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Variety's Power Of Women: New York 2016

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The conversation on colorism has so many different layers that it becomes exhausting to try and breakdown for the willfully ignorant. Colorism is a direct result of slavery and its effects trickle down in pretty much every area of human life, from the workplace to entertainment industry — especially when it comes to women. Statistics even show that darker skin women receive harsher prison sentences than their lighter-skinned counterparts.


The worst part about the systemic disease is that poisons, obliterates and deteriorates the self-esteem of young, Black girls, who are ultimately the future of the human race. Media shows us that if you’re a dark skin girl, there’s no way you can play the soft, pretty love interest. To them, and most of America, the only roles fit for highly pigmented Black women are that of slaves and maids.

When they need a Black girl to play in a predominantly White film, Hollywood execs go straight to the Zendayas and Amandla Stenbergs. Hell, they even let our dark queen Nina Simone be played by fair skin, dominican actress Zoe Saldana. What’s interesting though is that then it comes to making films about slavery, casting directors have no problem finding and hiring dark skin actresses.

Don’t get me wrong, we love all the Zendaya’s and Alexandra Shipps, and all shades of Black are beautiful — but it’s time we show young, darker skin Black girls that they’re story is much deeper and richer than slavery. Show them that they’re deserving of the love, attention and praise that their lighter skin counterparts receive in every facet of human life.

Be honest, besides Lupita, how many dark skin actresses can you name from the younger generation? And even Lupita wouldn’t be considered young Hollywood. I’m talking Marsai Martin’s class.

And for those who think dark skin Black women are just nagging and complaining, take a moment to look back at how we’re represented in movies that are seen across the globe. It’s not that we’re bitter or angry. Quite the contrary actually. We’re proud of our sisters like Cynthia Erivo who scored the role of Harriet Tubman, one of the most powerful women in the history of women. But we are revolting against the harsh reality that Hollywood is still uncomfortable showcasing dark skin women on the big screen, unless they’re running from Massa or cleaning up behind his family.

Ladies and gents, we must do better. For our little Black girls. Hit me up on Twitter @Misskiyonna to share your thoughts.

Do Better, Hollywood: Dark Skin Actresses Aren’t Just Slaves & Maids   was originally published on