With her short film, Francesca Andre intends to spark a grand conversation about Colorism.

The contentious topic, Colorism continues to permeate the African-American community. Andre’s film Charcoal is about two African-American women and their journey with overcoming internalized colorism.

And the story is one that Andre can personally relate to.

Charcoal has appeared in a number of film festivals, having earned various awards such as the Visionary Award present at the 2017 Crystal Ship Mini Indie Film Festival and the Best Short Film at the Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival.

“The Black community is huge. It’s not only African Americans —there are so many other components and people from the African Diaspora. However, one thing is clear: We don’t talk enough about healing, collective healing,” Andre told Essence. “We have internalized so much toxic stuff that it takes a conscious effort to deprogram and recondition ourselves. Colorism is not dormant.. people are still being defined by their skin tone and hair texture.”

Charcoal brings to light many of the ideas about Colorism and skin tone that are regularly passed down in Black families (and beyond). Despite the #melaninpoppin and #blackgirlmagic hashtag movements meant to uplift all shades of Blackness, but accord to Andre, there’s still work to be done.

“The celebration of our Blackness is viewed as a movement and often perceived as political. Blackness, being proud of our Blackness makes this world uncomfortable,” she said. “It’s shocking to me that loving yourself as you were created can be viewed as being political. It goes against the oppressive system that was created to destroy everything that makes you, you.”

You can catch the film at St John’s University, Manhattan Campus on February 9 as part of Citizen in pictures and at BAM on March 14 as part of the through her eyes : Contemporary shorts by women of color -identify. Both events are curated by Michelle Materre from Creatively Speaking. For more information please visit https://www.creativelyspeaking.tv/new-events.

Check out the trailer for Charcoal below.