This weekend, TV One will premiere LisaRaye McCoy‘s directorial debut with the made-for-TV film Skinned, which tackles a very sensitive topic within the African-American community.
Skinned confronts colorism, pigmentocracy, and the outbreak of skin bleaching, as well as the use of lightening creams amongst many individuals in America and around the world.
According to Black Enterprise and the University of Cape Town, skin bleaching has ballooned into a $10 billion market and the long-term effects of bleaching one’s skin is currently unknown. Black Enterprise reports 35 percent of South African women bleach their skin, and 77 percent of Nigerian women bleach their skin.
On Friday, McCoy, best known for her role in The Players Club and the TV One reality series The Real McCoy, joined Roland Martin on NewsOne Now to discuss the notion of colorism within the Black community through the muse of Skinned’s main character, Jolie.
Essence Magazine reports, “Jolie is a young woman who is uncomfortable with her complexion and begins to experiment with bleaching and lightening creams to alter her skin tone.”
When asked why she wanted to tackle the issue of colorism in her directorial debut, McCoy said Studio11 Films asked her to direct the movie and once she read the script, the message behind it forced her to ask, “why do they want a light-skinned woman to direct a dark-skinned project?”
McCoy explained the reason was controversy. She said, “Controversy now sells and I wanted to have all eyes on this epidemic, because not only is it happening in Africa and our Caribbean nations, but here in America too.”
During their conversation, McCoy mentioned the lightening of former MLB star Sammy Sosa and late King of Pop Michael Jackson as instances of skin bleaching’s prevalence in our society.
McCoy later added that skin bleaching “causes skin cancer, yet it is an over the counter drug.”
Psychologist Dr. Kevin Washington, a board member of The Association of Black Psychologists, also joined Martin to discuss the epidemic. He said people of color have been “indoctrinated into a system of European superiority.”
“Anything that is associated with the dominate group becomes desirable,” said Dr. Washington. Adding, “Even in Cote d’Ivoire — just in May — they’ve banned skin bleaching for the purpose of health and racial identity.”
According to Washington, skin lightening “is not just a Black issue.” Dr. Washington said, “The idea of pigmentocracy takes over as a result of a hierarchy that is ascribed to the features associated with Whiteness in this country and globally.”
Watch Roland Martin, LisaRaye McCoy, and Dr. Kevin Washington discuss colorism, pigmentocracy, self-esteem, and Skinned, which premieres Saturday night at 8PM ET on TV One.
Subscribe to the “NewsOne Now” Audio Podcast on iTunes.