Needed or Nah? Light Girls

After fostering some watercooler conversation with “Dark Girls,” director Bill Duke went back to the colorism well with “Light Girls,” a documentary that aired on Jan. 19 on OWN.  The show featured interviews with Soledad O’Brien, Raven-Symone and Amber Rose to name a few.

And though social media was aflutter with conversation about the special, quite a bit of the feedback appeared to be outrage in response to some of the subjects decrying being so “beautiful” and harassed. Side eyes also went out to  a group of male interviewees who spoke about how lighter women are essentially trophies in the world of dating.

Um, yeah, they tried it.


In my opinion, many excellent points were made about the origins of colorism, including why some Blacks saw “passing” as a survival technique, not necessarily a purely aesthetic advantage over their darker counterparts. It was also interesting to get perspective on Japanese, Chinese and Indian women who also combat perceptions that the darker you are, the lower you are on the desirability scale.  Dark skin, for some, is associated with a laborer who is bronzed from being in the sun.

Fairer women and men are looked upon as elegant, cultured and better educated, hence the obsession with skin whiteners and lighteners across the globe. There was also an interesting moment during which a White man confessed he didn’t necessarily know the difference between light and dark women.

However, the special also trotted out tired tropes, including those Black men who so proudly copped to desiring lighter-skinned women and/or insulted their chocolate-hued peers by suggesting the latter group is more eager to please and less demanding. Comedian Talent (who kind of came out of nowhere) explains how a light-skinned woman would not leave the movie theater to get her man popcorn if he asked, meanwhile a darker date would not only get the desired kernels but a soda and candy on the side. Yeah, right. Twitter was not having that, and still others questioned the reason for the special at all, seeing as how light skin (across races) is generally treated as a privilege.

But what did you think?  Did you watch the show?  If so, vote in our poll and let us know your opinion.