LisaRaye Skinned tells the tragic story of Jolie (Jasmine Burke) a dark-skinned woman who suffers from low self-esteem.
LisaRaye McCoy co-directed the film with Avery O. Williams, a Moorehouse College professor. Williams also penned the script with Clarice Kulah, the film’s co-producer. LisaRaye is best known for The Player’s Club and All of Us is taking her first step behind the camera, and not with an easy subject.
Colorism is a highly critical and prevalent issue. The term was coined by Alice Walker to denote prejudice against people for factors associated with skin tone. If you watch any movie today (even a kid’s movie), darkness or dark undertones are synonymous with bad or evil. Meanwhile, white and light are frequent symbols of love, good, kindness, and heroism.
Symbolism aside, when it is applied to race it gets to be a hefty issue. Being light is often seen as beautiful, but if you are born dark then you either have to adjust your conceptions or live a life feeling ugly. That exactly is the predicament Jolie faces in Skinned and changing those conceptions aren’t as easy for her as it sounds.
I remember in high school some of my friends said they wanted to get with a white guy to have mixed kids. Because mixed kids are beautiful. While I am not throwing any kinds of shade on mixed kids, all children are beautiful. But that is the kind of nonsense that is commonplace in our society.
African actress Dencia recently released a statement that her skin-toning cream company makes 2 million dollars a year. That’s a lot of money for a product that’s only purpose is to make someone lighter. Skin lightening goes so much further than make-up; it’s rooted in an intense self-hatred and dislike for your own skin color.
Skinned recently won an award at Atlanta’s Bronze Lens Film Festival for Best Independent Film. I’m excited for the movie, and I hope that it doesn’t shy away from any of the issues of colorism. While colorism and racism are not one in the same, they are fueled by the same fire. Neither issue is going away, so films like this are extremely important.
Shine a light on a controversial issue, and start a conversation going. The media is the main thing that continues to perpetuate these problems, so fight back LisaRaye Skinned can help in changing the narrative.