*Light Girls* – I used to tan 3-4 times a week

Not entirely inside the world of the Fish Eyes Trilogy, but a topic near and dear to Anita and the Nightswimming team is colourism (also known as shadeism). We have many articles about this on our sister site, s2bd.ca, which is a dramaturgical exploration of Anita Majumdar’s Same Same But Different – a play that delves deep into the impact of shade preference in South Asian cultures.

This brief article on Clutch contains a video that interviews a number of black actors about their experience in the entertainment industry and how their shade of skin is always  at the back of their minds, while auditioning or shooting a project. The Oprah Winfrey Network is the driving force behind Light Girls and Black Girls, two documentaries about how shade of skin colour affects their opportunities for work. It seems that shadeism works somewhat in reverse in the film industry – darker is better, although that is a newer trend.

Worth looking at the video and then heading over to s2bd.ca to check out more about shadeism and its impact on Asian, Indian, African, Caribbean, and many other cultures.


Originally published by Clutch on January 14, 2014.


Raven-Symoné on OWN “Light Girls” Doc: ‘I Used to Tan 3-4 Times a Week to Get Darker’

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Raven-Symoné is sharing her personal ‘light girl’ story for the upcoming Light Girls documentary appearing on OWN January 19th. Light Girls, the sequel to Bill Duke’s 2011 documentary, Dark Girls, addresses both the privileges and disadvantages of having lighter skin in the Black community and beyond.

While being interviewed for the documentary, Raven-Symoné revealed that throughout the four seasons starring in Disney’s That’s So Ravenshe tanned her skin to be darker. The actress began to tan regularly to appear darker on the hit series. Raven’s shared that her skintone changed so much that it affected the production of the show.

“When I had my own show, I used to tan three or four times a week in a tanning bed to get darker,” she said. “I did.” “It’s funny, one of the lighting guys came up — I love him to death; I love him, oh my goodness — he goes, ‘Raven, I need you to stop tanning. You’re getting too dark, and we have to re-light the whole entire show,’” Raven recalls. “I was like, ‘Sorry. I was just trying to be pretty.’”

Watch the clip below: