The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of her campus.
Many believe that we are in an era of diversity and “awakening.”This is true; people can see themselves more represented than ever, from i never to Black Panther. However, I believe there is more work to be done. Generally speaking, people with darker skin tones are overlooked on the big screen, while lighter skin tones become the norm in the media. Harmful stereotypes are portrayed most of the time when dark-skinned representations are present.For example, often when there is a younger younger sister with darker skin, she falls into the “brutal black girl” trope, such as from blackened and judy from KC Undercover. Therefore, we need a more aggressive representation of dark skin.
There are many reasons why this happens, but the most prominent is that colorism is still rampant. This can be seen in many book-to-movie adaptations. When the book depicts the main character as having darker skin, the film usually stars a mixed light-skinned actor. in the book, the sun is also a star Written by Nicola Yoon, the protagonist Natasha is Jamaican-American, who is described as having a large curly hair and was even told she needed to loosen her hair. However, actress Yara Shahadi, who plays the role, is mixed, with looser curls than described. the hatred you give Angie Tomas also fell victim to this clear display of Hollywood colorism. Mixed characters are good, but mixed actors are not the standard for black characters. The all-black dark-skinned actor also deserves attention and becomes the lead role.
Good representation can help people feel more confident and needed. The media affects people more than many realize. When “white” is always in the middle, others may feel that they also need to be white or shallow to be loved. This is especially true among younger audiences. When people see characters who look like them, it helps them build confidence and realize that they don’t need to change themselves, but they deserve to be loved regardless of skin color or race.
Reps can also help break down negative stereotypes. As I mentioned before, when there’s a dark-skinned character, they usually fall into a number of tropes, including mommies, trendy black girls, or gangsters. Once proper research and writing is done, allowing new stories to be told can help break down these stereotypes. Dark-skinned characters do not have to exist within the box. They can be funny, inspiring, intelligent or quiet, just like in real life. While I’m talking primarily about the black community, it’s not just limited to them. Other communities also need to be represented in all their skin tones.
None of this is to say there are no improvements. In the new TV series, percy jackson and the olympians, Annabeth is played by Leah Sava Jeffries, a young black girl. I know many young black girls who will look up to her as I do when I read these books, and will like her even more. Also, Abbott Elementary is making waves, showing that we need more BIPOC writers in the writer’s room to more accurately portray BIPOC characters. While we have come a long way, there is still more to be done.