Colorism Strikes Within the Film Industry



Zoe Saldana announces nominations for the Golden Globe Awards on Dec. 12, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

Marie Bobb, Staff Writer

For centuries, even dating back to the time of African slavery, the color of skin has defined people’s significance within their own race. From the constant debates about what’s better, “light skin” or “dark skin” to the way in which the media portrays darker skin toned women.

Recently, the topic of colorism has made its mark on entertainment news due to the photo release of actress Zoe Saldana’s portrayal of famous singer, Nina Simone. In these photos Zoe Saldana is seen in full body makeup to make her skin appear far darker than it usually is. Many do not see a problem with this, but it is an example of black face.

Just because Zoe Saldana is a woman of color, it in no way gives her the right to put on dark make up just to portray a dark skin woman. Nina Simone had been ridiculed her whole life because of her dark skin and for her life to be played by a light skin woman is not only insulting to her but it is insulting to all dark skin women in general.

There have been countless incidents where dark skined women do not get specific roles because they simply do not “fit” within that category but when it comes to slave movies and movies that objectify women, they are usually the ones who play in these movies. Zoe Saldana is a prime example of light skin superiority. A dark skin woman could have easily been given that role but producers of this movie and Saldana herself insisted that she play this role since she was a “big fan.”

Many people have conflicting opinions about this topic. They believe that Zoe Saldana deserves this role just as much as any other dark skin actress.

I strongly disagree with these statements because not only did Simone’s family object to Saldana playing this role, but the director and producers of this movie basically hand-picked Saldana out of all other actresses. I believe that if Saldana truly admires and looks up to Simone the way she described, then she would have turned down playing her.

Dark skin women deserve the same amount of movie roles as any other actress in the movie business.