There’s a flip side to ‘colourism’. Lighter skinned black women also want to be darker skinned

Last year, when Oprah Winfrey premièred the documentary ‘Dark Girls’ on her TV network OWN, it threw up a debate about how dark-skinned women of  colour were going to great lengths to lighten their skin, particularly in Hollywood, where there’s a perceived bias against darker skinned women.

No one will forget Nigerian/Cameroonian media personality and business woman Dencia’s comments about ‘white being seen as pure’, hence why she chose to lighten her skin.

Now, the same channel is set to début another documentary exposing the flip side of that phenomenon. This time, lighter skinned women detail the challenges of growing up in the black community as lighter skinned African-Americans.

Celebrities including child star Raven Symone, Erica Hubbard and Chante Moore star in the programme,‘Light Girls,  premièring on OWN on Monday.

Symone, who recently got into hot water for saying she didn’t want to be defined by labels- including being black, told the programme that while filming for her hit Disney show ‘That’s So Raven’, she used to visit a tanning shop three to four times a week to get her skin colour darker, because she ‘wanted to feel pretty’.

Others tell of being bullied while at school, because their pairs felt they were ‘snobbish’ or entitled simply because they were lighter than the others.

Spiritual teacher Iyanla Vanzant, a staple on the TV network says, the experiences these women have been through ‘could lead to emotional scars on the soul that go on well into womanhood.’

Listening to the clip, one has to wonder if this is a problem in the African community generally or is it just a black diaspora issue? Are lighter skinned African women also being bullied because they are seen to be ‘snobbish’ and more fortunate than other darker skinned women?

If the booming sales of lightning creams in Africa is anything to go by, one might be tempted to think this is very much an American problem.

Do tell us what you think.

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