On June 24, 2013, Bill Duke and D. Channsin Berry’s documentary, “Dark Girls,” made its debut on OWN Network. I recently, watched the documentary with ultimate apprehension. I feel as if I didn’t earn this badge of struggle. I’m not as black as of coffee or fair as coffee with an entire dollop of cream in it. My complexion is the color of milk chocolate with caramel smoothly mixed completely in.
In my eyes, the darker the hue the more time God spent on you. Let me clarify: The various skin tones of people of African descent are to be admired. But the darkest tones have always made me ponder about the finite ability God has to see beauty; to construct pulchritude.
So, as I watched the documentary unfold, I fought back the crocodile tears as I listened to these sistas’ stories. I had to keep my anger at bay given the utterance of a post-racial society; to even think that the effects of slavery and racism are, were one dimensional as opposed to being generationally complex.
I had the privilege of being cultivated in a community that acknowledged and adored African greatness and beauty. Pride is something I preached and practiced on the daily, at a very young age. By the way, pride in this case is self love. Thus, today, “no weapons formed against me shall prosper.”
I abhor the notion that self esteem is something one creates solely as an individual. As an adult, you attempt to maintain your esteem but our respective circles play a part in lifting and leveling our spirits. Children depend on the adults around them for protection of every kind, period. The documentary showcased young and older, women of African descent alike. The participants easily could have been elementary girls; which is to say we are failing. Learning has become so orthodox that we have forgotten love is a lesson—love must be taught. Love can be taught.
I hope that the documentary is an ongoing venture that we’ll delve deeper into the psychosis of complexion with all women of African descent. Conversations regarding the issues that affect women of color across the spectrum, not just their darker tones but their medium and lighter tones must be acknowledged. Most importantly, the vignette of sistas who were able to be unmoved by demeaning comments and society’s blue-eyed definition of beauty needs to be discussed. These women’s mantras, affirmations and practices to build and maintain their esteems about their appearances need to be illustrated to provide possible solutions for little girls, yet to discovery how cruel the world can be about the color of their skin.
We try not to define ourselves by others but often we are bombarded with opinions dressed up as facts. I want to go back in time and befriend these girls, these women. Simply to tell them they are beautiful and intelligent. Furthermore, that God made you just the way She wanted you to be. BE fly, my sistas! Fly high!