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Do Fair-Skinned Black Actresses Accept Praise But Deliberately Avoid The Color Privilege Debate?

by Cynthia Reid
May 25, 2011 7:34 AM
25 Comments
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Something happened recently that's resonated with me for awhile now. I did a posting on the Hollywood Black "A-List" and in gathering photos for the post, I noticed the ONLY woman of a darker hue was Viola Davis. Instantly, I did a double check to make sure I wasn't missing anyone but, in keeping with the topic, came to the same conclusion.

What happened? Why are we not seeing more of our darker skinned sisters being spotlighted in the headlines and are we conveniently allowing this?

To make matters worse, I recently read a statement by Steve Stoute-investor and a spokesperson for the ethnic beauty care line Carol's Daughter-explaining the new multiracial ad campaign which seems to deliberately exclude darker skinned women and prominently feature Selita Banks, Solange Knowles and Cassie.

His explanation, which I pulled from the great site whataboutourdaughters.com, states..."We want to be the first beauty brand that truly captures the beauty of the tapestry of skin types in America. When I say polyethnic, I mean women who are made up of several ethnicities. If you ask them what they are, they’re going to use a lot of different words to describe themselves. That’s in line with the Census data coming out — people are checking much more than two boxes. We believe we’ve put together a shoot that celebrates many different ethnicities, to become a mirror of what America’s really becoming.[...]“They will serve as cultural ambassadors in bringing forth this acceptance that the definition of beauty is now colorless."

Umm...okay. Where's the chocolate ladies? What's even more remarkable about that statement is that there's been no clarification or no one stepping up to say that more ads are coming including more women of various hues.

Now, this is not meant to be a "beat up on light skinned women" post. Quite the contrary. I'm wondering where's the solidarity and honest discussion about this subject? People don't mind being black when it comes to fighting against "the man" but what happens to the fighting spirit when you've achieved that brass ring? Should there be any sense of obligation to speak on this issue regarding your sisters when you are receiving benefits and privilege?

Talking about race is always a precarious, highly emotional debate anyway. Adding the complexities of beauty and history fuel it even more. If you need any evidence of that, examine the fireball that was created when psychologist Dr. Satoshi Kanazawa recently published an article, on the Psychology Today website, claiming that black women were rated less attractive.

I think it's great that Beyonce, Paula Patton, Rashida Jones, Maya Rudolph, Halle Berry etc...can and will continue to get offered "creme de la creme" roles. However, when they deliberately avoid speaking about the obvious are they becoming part of the issue?

Chime in folks! By the way, we will be further discussing this on the podcast tonight.

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25 Comments

  • AllPeople | November 18, 2011 8:43 PMReply

    Far too many other people are
    too uninformed to realize that ....

    THE FACTS are as follows:

    1) It is often a surprise for people to learn that, in reality, there
    is actually No Such Thing As a "Light Skinned Black" person.

    2) Very few people seem to be aware of the fact that the term
    "Light Skinned Black" is really nothing more than a racist
    oxymoron created by Racial Supremacists in an effort to
    forcibly deny those Mixed-Race individuals, who are of
    a Multi-Generational Multiracially-Mixed (MGM-Mixed)
    lineage, the right to fully embrace and to also received
    public support in choosing to acknowledge the truth
    regarding their full ancestral heritage and lineage.

    3) The people who have been slapped with the false label and
    oxymoronic misnomer of "Light Skinned Black" person are simply
    Mixed-Race individuals -- who are from families that have been
    CONTINUALLY Mixed-Race THROUGHOUT multiple generations.

    4) Seeing that every other Mixed-Race group is allowed the dignity
    of receiving support in having itself referred to by the term that
    it most prefers -- the question becomes "Why should the
    situation be any different for those Mixed-Race
    individuals who are of an Multi-Generational
    Multiracially-Mixed (MGM-Mixed) lineage?".

    5) If an MGM-Mixed individual would like to be referred to by the
    term 'Mixed-Race' (which is what they actually are) rather than by
    that of "Light-Skinned Black" (a term, which, once again, has the
    racist-origin of being nothing more than an oxymoronic-phrase that
    was both created and coined by Racial Supremacists in an effort to
    try to deny these Mixed-Race people their right to and support in
    publicly acknowledging and also embracing their FULL-Lineage)
    there is no reason that they (like every other group on the planet
    -- whether Mixed-Race or not) should not be allowed the right
    to choose the term that society uses in referring to them
    (and to have their full-lineage acknowledged within that term).

    RELATED LINKS:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/1399
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/2511
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/1402
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/1574
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/1003
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/3998
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4065
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/3999
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/1400
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwn4hIWGUmw&feature=related

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    --- AllPeople (AP) Gifts
    soaptalk@hotmail.com

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MGM-Mixed
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FGM-Mixed
    http://www.youtube.com/user/APGifts

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    .

  • Bria | June 21, 2011 2:19 AMReply

    After reading this article I am thoroughly outraged.....I feel as though light skinned actresses shouldnt comment on something of that nature simply because it would start a huge debate light v.s dark and they do not want to bring up such a debate that has a stigma. Personally as a light skinned young woman I was excited to see the commercial about the mixed hair care products. My close friend( and her mother) who was the same hair texture as me said the product works great. I was glad to know that their was a product that catered to people who has more natural curly hair. Growing up not having a perm like everyone else, there were products that never worked on my hair. I felt like my type of hair needed another type of product. So when I saw Carols commercial, it felt nice. So they were only targeting diverse audiences. who cares? just dont buy it. Do not be mad because a company is targeting a specific skin tone. Does it really matter? I mean if there was a hair product that was called "only for dark skinned girls", I wouldnt be mad or care. Im not gonna be like "omg they are discriminating against fair skinned girls"

  • Lurie | June 4, 2011 5:49 AMReply

    This was a great article and really timely considering the release of the documentary Dark Girls (which you can preview here: http://vimeo.com/24155797 ). As a recipient of lighter skinned privilege I don't know if they are required to speak on it - but at the very least they should own it. Colorism is killing the minds and self esteems of the young girls and boys who watch these films - and has already destroyed the self-esteem of their parents.

    Google or Youtube "the doll test" and watch account after account of young Black boys and girls who consistently associate positive characteristics and beauty with the White doll and conversely identify the Black doll as the ugly, dumb, mean doll. I'm not talking about the doll test used in Brown v. Board of Ed - I'm talking about doll tests being done TODAY.

    It is a Pan-African phenomenon. I cannot think of any place in the world that has been exposed to Western society that does not place a higher value on European looks, mannerisms and hair. Lighter skinned people have been the recipient of a certain type of privilege because they play the role of being a type of "buffer" class between the races.

    I think the responsibility comes in being honest about that fact so that our community can begin to actually heal from this sickness. Think of it this way - as a Black woman I support Black men when they are oppressed. But I can still recognize that Black men have the unique role of being both oppressED as Black men - but they can also be the oppressOR as men in a male/female relationship.

    The only way the division between Black males and females can heal will be if both genders can own that. I think the same principle is true for the divisions in the community based on skin color. We have to own that this exists before we can heal from it.

  • Melissa | May 27, 2011 1:44 AMReply

    I agree with 'anonymous' that many of the black actresses that are revered in the white world are brown to dark skinned.
    Whoopi Goldberg, Naomie Harris, Zoe Saldana, Kerry Washington, Gabrielle Union, Angela Bassett.
    Nia Long was the only woman in all white male 'Boiler Room'.

    Then when you get to black sitcoms, you will see the colorism that we accuse Hollywood of.

    i.e. this is overhyped, if we are going outside the Black Community. But I love the blogger's posts otherwise.

  • Geneva Girl | May 26, 2011 10:43 AMReply

    As a very light skinned woman, I didn't feel beat up ;-). I agree with everything you said.

  • Fred | May 26, 2011 8:14 AMReply

    Anyone who puts Academy;Emmy;Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award Winner Halle Berry with Viola Davis;Paula Patton with wannabe like Alicia Keyes and Beyonce in the same sentence have got to have their damn head checked!

    It is an insult to Berry;Davis and Patton

  • reg | May 26, 2011 6:52 AMReply

    the title of your post is a question that seems very odd to me. perhaps because i don't read "people" (anymore!) or whatever the equivalent is that features colored folks, but i don't see "light-skinned" female actors getting anymore particular praise for their beauty than any other female actor who happens to be conventionally attractive and is dark-skinned, "white," asian or other. where is all this "praise" you speak about? where is the other "praise" missing from?

    i do think there is a general feeling (particularly among the sophisticated cosmopolitan types), perhaps perpetuated more these days because of our multi-"racial" president, that being perceived as "mixed race" carries a kind of caché, a hotness (if you will), that being perceived as "pure" african or "only one race" may not have. but, that's a sword that has cut both ways over time and the pendulum could swing back (i believe history favors "miscegenation," and as the world population because more "mixed," i can imagine a time when being perceived as "pure" carries the vibe that "mixed" carries in some people's minds today).

    but, back to your question, to which i have a question: who expect, or even WANTS, these actors to talk about this? unless they were specifically asked about it (an interview that would strike me as rather rude, at minimum), why would they ever address it? why would their opinion on such issues even be of particular interest? they're PERFORMERS!! not intellectuals, much less sociologists or cultural anthropologists. i certainly wouldn't expect angelina jolie, gwyneth paltrow, jennifer anniston (or any of brad's other paramours) to go out and address the prejudice against, say, fat/overweight actresses (not that being fat is the same as being dark-skinned, but i hope you see my point). why should they? and who would care about THEIR opinion, if they ventured it, more than ANYONE ELSE'S? so, do "fair-skinned" actresses "deliberately avoid" the "debate?" who knows? but, if they do, it's probably because they wisely realize they have nothing of particular interest to add.

  • NothingButAMan | May 26, 2011 6:25 AMReply

    To address your question: it's not the fault of those particular light-skinned actresses, but the attitudes/assumptions/values of the executives/producers/agents in power that make things the way they are.

    Obviously, it's lame and disappointing what the Carol's Daughter investor is saying... One of my best friends from college is "mixed" with two different Nigerian ethnicities, yet i'm sure she doesn't inhabit the "look" or hair texture that this guy has in mind lol! Gabby Sidibe has a father born in Senegal and an African-American mother with Georgia roots, but it's not very likely she'll become the polyethnic Carol's Daughter spokesperson is it?

    It's unfortunate, but at least when a dark-skinned actress gets some renown it's usually for the right reasons...

  • Anonymous | May 26, 2011 5:44 AMReply

    Just discovered this website, and I’m loving it! I have a lot to say.

    As a model/actress who’s as chocolate as they come, I have to say I can’t 100% entirely agree with the conclusions -I guess that I would have to agree that this is the BLACK HOLLYWOOD A-list. But in the wider Hollywood community? Really?

    Perhaps among black people (let's get real, black men) these woman are the most sought after – after all, the colorism issues in our community are legendary

    But are folks really arguing that:

    Paula Patton is a bigger star Zoe Saldana? .

    That Angela Basset is getting less acting opportunities than Alicia Keys?

    Kerry Washington? Outside of the black community, she is one of the best known black actresses. I’ve met her, and I wouldn’t describe her as ‘ambiguous looking’ or light skinned at all.

    As a struggling actress, I can honestly sit here and think of ‘non-star’ actresses/women off the top of my head – Rutina Wesley from True Blood (who has actually spoken about this issue, and disagrees with me), Keke Palmer, Meghan Goode who just got a part on Californifaction, Yaya Decosta, Nicole Beharie, and yes, Viola Davis – who’s shoes I would rather be in than any of these women (with the exception of Rashidah Jones, who is really doing well).

    I think with women like Jones, Zoe Kravitz and Maya Rudolph, it’s more about having those Hollywood connections. I guess I could be wrong, but I have a feeling if a beautiful – not a Precious type, but beautiful - brown skinned young actress was, say, the adopted daughter of Steven Spielberg – she would be getting roles in top films too. It’s just so hard to get SEEN in this business, and many of the casting directors are caucasian women, so of course they generally are not trying to cast really beautiful black women – they want overweight and sexless.

    Still, with all that baring the way, I think that most of the work that a struggling actress like Naomi Harris is going to get is going to be OUTSIDE of the black community, under white male directors.

    If you want to be a star actress in the black community, TD Jakes and Tyler Perry films, than yes, it def. helps to have light skin. But what if you don’t really want to be in those movies?

    I don’t say that there isn’t a problem, but I don’t think it’s quite this cut and dry – it really is rough all over. And if someone were going to ‘speak out’ (and I don’t think that’s their responsibility) I would hope that they would address their comments to the black community first. That’s where a lot of these women are getting their starts – under our own people – generally black male directors and black female producers, like the president of ‘Our Stories’ films.

    When black people have the chance to cast our own films . . . . . why wasn’t Gabrielle Union chosen to play the lead role in Jumping the Broom, for example? I really like Paula Patton, but Union looks more like she would be Basset’s daughter. I guess that would be a good question?

    And who is the blonde weaved woman in the purple? I don’t even know who she is . . . . is that Beyonce?

  • Bridget | May 25, 2011 12:36 PMReply

    Run this by me again: what exactly are any of those actresses mentioned or shown (besides Halle) praised for?

    None of them (again outside of Halle) are very respected actresses nor do they get the "meaty" roles in Hollywood. As far as I can tell, most of these light bright women are considered pretty but that's where it starts and ends.

    And they are considered most pretty by Black Americans which is why companies like Carol's Daughter are so quick & ready to use these women for their marketing campaign instead. But as far as being taken seriously in the entertainment industry they have to work just as hard as dark skinned women like me.

  • Adam Scott Thompson | May 25, 2011 11:33 AMReply

    Three words: Rae Dawn Chong.

  • CareyCarey | May 25, 2011 10:58 AMReply

    Okay, it’s another time for me to go places the few wish to venture.

    Bamboozled, lied to, led astray, brain washed, divided a conquered.

    Hold that thought. I always shake my head at folks who say we need to talk about “it”. My response is “REALLY?”. If the reasoning behind talking about “it“, is to convince another person to change their mind, or to persuade the powers to be move in a different direct, for the most part, that‘s a fools errand. In particular, look at this issue of light skin (pale skin) vs. chocolate skin, Spike Lee “talked” about it in School Daze, and everybody laughed and danced and went on their merry ways.

    Now we’re here pointing fingers and philosophizing about the eternal issues of white, light and dark brown, why? Oh, I forgot, we need to talk about “it”.

    Personally, I don’t believe we need to talk about too long, because the answers are not too far away. Well, that is if black folks aren’t scared of the truth. .. BAMBOOZELED, HOODWINKED, BRAINWASHED!

    In steps the white man with a smile on his face, and his dick in his hand. He’s about to screw a bunch of black folks and they will start to love it. Then they will start arguing among themselves, dividing themselves along lines of superficial importance. Oh yeah, some will try to emulate master Charlie, and defend their actions with the vengeance of a slave master. Gotta keep those nigger talking about BS. You know, that bullshit he laid in their laps. That same mindset can be found in the “debates” of good vs. bad movies, books, skin tone, hair, etc. Oh yeah, keep dem po darkies talking about Tyler vs. Spike, and Hollywood ain’t letting negroes in the door, and then they don’t have time nor an inclination to find a real mission, purpose or direction.

    What other culture or race beats each other up, more than the Black American? You know why we are out in front in that endeavor? Brainwashed! Divided and largely conquered. And don’t get mad at me for telling the truth. Look in the mirror and keep on talking.

    In short, let me leave with a few words about my cousin's wife. Well, maybe I should explain that because she's not going to like this.\

    This past weekend I was down in New Orleans where they live. They have a very nice home in a gated community. But, this post is not about them nor where they live. It's about the mindset of some (many) black folks, but let me continue. She drives a brand new BMW and my cousin drives a 1997 Volvo. She's from Orange NJ, and he's from my home town. So, for the most part, they have similar backgrounds. You know, they are both black and they both came from the ghetto. Wait, maybe I should say they both were raised on the lower side of town. But something has happened along the way.

    When I got in her car, I noticed a bottle of water labeled BMW water. I said to myself "what the hell was that about?". I mean, BMW water?!

    Anyway, as time went by, I noticed her radio was on one of those talk show programs. The topic was Michael Jordan and why he does or does not tip at restaurants. Now, in case someone cares about that mess, he does not tip. But why should I, or anyone else be concerned about that? But here's the lick, I told someone in the car that I don't listen to that mess and I don't watch the news. Lord have mercy, you would have thought I had snot running from my nose and I was licking it with deep tongue thrusts.

    Guns and drugs and light skined women are not the boogie man that's chasing down the black man, The media (white owned) is the Big Bitch. And, Niggas will PARTY & BULL SH*T and PARTY & BULL SH*T.

    In the Nixon era, The Last Poets were on the list of the Counter-Intelligence program, COINTELPRO. Did you catch that? I mean, counter to what? I mean, who's intelligence were they worried about? Dare I say the education of the black man?

    Compared To What

    I love the lie and lie the love
    A-Hangin' on, with push and shove
    Possession is the motivation that is hangin' up the God-damn nation
    Looks like we always end up in a rut
    Tryin' to make it real — compared to what?
    Slaughterhouse is killin' hogs
    Twisted children killin' frogs
    Poor dumb rednecks rollin' logs
    Tired old lady kissin' dogs
    I hate the human love of that stinking mutt
    Try to make it real — compared to what?

  • BluTopaz | May 25, 2011 10:48 AMReply

    ETA: I don't know the gender of who is responsible for that fried chicken flick mentioned---doesn't matter they should be flogged for everything shown in that trailer, not just the colorism

  • BluTopaz | May 25, 2011 10:44 AMReply

    sorry for any double posts---

    Cynthia asked: However, when they deliberately avoid speaking about the obvious are they becoming part of the issue?"

    Honestly, I don't think it's the responsibility of these women to bite feeding hands. It's the Cotton Club in 2011, nothing has changed.

    A lot of this conversation should involve Black artists who make certain choices regarding their work, in order to put them on Front Street, basically. Nevermind White preferences and ignant Asian quack psychologists for now, we have enough of our own problems to contend with. Ex: Lee Daniels casting Paula Patton in Precious, when in the book Patton's character was clearly described as a dark skinned woman. That was one of the reasons why Precious was able to relate to her. He stayed true to Precious' physical description, so why the switch with Ms Rain? Daniels also gave an in depth article in NYTimes about coming to terms with his own colorism issues as a dark skinned man, and noted his revelations have only been recent (the man is in his fifties, ya'll).

    And to use poor Paula again, in her breakout film Idlewild--Manola Dargis of the NYTimes even commented on her role in the film with: "It's disconcerting that Ms. Patton, by far the most glamorized female lead, also has the palest skin." Meanwhile, she is surrounded by dark-skinned Black women singers/dancers in the background and of course, all the male leads are dark-skinned Black men. Years ago Jennifer Lopez commented on her Living Color auditions, and how the Wayans bros. specifically commented how excited they were to see someone who looked like her who could dance like a Black girl. A friend who danced professionally in those days, gorgeous (think Angela Bassett about one shade darker) was going to audition for LC. Someone close to the Wayans camp advised her not to even bother. How many dark-skinned Fly Girls were there?

    IMO it's not fair to ask these women to bite any feeding hands, when they are clearly playing along with how fucked up many Black people (and let's face it-many in these positions are men) are re: color. Look at that other chitlin' circuit flick that was posted here a few days ago-my mind has blocked it out. The center of attention: purty, smiling redbone gal who speaks well. One of the punchlines: a greezy, obese, cheezin, reeallllll dark skinned Black chick-and wasn't she waving a chicken drumstick around? The dark skin Black male lead was a bald doofus but the point is, he's the lead. These are Black people putting these images out there and yeah i know this is a straight to garbage can movie but it's only one example.

    I think Carol's Daughter is trying to find their niche in a market that has exploded with so many fab hair care lines, esp. now so many women (myself included) are educated about ingredients and know how overpriced and crappy CD's ingredients are. But if Lisa and her new investor are thinking many ethnic Whites with jewfros and very curly hair are going to buy any hair products previously associated with Black women they can wake up. Pantene, Herbel Essences n'em have not gone anywhere so she and her new excited White investor can go sit down. Mixed Chicks already has the multi-ethnic hair care market cornered (whatever that means, I have used Mixed Chicks conditioner for my 100% Nubian hair and it works great). Lisa and her partner are just trying to be fancy, they needed something new to put on a mission statement with all this polyethnic blah blah.

    As for the other women mentioned, I really have no comment on Rashida and Maya because they are so non-descript to me, not racially but their acting simply bores me. I like Halle and could see her apologizing for being lighter skinned and receiving privilege-lol.

  • Lynn | May 25, 2011 10:36 AMReply

    @ JMac

    I agree w/ you i don't think these women are asked any question in interviews, press etc. regarding their race. Black people are pleased to see Blacks in a film even if they have a small fraction in their blood line. They just like to see some "color" on screen.

    You said, it perfectly here: "They’re not about to bite the hand that feeds them (partially based on their exotic looks) AND then open the door to competition with darker skinned talented sisters by suggesting or advocating for their inclusion in mainstream American media".

    Exactly, they are not going to even try to discuss the lack of dark skin women on screen. The industry already filled w/ euro-centric beauties it is very difficult for a women of color light skin or dark skin to even land a role in mainstream H-wood.

    The other thing that bothers me is that people believe light-skin women have it easier but they really don't they are all struggling for a piece of the pie.

  • JMac | May 25, 2011 10:23 AMReply

    Hmm.. Should I or shouldn't I? I should but I'll be nice:

    "I think it’s great that Beyonce, Paula Patton, Rashida Jones, Maya Rudolph, Halle Berry etc…can and will continue to get offered “creme de la creme” roles. However, when they deliberately avoid speaking about the obvious are they becoming part of the issue? "

    How often are these women confronted with "colorism" in interviews or conversations where they would have the opportunity to address it directly? I'm willing to bet it doesn't come up at all - not even by the black press. As long as they've got that one drop of black blood in them, everyone esp black people, seem to be content. Better to have a light actress/entertainer than no black actress/entertainer at all. The odds of bringing the topic up themselves is slim to none. They're not about to bite the hand that feeds them (partially based on their exotic looks) AND then open the door to competition with darker skinned talented sisters by suggesting or advocating for their inclusion in mainstream American media.

    Does that make them part of the problem? I'll say no, not unless they are actually questioned on it /confronted with it and intentionally sidestep the matter. For example, if Celebrity A's already light skin color is altered to appear even lighter on a magazine or tv ads and Celebrity A says nothing about it- she definitely is contributing to the issue and should be called out on it. Of course, Celebrity A is probably more concerned about getting her money than having any integrity so she'll just ignore it anyway. Advocacy has to come from the populace - it's not going to come from actresses or models.

    As far as Carol's Daughter is concerned, there's been a lot of negative comments made about their products and management for a while now. I've never bought from them - and don't intend to after this. Just get my Proud Lady products at Walmart or the black owned beauty supply store and call it a day. It is sad that a supposedly black owned business (if it still is) won't put a darker skinned natural black woman on their advertisements when other kinky curly product sites (white owned) display these women proudly. I know plenty of white people who buy black hair care products with a black face on it due to word of mouth advertising. For some reason, the afro picture on the can of Dax or Murray Pomade hasn't scared off the white and hispanic guys who either want the 360 wave style or a slicked back greaser boy look. :P

    I was thinking about that stupid article when I glanced at the Gabrielle Union post. Black women are just sooo unattractive. Who'd want to get with that? *sarcasm*

  • Lynn | May 25, 2011 10:14 AMReply

    I really love this post.

    I totally and completely agree w/ Jug. It does start and ends w/ us, the audience/consumer. We don't speak up about certain things and we "allow" it to continue.

    It is nice to see Beyonce, Paula Patton and others to receive work and to be on cover of magazines, movies etc. These girls look like me but i understand where a lot of you are coming from our society is caught up in appearance. And things will NOT change unless we speak up about it.

  • Kia | May 25, 2011 8:49 AMReply

    I agree with Jug on it starts with "community" not embracing negative views of what is beautiful and what is not, but disagree about the natural hairstyle being "in". It's just accepted, To take that a step further--more artists have natural hairstyles. Don't really see this reflected too tough in "corporate" america.

  • Tamara | May 25, 2011 8:48 AMReply

    I love this site so much! And "What About Our Daughters". I commented there on the Steve Stoute issue.

    Someone, some entity, has taken/is taking a 1983 issue Erasermate to the visage of Black women on screen/in the media. We are no longer "Black" but polyethnic and multiethnic ("mutts"...thanks Kanye), preferable descriptors---"anything other than Black"---but that's a matter of semantics... Maybe. Yes? No? Hmmm.

    However, when they deliberately avoid speaking about the obvious are they becoming part of the issue?

    I think not speaking on it stagnates the issue/discussion because it doesn't ruffle feathers, doesn't cease and desist any money deposits into bank accounts for services rendered---at this juncture they are silent partners to the issue...

    But are they really required to speak on it? I mean, why would they?

    I agree with Jug (re: Carol's Daughter), in a sense that it will ultimately come down to voicing opposition with our support/non-support and/or wallets of these various campaigns and such.

    Meanwhile, in 'el mundo de cine', maybe Hollywood plays to 'colorism' in waves, as they do everything else. I mean, in the 70s/80s Tamara Dobson, Cicely Tyson, Brenda Sykes, Rosalind Cash, ummm so on and so forth and etc. Various shades and hues of 'Black'. But then that was a different era... I think probably there was an expectation of 'all' of us to be included... Not only an expectation but maybe a seeming obligation?

    I don't really know what I'm saying. Probably not contributing much. Great topic for discussion, though. I will await others' commentary. :-)

  • Purhoney | May 25, 2011 8:46 AMReply

    If beauty is now "colorless" then they should have a wide range of beauty displayed. I think the intent of Carol's Daughter was to expand it's brand to a wider audience without alienating African American women (we were the initial targeted audience), BUT it does send a negative message (I believe) by not including more hues. The message this campaign sends is that light/fair skinned/mixed is the standard of beauty. We are now in a wave of women accepting their natural hair. Why turn back the clock once again?

  • Celeste | May 25, 2011 8:42 AMReply

    It is a false beauty standard, the European standard...............there are so few Europeans against all other people of colour all over the world but since the own the oulets in the West you cant complain. In America people have been conditioned throught this same media too fear and detest anything darker than a brown paper bag and you see things havent changed.

  • Gigi Young | May 25, 2011 8:21 AMReply

    If you look at the filmographies of the black actresses from the 90s until today, the skin color is all over the map. It SEEMS as though lighter-complexioned women receive the "creme de la creme" of roles, but you're forgetting that there are two markets for black actresses--mainstream and the black community, and most of the time, the twain never meet (i.e. the mainstream going ga-ga for Halle all of these years, but the black community loving Nia Long or Gabrielle Union).

    When it comes to Maya Rudolph and Rashida Jones, their ethnic ambiguity does place them in mainstream movies and TV shows, but are they ever the leading lady? That is, is it THEIR name that is selling the show/film??Bridesmaids is all about Kristin Wiig and the breakout star is Melissa McCarthy, and Parks & Rec is Amy Poehler's vehicle.

    I personally feel this topic is a false dilemma because black actresses are burdened by being female (i.e. you must be sexy, provocative, but silent) and being black (i.e. you're sexless or oversexed), and skin complexion is only one facet of the issues a black woman has to face when trying to break into the entertainment industry.

  • Jug | May 25, 2011 8:16 AMReply

    Oh forgot, on a business note, seems CAROL'S DAUGHTER wants to get some of that kinky curly money that comes from Jewish, Armenian and any other "ethnic Caucasian" group out there. Hard to do when the faces on the bottle are dark. Not condoning, just spitballing ideas.

  • Jug | May 25, 2011 8:14 AMReply

    As you can see, I'm posting and anything & errthang today LOL

    I think it starts and ends with us, the audience/consumer. Vote with your wallet. Don't spend your money on stuff that you feel is intentionally not catering to you, because honestly, they're only doing it because "that's what sells". Notice how every woman is rocking a natural now, because it's in? That and because it's cheaper than getting a perm every few weeks? (My fiance has me peep game LOL) So now you see more product lines & commercials featuring natural haired models. Not so many that you think it's the norm, but waay more than a decade ago.

    Even more simply put, I think a woman wants to be beautiful first & foremost, and whoever is gonna tell her that HOWEVER it's done, that's what she's gonna do. I may be wrong...am I Cynthia? :-D

  • MulletLove | May 25, 2011 8:13 AMReply

    Great post, and I hope there is much discussion on it. I have to scoot jusy now, but I may get to chime in a little more in depth later on.

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