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Real Life: Reaction to Light Girls Documentary

Nice try, good effort.

But I think you lost me halfway through...



Light Girls debuted on OWN on MLK Day (January 19, 2015).
And because it did, at one point #lightgirls was the #1 trending hashtag on twitter. 

"Light Girls", directed by , was the sequel to "Dark Girls."
On it's face, you'd imagine some emotional stuff here. And for the most part, the films went "there." They, at least, got people talking about stuff that is usually too hurtful to discuss...sometimes, even with your own sister or mother.

"Light Girls" gave voice to black actresses and media personalities, some professionals and experts about the history and personal stories dealing with colorism.  
Definition: Colorism is a practice of discrimination by which those with lighter skin are treated more favorably than those with darker skin. In the African-American community, this traditionally played out via the paper bag test. Those lighter than the standard paper lunch bag were allowed entry into fraternities, sororities and other realms of black upper class life, while dark-skinned blacks were excluded. The Spike Lee film “School Daze” is an exploration of colorism.
*H/T: About.com
I appreciate all that was said, and every perspective (even those I straight up thought were stupid); but as a journalist, I do appreciate every voice. Others have criticized different things that were said, but that is one of the things you have to accept when you tell stories. (Ask a question...you have to accept what answer is given. Their answer is their answer.) So, yes, even the extended conversation with the men, which was annoying, still had it's place. (I just would have shortened it.)

My biggest criticism was that the film was unorganized and redundant.
It started off strong enough with themes like "history" and "media". But then, for a good portion, it jumped to many talking points like a ping pong ball. Also, in doing so, it was redundant in revisiting topics that were already discussed. A journalist needed to come on board and tighten it up. I know because this is what I do! For example, they talked about the influence of media twice!

On top of that, the redundancy extended beyond this film, as it was supposed to be a sequel. When you do a follow-up you are "requiring" or "assuming" that your audience to has seen the first edition. With that, there is no need to go into depth about topics discussed in chapter one. With a sequel you have the advantage of moving forward and deeper with the story.


But, that was my biggest gripe: it just wasn't good storytelling.

My biggest takeaway, however, was the seemingly overall lack of sympathy toward light skinned girls...which I have a handle on why that is. No one is really crying for the "poor, little, pretty girl." Her pain is real and valid, but I think those of darker hues will argue her struggle of "not knowing where to fit in" is a better option than the message of "you just don't or ever will fit in." Having this conversation before, I've observed that dark girls, from all over the world, overwhelmingly get a sense that they are invisible. Some have told me "pushed aside", "overlooked", and "ignored." It is more than rejection...from your race. It is rejection from seemingly everyone.
And that IS a different rejection. For many lighter hued women, they figure out how to use their "beigeness" towards their advantage: sexually or even getting a job. For many darker toned ladies, they never are offered a chance to grow into that.

For what it's worth, I don't think the conversation is in vain. But I also don't think you cover all the ground of this deeply embedded socialization with four hours of documentary footage. 

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2 comments :

  1. Thanks for your perspective. I always love it!

    ReplyDelete

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