Filmmakers Explore Prejudice Toward Dark-Skinned Women Within Black Community

Ralf Nau

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first?

Duke:    Well, our hope is that it will be in some theaters around the country with a substantial release and that it will have a television presence. It will have a Netflix presence. It will have a DVD presence and it’s going to be hopefully supported by organizations like colleges, churches, sororities and fraternities. We’ve already been invited to work with Tom Burrell, who wrote a brilliant book called Brainwashed. Some of his colleagues are going to partner with us and we’re going to be touring different parts of the country and holding forums that are going to be addressing this. We’re doing a book, a coffee-table book, an album, and we hope to do a cell phone application also. We’re trying to put a nonprofit together through which part of the profits of this film will go toward organizations that are addressing this issue on an ongoing basis. In other words, we want this to be addressed long after we’re off this planet. We want this to be addressed from educational institutions to churches, whereever we can get the message in. We want it to be addressed in the future.

EBONY: Have you gotten push from people in the industry as well? Are any women in the industry, like actresses or singers, in the movie who speak of the difficulties that they’ve had, not only being females, but also women who don’t look a certain way?

Berry: We do have a superstar, who’s a friend of ours. She has come in and done interviews, and she’ll be a part of it, Viola Davis. The comedienne/actress Anna Maria Horsford speaks on part of it, too.

Duke:    And just yesterday, the dark skinned [said] Vanessa Williams wanted to be a part of it. We have some other people with [famous] names coming on board, too.

EBONY: So will you do something later that addresses the woes of dark-skinned men?

Berry:    That’s one of the reasons why we did it, because Bill and I had the issues when we were growing up. It was easy for us when Bill came up with the concept. We both had the same pains of growing up being dark-skinned men. We don’t have it to the level that women have it because there’s beauty, fashion and make-up  attached to that. We, of course, being men don’t have that.

EBONY: What do you want people to take away?

Duke: There are a couple of things. One, that little girl who has her finger, that little dark, beautiful finger in that picture, when they say, “Who’s the dumb doll?,” and “Which is the ugly doll?,” she points to the doll the same color of her finger. We want to lift her finger from that picture. We want her to realize that not only are those other dolls beautiful, but so is she. The next thing we want people to understand and take away is that God does not make mistakes. You’re a child of God. You were created in the image you’re created and that there’s nothing wrong with you. If you choose to wear makeup, if you choose to wear extensions, if you choose whatever you want to do and that choice is based upon an aesthetic decision that you make, not based upon the fact that you’re less, but you just wanted to do that, that’s no problem with that. But changing because you’re not good enough, we’re trying to make people understand that they are good enough.

Berry:    We want a healing for women, not just women of color, dark women. Because we believe all women are dark at some point at their lives, with some particular thing and we just want a healing. I’ll end it with this, Bill and I think this and believe this: Until women are healed, men cannot be healed. The two things that give us life are women and the earth, and we have destroyed damn-near both of them. The things that give us life we’ve damn-near destroyed. So until earth is healed, until women are healed, no one will be healed.