One of the very valid criticisms women had for Bill Duke’s film Dark Girls, was the fact that it seemed to focus almost exclusively on the ways in which being a dark complected woman or girl was such a hardship. While the film touched on a very necessary conversation, it didn’t tell the full story. There was very little celebration of the beauty of dark skinned women.
Professor, scholar and producer, Dr. Yaba Blay, is working to fill in the gaps with a new website called “Pretty Period.” You’ve heard people offer up the backhanded compliment “pretty for a dark skinned girl”? Well Blay with the help of photographer Ann Marie Blake want you to know these dark skinned women are pretty period. She hopes the site will “visually demonstrate the sheer abundance of dark-skinned beauty. We are indeed everywhere. We stand as the rule, not the exception.”
On the About page for the site, Blay said,
“As an academic, I could have simply written about it (which I did) or discussed it in my classrooms (which I do), but after doing this work for what feels like my entire life, I’m at a point where I would much rather create than to critique.
Enter ‘Pretty. Period,’ a (soon to be) transmedia project created as a visual missive in reaction to the oh-so-popular, yet oh-so-offensive “compliment” – “You’re pretty for a dark-skinned girl.” Our collective response is, “No, we’re pretty. PERIOD.”
Showcasing girls and women of brown-to-dark complexions in the truth of their beauty, ‘Pretty. Period’ emerges as a visual tribute to brown skin, a visional testament to Black beauty, and a vision board for healing – both ours and yours.”
The site, which is broken off into several sections, includes information about the creators and collaborators, photos submitted by women who identify as brown or dark complected and official project photographs.
There is also a section called “Journal” where you’ll find very few critical pieces. Blay says this is because while there is much to say on the topic of dark skinned beauty, she wants to focus on the period part of the site’s name. There’s no need for an explanation or defense of the beauty of these women. It just is.