Despite all of our advancements, black women still face incredible obstacles when it comes to complexion. The color complex that has plagued us since the days of slavery still thrives in the 21st century, prohibiting that unity and sisterhood which is such a founding block of African culture.

Bill Duke has directed a new documentary named ‘Dark Girls’ which brings to light the prejudice that some darker skinned women have faced as a result of their complexion. The stories are heartbreaking and astonishing to hear in 2011, showing us that racism and colorism have not changed and unfortunately are still alive and well.

In one of the most touching interviews, a young black woman said, “I used to wish I could wake up one day lighter. Or wash my face and think that it would change. I thought it was dirt and I tried to clean it off, but it wouldn’t come off.” A little black girl was asked to pick out the ugly and stupid girls out of a selection of girls from white to black and she picked the darkest. Another woman also discussed the idea that her friend rejoiced upon seeing that her baby had not turned out to have a darker complexion. All of these stories are just sad cases of the constant prejudice and hardships that black women suffer due to their complexion in a day and age when our president is black and when we hold esteemed positions at hugely successful companies all around the world.

One story that resonated with me particularly was a young black girl discussing the natural hair and her opinion being that it was “dirty and nappy”. Having natural hair and wearing it out has often lead to stares and comments in my personal life and even the question of, “So how long is this going to last?” as if wearing my hair the way it naturally grows from my scalp is something that I shouldn’t embrace. Black power fists have been thrown up and all kinds of ridiculous other things, just showing that even the idea of “going natural” is still met with skepticism instead of treated as just a personal hair preference.

See the documentary trailer below.


What do you think of the new ‘Dark Girls’ documentary? Will you be seeing it? Why is the color complex still an issue? What can we do to change it?

-Faith Cummings

Photo Credit: Seth Sabal

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