27 Jun ASHLEY
When did you first realize colorism existed? What are your experiences with colorism? What happened?
I was around 6 or 7 years old and I was spending the day at my best friend’s house at the time and her dad pointed out the lack of black people that are on television in almost all the commercials we were watching between our tv shows. He also made it a point for us to verbally point out how many black people we saw in a commercial and in most instances we saw none. That was in the 90s
How do you feel about your color as it relates to your experiences?
I am very happy with who I am and the color of my skin. I think I am beautiful and there is no on this earth like me so I embrace who I am. I have joy and I am proud to be a black woman. There is a sense of ease when I am with a group of other black women that I may not necessarily have and feel with other groups of people and races in the way that I do with people who look like me. I believe that to be true with any group of people who share the same physical characteristics.
How do you overcome any feelings of inadequacy or privilege?
I go on a lot of casting calls for commercials and modeling jobs and sometimes I feel like I don’t get the job because of the color of my skin. Without a strong foundation and groundedness of who you are, it can be a hard blow to your self esteem. Outside of entertainment work, working in the hospitality industry can be hard if you don’t have tough skin. A lot of times I am the only black person on at job and I do think to myself that there may be a sense of ease for the other people who are the same color that they are unaware of.
How do you feel your color is represented by the media?
I feel in many cases it can be objectified and violated in the media for profit in many ways. But I also believe that there has been great progress in how color is viewed and deemed in the media, which is a wonderful thing. More people of color are having more representation in the media and also in political media and that is extremely important.
What do you feel can be done to combat colorism?
There is still this division between light skin and dark skin and I think it’s ridiculous. Being aware that the division exist and the role it plays in people’s self esteem and in society is important. However, I think a lot of people want to be heard and in order for them to be heard, the division needs to continue to exist. Our goal is to erase the lines of colorism among the same race,and if you want to point out who is at fault for being too light or too talk it defeats the purpose of erasing, and it perpetuates the problem. The core of the issue is the approval of who deems what color to be acceptable across the board, in the media, and throughout the world; essentially it is white masses who do. Black people of different color get upset because a lighter person got the role instead of the darker person, or the darker model got more jobs than the lighter model, or the lighter person is deemed prettier than the darker person, or the light skin person isn’t really black or black enough, and it’s all poppycock because we are all black. No one is better than someone else. But what caused the core of this problem are the non black people in power. But who is in charge of who gets to say which skin tone is better? And who are the people that continue to perpetuate the color division?