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Kierra Stanley

on 22 April 2014

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Transcript of Colorism

Impact on Black Women and Girls
Desire to alter physical appearance
Devaluation of dark skin and hair
skin bleaching
hair treatment
The pressures to conform to whiteness?...
Skin Bleaching
When black girls look to black celebrities as role models, what
do they see?


•Began with the enslavement
of Africans

•Racial mixing, or miscegenation
created new class of individuals

•Skin color often played a role in the work
designated to the individual

•Even within black community
lighter skin was more valued


•There have been some movements against
colorism within the black community

◦Say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud - James Brown (1968)

◦Keep Ya Head Up - 2Pac (1993)

•Yet, over time colorism has tended to prevail in the media and the everyday life of blacks

Andrew, Lawrence, Danielle, Kierra, Laetitia
Hair Treatment
Reactions to Beyoncé...
"Beyoncé I saw your L'Oreal commercial...You should be ashamed of yourself!! We are Black people and we have to do everything we can to make African heritage a symbol of pride."
"All those young Black girls out there that saw you as a symbol of Black pride now will feel they have to be more than just Black because Black just ain't good enough."
Perceptions of Beauty in the Media

Can a Camera be Racist?

•Early color film predicated on

•Narrow light range mixed with

•Historical uses:
–South Africa’s apartheid regime
–American photography industry

•But what about the effects on furniture and candy? Oh, the humanity!
Black Models in the Fashion Industry

•White is the new white

•But who is to blame?

–Editors, designers,
and casting directors

“We respond to our

•Tokenism to avoid trouble

•Joan Smalls and the white standard

Be White or Be Unique
•Successful black models
–Fit white standard
–“Unique” features
–Be exceptional

•How high can the bar go?
–ANTM: Yaya DaCosta

Success in TV Land

Sell your respect or
settle for less?
"So what? Plenty of white, black, Asian, European, etc. models have touch ups done to their pictures...so because they lightened her complexion she's a self hating Black woman?"
"Do any of you have the slightest idea of what she's using?? I just have to get it...I badly wanna get a lighter even skintone."
But the actual outcome isn't so pretty
I wonder if the world (including hubby) would be so entranced with her if she indeed was dark-skinned. Dip Halle, Kim K, Tyra and all the rest in chocolate and watch all the men run in the opposite direction!"
Describe her in 1 Word
Thought Question
Is Beyoncé more of a role model for dark skin girls or light skin girls? Or does it not matter?
Nicki Minaj
"As she got more famous...you could start to see how her face slowly changed. The makeup...seemed designed to completely foundation-ize her face into becoming two color tones lighter. It also seemed to contour her nose to appear thinner..."
"It is a calculated effort to make her look less "ethnically black."
"The truth is, in the entertainment business, the closer you are to the European ideal, the greater your success."
"The more racially ambiguous you are, the more comfortable the mainstream (i.e. whites) are in accepting you and exalting you as fabulous."
Nicki Minaj
Freida Pinto
"One disturbing notion prevalent throughout India that light skin is more attractive than dark."
NOT Just Happening to Black Celebrities
Thought Question:
Is there a universal standard of beauty?

Beauty “Whitewash”

Stereotypes of Black Women in TV

- Media negatively depicts black
women in films and television
through stereotypical roles

Common stereotypes:
Angry black women

Thought Questions:

Is there ever a circumstance where skin bleaching is okay? What about tanning?

Are these forms of hair treatment really
strives for Eurocentric beauty or part of
Black culture?

What should be done to
remedy the effects of
colorism in the Black
Community? Is there a
possible solution that
appeases both sides?
Women of all complexions being lightened in mass media

Perpetuated by everyone that plays into it and allows it to happen
Celebrities reinforce
light skin=beautiful
through skin bleaching, lighter makeup, etc.

Pressured into this "White-Washed" look because "
being beautiful"=power, money & fame
Society continues to uphold and enforce lighter skin as the standard for beauty

Women desire and seek methods to achieve this ideal because that is what the media displays to them and Black celebrities portray as "A beautiful Black woman"
Thought Question:

Is the role of the media to properly represent the diversity of America? Or is capitalism the justification for the predominance of Eurocentric images of beauty?
Full transcript