Curious, but skeptical, I decided to turn to the OWN network on Monday night and watch the premiere of Bill Duke’s second documentary on colorism Light Girls, a follow up to Dark Girls—which explored the marginalization and ridicule darker complexioned Black women face.
Light Girls continued the ongoing discussion about intraracial discrimination and presented personal anecdotes from more than 200 people on the opposite (most preferred) end of the complexion panorama; interviews with lighter- skinned Black and biracial (half-Black) women, including TV journalist Soledad O’Brien, actress Raven-Symoné, glamour model Amber Rose, and “image activist” Michaela Angela Davis, among others
Since intraracial discussions about colorism—much like discussions between Black and white people about racism—seem to breed denial, cognitive dissonance and sow the seeds of discontent, I was reluctant about tuning in. Alas, curiosity got the upper hand and I had already watched Dark Girls, so I thought it only fitting that I check it out. I decided to table Sleepy Hollow until later and dove in, not knowing what to expect. Needless to say, there were several moments during the course of watching Light Girls that made me heavy-sigh in frustration.
Much like the first installment, Light Girls mostly grazed the surface of a very multilayered and often contentious issue, and focused on the more superficial arguments surrounding colorism; which is often the case with documentaries--often produced and directed by men--exploring Black female body and beauty politics (see: Chris Rock's Good Hair).