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

Shadow and Act By Cynthia Reid | Shadow and Act May 25, 2011 at 7:34AM

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.
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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.

This article is related to: Rant


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