Skin color/colorism is something that is an issue in the African diaspora but plays out in other cultures as well. In 2012 here in the States I thought we were moving beyond colorism but I can’t help but observe pop culture norms that continue to perpetuate the idea that the closer you are to having caucasian features the more beautiful you are considered. For instance, take my guilty pleasure “Single Ladies” I resisted watching this show that highlights three single women in Atlanta, with a predominantly black cast and one single white friend. I resisted for no other reason than the bad acting but after watching a few episodes I was soon sucked in and watched fairly religiously.
The cast is full of successful women, movers and shakers who just happen to be light skinned with no successful dark skinned sister in sight. When lead actress Stacey Dash left the show she was replaced by a body double (light skinned, light eyed) Denise Vasi. Admittedly I did notice the color thing but didn’t make anything of it and continued to watch the show. Sidebar - the men apparently can be chocolate brown and successful, on again off again love interest of Keisha (LisaRaye), Malcolm (played by tall, dark and handsome DB Woodside) is a very rich man. With humble beginnings.
However, the newest cast member, Morgan (played by Cassandra Freeman) is brown skinned.
I am particularly surprised because Queen Latifah is executive producer and she was one of the stars of Living Single back in the nineties. Living Single had a very diverse cast and the darkest sister on the show was actually a high powered attorney. I find it interesting that with this type of prior work experience on a successful show, the Queen would perpetuate the stereotypes frequently associated with skin color.
Does this mean I will be boycotting the show? Absolutely not. But I do think it is important to make these types of observations and call out folks on their stuff. I hoped we’d be beyond this in 2012 but clearly we have a way to go. What are your thoughts? Have you noticed colorism in pop culture?