the Website. When it comes to you r town go see it.
Corporate media is not going to address our issues or attempt to heal our psyches. To do so would alter and challenges the status quo. There is no benefit in that for them. Healing can only be initiated by conscious Africans who as wounded healers attempt to nurture healing in our community so we can heal ourselves and emerge whole and sane from the baggage of slavery and degradation.