In this emotional and heartfelt documentary, directors Bill Duke and D. Channsin Berry set out to examine why skin-colour bias persists among people of African descent, and how it affects the lives of women on the receiving end.
A Feature documentary by Bill Duke and D. Channsin BerryPROGRAMMER'S NOTE (Toronto 2011)
It seems beyond comprehension that a child would ask her mother to put bleach in the bathwater to lighten her skin. Yet this is a reality for countless members of the African diaspora. For many black women - who, like all women, are often judged by their physical appearance - being dark-skinned can become their defining characteristic.
Directors Bill Duke and D. Channsin Berry set out to examine why skin-colour bias persists and how it affects the lives of women on its receiving end. This is a documentary of testimony. In emotional, heartfelt interviews, women tell stories of being judged inferior, less attractive and even less intelligent because of their dark skin. They tell of black men passing them over in favour of lighter-skinned women. They also speak of judging one another based on skin colour, and of how it feels to internalize racism that dates back to the Atlantic slave trade, but has been left to fester for generations. Duke and Berry - both dark-skinned themselves - include a famous child psychology test in which young girls are asked to rate the characteristics of a series of dolls according to skin shade. The results are disheartening.
Skin-colour bias is, of course, not limited to people of African descent - the popularity of skin bleaching products throughout Asia attests to this. As a result, Dark Girls takes
on a broader reach. It can't correct centuries of deeply held beliefs, nor can it heal every woman who has been demeaned or ignored because her skin is darker than most others. What it can do - and what it does so powerfully - is share the feelings of frustration and disbelief at one of our most absurd practices.Cameron Bailey (TIFF 2011)
Runtime: 75 minutes
Directed by Bill Duke & D. Channsin Berry;
Produced by Bill Duke & D. Channsin Berry;
Co-Produced by Bradinn French;
Line Produced by Cheryl L. Bedford
Production Company: Duke Media/Urban Winter Entertainment
Cinematographer: Johnny Simmons
Editor: Bradinn French
Sound: Chris Howland
Twitter : @DarkGirls_Movie
2011 | 36tH TIFF - Toronto Intl FilmFest, Canada
* World Premiere