Dark Women Awaken Thursday 30 June, 2011

Guest post by Freya Mórani Links of videos and other online content pass like roaring forest fires via social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. I myself noticed that the Dark Girls preview, a film by Bill Duke & D. Channsin Berry, was constantly showing up in my Facebook feed. The film reports to delve […]

Share

Guest post by Freya Mórani

Links of videos and other online content pass like roaring forest fires via social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. I myself noticed that the Dark Girls preview, a film by Bill Duke & D. Channsin Berry, was constantly showing up in my Facebook feed. The film reports to delve deep into the plight of dark-skinned Black women in the United States. After being so disappointed with Good Hair, I’m really just kind of over movies that seem to say: “let’s examine what’s wrong with Black women”–over it.

Still, I wanted to look at it just to be able to be able to engage in conversation around the piece. As I had suspected, it was a huge let down. In fact, from the preview, I can definitively say that I am not looking forward to the full length documentary and will likely not watch it.

My issue with this preview is that it focuses all the negativity on Black women, as if we created the problem around skin color. The Facebook comments that I have seen around folks posting it has trended along the lines of – look at what’s wrong with us, look at how messed up we are. All this negativity is being looked as an internal problem–an African-American woman induced problem.

Analyzing the skin tone issue in this manner is problematic for many reasons. It distracts Black women in the US from understanding and dealing with the real issue at hand – global racism. It gives a pass to the current oppressors that control the images of mass media, the world’s resources and so much more because we are taking full responsibility for what is going on. It focuses all the attention on what’s wrong with us and leads us to believe that we are inherently inadequate, have brought the oppression on ourselves and perpetuate it ourselves. This is not helpful in any way in getting more Black women on the screen, getting more Black women to love the skin they’re in, and heal our community in general; Black women bashing is just not the way.

Black women are not the only casualties, however. The preview vehemently spotlights a Black man who supposedly doesn’t want his dark-brown women. Hashing this out is something I feel we need to do amongst ourselves, not on the world’s stage. Crying on screen about how horrible Black women are so that we can take on all the blame and Europeans can feel free of responsibility for their privilege and inherited debt to us is not helpful at all.

Alek Wek--Dutch Glamour

If time and money are finite resources, we must examine closely how we invest it. What are we planting in the minds and hearts of our people through media. I strongly believe that the money spent on this documentary would have been better spent on a slamming film featuring the darkest Nubian queens among us. Show her in her multifaceted glory. Show her in complex and vast array of states of being, doing and creating. Let her be the leading character. Let her save the day, love her children, care for her men, and nurture her community. You know, all the stuff we’re currently not seeing on the big screen.

On the surface, Dark Girls seems rather “revolutionary” and “educational.” Yet we have to ask the tough questions of what is the purpose of this media, how is it to build up our community, what are these images and plots inciting in people. It’s obvious that if Black people are walking away after viewing this preview convinced that “we’re messed up,” it’s not cultivating pride, reverence, or Black liberation.

Share

One Comment


Trackbacks and Pingbacks

Leave a Comment


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>