d. channsin berry

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Dark Girls is a 2012 documentary film by American filmmakers Bill Duke and D. Channsin Berry. It documents colorism based on skin tone among African Americans, a subject still considered taboo by many black Americans. The film contains interviews with notable African Americans including Viola Davis. It also reports on a new version of the 1940s black doll experiment by Kenneth and Mamie Clark, which proved that black children had internalized racism by having children select a white or a black doll (they typically chose white) based on questions asked. In the updated version, black children favored light-skinned dolls over dark-skinned dolls. Dark Girls explores the many struggles, including self-esteem issues, which women of darker skin face allowing women of all ages recount “the damage done to their self-esteem and their constant feeling of being devalued and disregarded.”

vimeo

Has anything really changed since the days of American slavery when dark-skinned Blacks were made to suffer even greater indignities than their lighter skinned counterparts? Ask today’s dark Black woman.

Dual documentary Directors/Producers D. Channsin Berry (Urban Winter Entertainment) and Bill Duke (Duke Media) took their cameras into everyday America in search of pointed, unfiltered and penetrating interviews with Black women of the darkest hues for their emotional expose’, “Dark Girls”. Two years in the making and slated to premier at the Toronto International Film Festival, “Dark Girls” pulls back our country’s curtain to reveal that the deep seated biases and hatreds of racism – within and outside of the Black American culture – remain bitterly entrenched.

Berry states of the film’s origin, “When Bill called me with the idea of a documentary about dark-skinned women, I was in right away. Being a dark-skinned Black man, like Bill, I have gone through similar traumas. Being separated and discriminated against by our own people. It stifles your self-esteem. Bill and I shared our similar experiences and immediately understood that we knew the best way to approach this.”

Duke adds, “In the late `60s a famous psychological study was done in which a young Black girl was presented with a set of dolls. Every time the she was asked to point to the one that wasn’t pretty, not smart, etc., she pointed to the Black doll that looked just like her. In her mind, she was already indoctrinated. To watch her do that was heartbreaking and infuriating. CNN did the test again recently – decades later – with little progress. As the filmmakers behind ‘Dark Girls,’ our goal is to take that little girl’s finger off that doll.”

Dark-skinned Black American women from all walks of life will be covered with a key focus trained tightly upon women struggling for upward mobility in the workplace of Corporate America. “The sickness is so crazy,” Berry continues. “These ladies broke it down to the degree that dark-skinned ‘sistas’ with ‘good’ hair vs. dark-skinned women with ‘kinky’ hair were given edges when it came time for coveted promotions.” Additional interviewees for “Dark Girls” include White men in loving intimate relationships with Black women that were passed over by “their own men,” as well as dark-skinned women of Latin and Panamanian background to bring a world perspective to the issue of dark vs. light.

Berry concludes, “The skin issue is a discussion we all need to have once and for all…so we can eradicate it.”

vimeo

The upcoming documentary, “Dark Girls”, directed by Bill Duke and D. Channsin Berry, explores the deep-seated biases and attitudes about skin color—particularly dark skinned women, outside of and within the Black American culture.