It was about a week ago that my friend Melanie of ModernMami posted this video, a preview of the upcoming documentary, Dark Girls, on the MyBrownBaby Facebook Fan Page with this message: This was tough to watch and almost made me cry, but I’m glad it’s out there. I admit I let the video sit unwatched, haunting me like a boogey man from a life past, with sickle and Freddy Krueger razor fingers ready to slash a hole through my psyche. Through my battle-scarred heart.
It’s been a long time since I really thought good and hard about the reactions my chocolate skin inspired in folk—all of the evil comments people would make to my face, behind my back. The rejection that seemed to skip hand-in-hand with my complexion too dark, even, for my own kind. Sometimes, even, for my own family. I wasn’t ready to dig all of that up to unpack it and lay it out on the table and pick over it and hold it up to the light.
Still, I pressed play.
And somewhere around the part where the one sister recalls how her own mother handed her a backhanded compliment by saying she would be really beautiful if she were light skinned, I lost it. Cried a hard, ugly, gut cry that took some time to recede back to the dark place I’d long hid it.
Something told me this would hurt.
More than I was ready to handle early on a Tuesday morning.
But I present the preview for Dark Girls, directed by Bill Duke and scheduled to be released in the Fall, here on MyBrownBaby because it is necessary to do so. Because even as black girl beauty continues to be attacked at every turn by others outside the race, we need to have the conversation with our own daughters and our sons and our men and our friends and, even, ourselves about the madness we African Americans lay on brown-skinned folk. To get us all on the same page with this simple message: Black, in all its many manifestations—from milk white to Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate and every hue in between—is beautiful, and attacking children and adults, alike, for falling into the latter of the categories is not only asinine, but incredibly traumatic.
Have that conversation then maybe, just maybe, the trauma that is being addressed in this piece—the trauma that, to this day, haunts me—will just, like, stop.
[To get updates on the documentary and events leading up to the release of Dark Girls, “like” the Dark Girls Facebook Page here.]
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.