Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network will air the ‘Dark Girls’ documentary next Sunday, June 23. The film, which premiered at Toronto International Film Festival in 2011 is generating a lot of buzz! Two years in the making, ‘Dark Girls,” is an unfiltered and emotionally raw film that presents interviews with Black women of the darkest hues in which they share personal stories and life experiences.
The topic of ‘Dark Skin vs Light Skin’ ‘black folks’ has been a controversial topic since the days of slavery. An unfortunate fact in American history is that darker skinned men and women suffered harsher treatment than lighter skinned enslaved people. The question ‘Has the bias treatment changed much since the days of slavery?’ is explored by documentary Directors/Producers D. Channsin Berry (Urban Winter Entertainment) and Bill Duke (Duke Media).
Berry states of the film’s origin, “When Bill called me with the idea of a documentary about dark-skinned women, I was in right away. Being a dark-skinned Black man, like Bill, I have gone through similar traumas. Being separated and discriminated against by our own people. It stifles your self-esteem. Bill and I shared our similar experiences and immediately understood that we knew the best way to approach this.”
Duke adds, “In the late `60s a famous psychological study was done in which a young Black girl was presented with a set of dolls. Every time the she was asked to point to the one that wasn’t pretty, not smart, etc., she pointed to the Black doll that looked just like her. In her mind, she was already indoctrinated. To watch her do that was heartbreaking and infuriating. CNN did the test again recently – decades later – with little progress. As the filmmakers behind ‘Dark Girls,’ our goal is to take that little girl’s finger off that doll.”
Dark-skinned Black American women from all walks of life are featured in the film, with a key focus on the struggle 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.”
To add more spice (as if needed) additional interviews in the film ‘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 for a world-wide 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.”