Rise Women Rise: Dianna

Guest Story by Dianna

As the doors to the yellow bus open I had to mentally prepare myself for the 45 min of teasing and taunting by the lighter skinned kids that rode the same school bus with me every morning, for some reason they felt, that just because I was a different shade of color, I was the one that was strange , I was what our African American race called “Dark Skinned” the darker you are or were the more you were teased.

As I began walking down the aisle, looking for a friendly face that would invite me to sit down next to them, none, not one, wanted me to sit near them. Even the overweight kids were scared to let me sit by them for fear that they would get teased to.
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Rise Women Rise: Monique

Guest Story by Monique

I felt ugly and not beautiful for most of my childhood I just was not very pretty or so I was told by my family. I would hear stories about how I was so dark as a baby and had huge eyes and my mother would say how weird I looked as a baby.

I would hear things about how my sisters hair was so pretty cause mine was coarse and would not grow, I was just your ordinary black as charcoal girl.

No boys ever liked me or even noticed that I existed, until I got older and started to develope and then a whole new world came about I was sexy, I was told my men(boys) and I started to feel better about myself until I realized I was just the same old black as tar girl but now, I was someone men wanted to sleep with not marry.

This all came to an head when I met my sons father at twenty, by this time I was comfortable with my new sexy title even though it was just relegating me to an object, but it was better than not being noticed at all. He came along and I loved him and he said he loved me, but I never met his family because he would tell me how they had issues with him dating dark skinned girls.

His family was from Louisiana and they thought he should be with someone who was light skinned, so we dated for two years and I never met any of them. I was comfortable being his hidden love; as long as I was loved. Then I got pregnant he was happy, but even then I did not meet his family until I was eight months. I remember the first day I met his mom and grandmother they looked at me like I was an alien and barely said two words to me. Even though this happened we stayed together for many years.

He would tell me the stuff his family would say like me and him shouldn’t be together cause I needed to stay with my kind and he shoud stay with his. I remember being pregnant and wishing my son didn’t come out dark skinned. I wished for that, its hard to admitt it now but its true, I thought people would accept my baby if he was not dark skinned.

It was the most painful time for me cause, I had to face the facts of my color and look back over all my life and say that I had accepted being treated this way from family and people who were suppose to love me, cause I didn’t love me. I am now 31 years old and of course my son’s father and I didn’t make it and its taken all of these years for me to say No more, to accept my skin and my hair and me in totality. Even if I don’t get any validation from others I have grown to a place were I can validate myself.

I love my natural hair, I love my skin and I love my mind and I don’t make any apologize for that anymore. I am just so pleased that this movie is being made given little girls like me a voice that we would not other wise have, given us all a chance to acknowledge that this happened and is still happening. I keep hearing many people talk about problem as a preference and not really even a issue.

I read a post where someone quoted King’s speech” Its not the color of your skin but the content of your character” everyone jumps, screams and amens when that is in reference to how whites judged blacks because of the color of thier skin, but when it comes to blacks judging other blacks, then no one notices the preference that people keep pushing and talking about today is the same thing, judging someone based on the color of there skin and thats no preference to me.

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The Dark Girls Movie- Rise  Women Rise Campaign seeks to share their stories of healing, empowerment, and triumph. We know this issue goes beyond the United States and Black people. This is for ALL women from around the world. If you have a written story or video, please submit here.

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World Premiere of Dark Girls Movie in Toronto at TIFF

We are proud to announce that the Dark Girls movie will be making our world premiere at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival in September!

There is lots of work to do to get ready in time. Check back here to follow our journey to Canada.  Are you Excited?????

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New Video Story: Rise Women Rise

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The Dark Girls Movie- Rise  Women Rise Campaign seeks to share their stories of healing, empowerment, and triumph. We know this issue goes beyond the United States and Black people. This is for ALL women from around the world. If you have a written story or video, please submit here.

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Rise Women Rise: Rosetta

Guest Story by Rosetta

The dark skin vs. light skin controversy became perceptible to my consciousness in my 6th grade elementary class.

The boys in the class were passing around a list of all the pretty girls in classroom. Each boy would survey the room then check off which pretty girl made the list. I noticed some of the boys looked at me and shook their heads no. I was crushed!

Thank GOD for James, not only was he the bully of the classroom, but he said, “She is pretty but, she is dark.” Nonetheless, I made the list of pretty girls. However, that demeaning, hateful quote stuck in my head and I have heard “she is pretty but, she is dark” ALL my life. What ever happen to James? You know how that story ended…he married a light skin woman. Thank you both for finally bringing the bias of the dark skin woman within the African-American community to the forefront.

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The Dark Girls Movie- Rise  Women Rise Campaign seeks to share their stories of healing, empowerment, and triumph. We know this issue goes beyond the United States and Black people. This is for ALL women from around the world. If you have a written story or video, please submit here.

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Rise Women Rise: Leona

Guest Story by Leona

My story is pretty much like most Dark Skinned women, I was made fun of, talked about with black jokes, “you so black, you went to night school and was marked absent every night”; but I’m not here to talk about how I cried, how bad is was being Black because that’s what we hear all the time; that’s why we remain is this category of slavery mantality, because we continue to re-hash all of it on a constant basis and haven’t gotten anywhere.

There was a study done in 1947 with a Black doll and White doll about which was the prettiest and smartest and it was the White doll, that same study was done a few years ago with the same results – nothing has changed.

I’m a Psychotherapist and have always wanted to help Black women, with their self-esteem issue that came from slavery. We should all be sick of seeing Black women crying, calling “Oh Lord”. A fool is a person who constantly does the same thing expecting a different result. I would love to give you some of my idea’s for a movie, something that can bring about effective results other than more agony about the pain of being black.

Recently Chris Rock hit the issue of good hair, there was a lot of controversy about the Psychologist who had written about how Black Women are less attractive in Psychology Today and all it has done is continue to dig in the wound of being dark skinned with nappy hair. I’m ready to do a little bit of role reversal, we don’t need another sad story but and inspiring story one that will go to the heart and show the beauty of dark skinned women.

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The Dark Girls Movie- Rise  Women Rise Campaign seeks to share their stories of healing, empowerment, and triumph. We know this issue goes beyond the United States and Black people. This is for ALL women from around the world. If you have a written story or video, please submit here.

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Rise Women Rise: Kierra

Guest Story by Kierra

It took me 16 years to realize that my black was beautiful. I have embraced the fact that indeed my black was BEAUTIFUL for almost four years now. This skin I was in for so many years determined my self worth and esteem. I had so many factors “against” me in my mind– I was a tall, lanky, dark skinned girl with a gap tooth smile and a head full a kinky curly hair. Growing up, the only role model that I had was my mother, a beautiful brown and deep complexion. Its amazing how I could find beauty in my mothers complexion but not my own.

One of the most prominent memories of my childhood is that dreaded phrase “Ohhhh, she is so cute for a dark skinned little girl”. People spoke as if I wasn’t in the room, as if I couldn’t hear– that phrase still haunts me to this day. From a young age, I felt the stigma that my black wasn’t good enough; I buried myself in books to stay away from the mirror. I knew that my education would and could take me further than my looks. It wasn’t until I got to college at age 16 that I officially decided to fix my deep rooted issue fixated within my deep complexion.

I stopped watching TV, immersed myself in images of black people and was happy with my decision to matriculate at a HBCU ( Coppin State University ). I came to a breaking point– I had, for 16 years, been brainwashed to subscribe to the European standaard of beauty. I no longer accept this standard, because I set my own. My black is beautiful– from the fullness of my lips, the wideness of nose, the intensity of my eyes and the hue of my complexion. And anyone that doesn’t like it…well….too bad. Its here to stay, I refuse to conform to their standard of beauty and they can set their sights elsewhere. PS. There are plenty of beautiful dark skinned women– too bad our men have their heads turned so poignantly to the fair skinned woman that they don’t even notice.

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The Dark Girls Movie- Rise  Women Rise Campaign seeks to share their stories of healing, empowerment, and triumph. We know this issue goes beyond the United States and Black people. This is for ALL women from around the world. If you have a written story or video, please submit here.

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Rise Women Rise: Francie

Guest Story by Francie

We called it ‘ring around the collar’: At college parties, it was that moment when you could clearly see black men with light-skinned black women dancing in the middle of the room, and dark women, like me, left to form a ring along the edges of the wall. Naturally, we joked about it. We trivialized it. We looked down on the boys who fueled it. But as stark as that color line was, we rarely talked about how much it hurt.

I never talked about how that ring in the room brought back memories: memories of Duck, Duck Goose, the circle game I never wanted to play at my all-white nursery school. It wasn’t so much the feeling I got from that game, but the lack of feeling — when boys and girls would pat each other’s heads, then pause and hover over mine, not wanting to lay their hands on that woolly, unfamiliar texture.

There was also the memory of shade under trees, and the strong suggestion by my grandmother in Haiti that, with all that island heat, and the sun’s power to make me even darker, I should really stay under cover. I remember those visits vividly. I don’t condone her thinking, of course, but all these years later, I can understand it: Light-skinned herself, and knowing all the advantages it had given her, my grandmother wanted to give me just that little bit of color edge. She wasn’t trying to turn me inside out, turn me against myself. Even though that is exactly what happened.

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The Dark Girls Movie- Rise  Women Rise Campaign seeks to share their stories of healing, empowerment, and triumph. We know this issue goes beyond the United States and Black people. This is for ALL women from around the world. If you have a written story or video, please submit here.

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Rise Women Rise- A Male Perspective: Khephra Burns

Letter to Bill Duke from Khephra Burns

Khephra Burns’ body of work includes several acclaimed books, as well as works for public and commercial television, for magazines, and for the stage. He also contributes to several monthly publication including Essence Magazine, Art & Auction and the Boule Journal.

Bill,
Thank you for Dark Girls. I just watched a promo online with my wife, Susan Taylor. This is long overdue. I have hated and resented my whole life being singled out by our folk as handsome because I was lighter skinned. I hated the implied message that my friends were less so because they were darker. But most of all I hated the pain black men cause black women with this ignorance. I thought for a brief moment we had gotten past this in the sixties. But here we are in the 2011 watching hip hoppers in music videos surround themselves with light-bright-damn-near-white women. And my heart aches for all the beautiful, intelligent, talented dark girls Susan and I know who can’t even get a date because niggahs are fawning over Hispanic, Asian and white women, especially if the men (boys?) have any money or notoriety.

Several years ago I spoke at the Yale Club in New York about the pervasive culture of lies that has permeated every aspect of our lives. What I said in part was that despite the growing diversity of representation in media, the standard of feminine beauty in America remains narrowly European, in part because black folk – primarily black men – have bought into it. As any dark-skin, single young woman can tell you, her prospects for a committed, meaningful relationship are, sadly, better outside the race than within it. Our own black-owned media tell the tale, not only reflecting our self-hatred, but perpetuating it as well: Try to recall ever seeing a black couple in a sitcom, drama or music video in which the wife, girlfriend or love interest was darker than her leading man. It doesn’t happen.
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Rise Women Rise: Tiffany

Guest Story by Tiffany

My deep brown skinned daughter doesn’t know anything else but she is beautiful. I just don’t understand this concept I’m glad this movie was made because it will give me lots of insight on this type of thinking so that my own baby never ever thinks or feels like this.

Maybe its my not understanding that makes me feel like its just as simple as people just don’t want to be black. I really don’t know or have the same experiences as a brown skinned person I guess. My daughter has brown skin and she is gorgeous absolutely beautiful and if she was lighter skinned she still be just as beautiful as she is with brown skin. if we wanna talk about this type of complex with darker skinned women we should broaden the scope because within each race there are darker skinned people. In the hispanic culture there are darker skinned hispanics, Dominicans, Cubans, Mexicans, Italians, American, Indian- I mean every group of people all comes in all different shades and I think it’s really only our race that has such an issue with dark there are a lot of people that really just don’t want to embrace black or any type of ethnicity. I am happy that Bill Duke did address this. It will give me a better outlet to address this issue with my 10 year old daughter because what I don’t want is for her to grow up and feel like she’s not as pretty or she’s not pretty because her skin is brown because that’s 1 of the most beautiful features about her I don’t want her to hate and not embrace that because it opens up a lot of doors for self hatred that I don’t want to open she is beautiful dark brown skin and all deep brown eyes high beautiful cheek bones and the thing I’m most proud of is how smart she is.
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