Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
'Key & Peele' Will End After Its Current Season 'Key & Peele' Will End After Its Current Season MSNBC Decides: Touré Is Out, Rev. Al Stays (For Now) MSNBC Decides: Touré Is Out, Rev. Al Stays (For Now) Disney Channel & Disney XD Casting Directors Holding Online Casting Call for Diverse Actors, Age 10-17 Disney Channel & Disney XD Casting Directors Holding Online Casting Call for Diverse Actors, Age 10-17 Oprah Winfrey Presents Landmark 7-Night Event Series 'Belief' Premiering October 18 (Trailer) Oprah Winfrey Presents Landmark 7-Night Event Series 'Belief' Premiering October 18 (Trailer) Watch 5 Clips From TV One Original Movie 'Runaway Island' - Premieres This Saturday, July 25 Watch 5 Clips From TV One Original Movie 'Runaway Island' - Premieres This Saturday, July 25 Samira Wiley to Co-Star in Film Based on Kitty Genovese 1964 Murder Samira Wiley to Co-Star in Film Based on Kitty Genovese 1964 Murder MTV Has Made Its 'White People' Documentary Available Online - Watch It Here MTV Has Made Its 'White People' Documentary Available Online - Watch It Here MSNBC Is Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place with Rev. Al (Demote Him or Let Him Go?) MSNBC Is Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place with Rev. Al (Demote Him or Let Him Go?) LeBron James Inks "Unprecedented Agreement" with Warner Bros. Spanning Film, TV, Digital LeBron James Inks "Unprecedented Agreement" with Warner Bros. Spanning Film, TV, Digital "New Money, New Power" in 'Empire' Season 2 First Look Video Promo "New Money, New Power" in 'Empire' Season 2 First Look Video Promo Don Cheadle's 'Miles Ahead' Will World Premiere as the Closing Night Film at the 53rd New York Film Festival Don Cheadle's 'Miles Ahead' Will World Premiere as the Closing Night Film at the 53rd New York Film Festival What TV Critics Are Saying about MTV's 'White People' Documentary + Watch 3 Clips What TV Critics Are Saying about MTV's 'White People' Documentary + Watch 3 Clips Check Out the Official Theatrical Trailer for Stanley Nelson’s 'The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution' Check Out the Official Theatrical Trailer for Stanley Nelson’s 'The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution' Watch Documentary Web Series 'Pretty' - About Black Women, Beauty and Self Esteem (You’ll Be Happy You Did) Watch Documentary Web Series 'Pretty' - About Black Women, Beauty and Self Esteem (You’ll Be Happy You Did) Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Third 'Best Man' Movie Gets a Title, an Official 2016 Release Date & A Most Unexpected Wedding Third 'Best Man' Movie Gets a Title, an Official 2016 Release Date & A Most Unexpected Wedding Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Now On DVD - 'Dark Girls' Seeks To Bring About Healing Via Discussion Of A Deep-Rooted Issue

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act September 24, 2013 at 5:19PM

Now On DVD - 'Dark Girls' Seeks To Bring About Healing Via Discussion Of A Deep-Rooted Issue
11

dark girls

Editor's note: Bill Duke's and D. Channsin Berry's documentary, becomes available on DVD today, 9/24, for those who missed its broadcast premiere on the OWN network, in June.

The film does its job, which, from what I gather, is to engage the viewer on the particular matter it tackles; to generate conversation.

So if you’re watching it expecting to hear solutions or *fixes*, don’t; That’s not quite what the film sets out to do - at least, I certainly don’t believe so.

Filled with heartfelt testimonials that you’ll either empathize with, or dismiss (I include that as a potential reaction for some, given the varied responses to the film thus far on this site from readers), Dark Girls isn't a film I'd reductively classify as either "good" or "bad." It's more like a discussion with the audience, with the end goal being to hopefully get to some root or core of the shadeism/colorism issue that's long plagued, not just the African American community, but people of color the world over. Although it's unquestionably a work that's targeted specifically at black Americans.

It's a topic we've discussed ad naseam here on S&A, and that I'm sure many, if not all of you have had some meaningful encounters with, whether via your own firsthand experiences, or through conversations/debates on and offline. So I won't say the film, despite all the anticipation for it, is particularly new, which certainly isn't a criticism of it, by the way. Consider it more of a continuation of the dialogue we've been having here and elsewhere, for as long as I can remember.

If anything, its freshness lies in its format, in that, it essentially forces you to sit for its running time, and watch and listen to the many personal stories told firsthand by the many dark girls who feel branded like Hester Prynne in The Scarlett Letter, with dark skin as a kind of punishment/prison, thanks to how society - specifically what we call the "black community" - views them.

Not that the "blame" (for lack of a better word) is a burden that's placed entirely on the shoulders of black people. The film takes into consideration the long recent history of African people, as historians and psychologists (and other professionals in the mental health field), offer their own analyses on the why, where, what, whom, and how of the matter at hand, intercut with the many testimonials.

But thinking about it further, I actually won't say that there's any "blame" dished out. I would instead say that how you receive the film, particularly the individual real-life stories, will depend on your stance on shadeism/colorism, and just where you believe the "fault" lies. And I'd expect some might immediately get on the defensive, after seeing/hearing themselves described as, we could say, "enforcers" of the problem - essentially, like a mirror being held up.

And no matter how aware, thoughtful and progressive you might think you are, you'll be surprised to realize just how deep your/our own prejudices are, and where they are rooted; where your/our own standards of beauty come from (both men and women), and why we make the choices that we currently do.

So I won't be surprised if it's, for some, a moment of self-discovery - a revelation which might lead to your own tackling of your own prejudices, head-on. And even if you aren't able to completely be rid of them, you'd at least now be aware that they exist, which might then influence the choices you make, after seeing the film.

And even if you don't reach some form of self-realization, you will (hopefully) come to understand just how deep some of the wounds really are.

You could think of it as an extended, and necessary *family* therapy session.

Directors Bill Duke and D. Channsin Berry smartly keep the film's running time relatively short to just 75 minutes; I say that because of the weight of the subject matter and its unfiltered delivery. Even the most compassionate might start to feel overwhelmed after a period of time. But, again, consider it part of an ongoing conversation - a 75-minute chat with family, broadly-speaking, on a deeply-rooted issue that affects us all.

The hope I'm sure is that the conversation doesn't end once the film ends, but that it continues, and that the post-screening conversation is just as honest and raw, as the declarations made within the film. As Duke himself said in an interview, what he expects to come from this is "to create a discussion, because in discussion there’s healing, and in silence there is suffering. Somehow if you can speak it and get it out, healing starts."

Indeed.

Look for a follow-up to the film that will look at the colorism issue from the other POV - the other POV being that of the fairer-skinned black girl/woman.

It's now available on DVD in September.

This article is related to: Bill Duke, D. Channsin Berry, New On DVD


Shadow & ActNewsletter