Saturday, October 8, 2011

Nashville Hosts Dark Girls Debut

Actor Bill Duke's directing career began in the early 1980's on the TV screen. Via episodes of shows such as Flamingo Road, Falcon Crest and Dallas, he contributed to prime time depictions of a very white female American ideal.

Tonight in Nashville, Duke will be talking about the opposite end of the skin-tone scale as he and co-director D. Channsin Berry close out the International Black Film Festival with the U.S. premiere of their documentary Dark Girls. The pair traveled the country in search of black women “of the darkest hues” to see how difficult it remains today for such women to gain upward mobility in the corporate American workplace.

 Explains Duke:

“In the late 1960s, a famous psychological study was done in which a young black girl was presented with a set of dolls. Every time the she was asked to point to the one that wasn’t pretty, not smart, etc., she pointed to the black doll that looked just like her. In her mind, she was already indoctrinated. To watch her do that was heartbreaking and infuriating. CNN did the test again recently – decades later – with little progress.”
Adds Berry: “Our goal is to address this issue and help eliminate their pain and help build self-esteem.”

The pair talked to not just African-American subjects but also women of Latin and Panamanian descent. Dark Girls also includes the point of view of some interracial couples and addresses another layer of this complicated topic, the idea that some dark skinned black women are “passed over by 'their own men.'”

IBFFN founder and CEO Hazel Joyner-Smith is proud to be hosting the documentary's official American debut. "The issue of skin tone in the black community has haunted our culture for many decades," she says. "As a festival hosted in a Southern state, a region where many of these biases were spread, we are pleased to be an advocate in bringing this topic full circle."

[Dark Girls]

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