Representation in the media and Hollywood: Are lighter skinned biracials/mixed black people the new black? (part 1)

Felicity
4 min readMay 20, 2021

A reoccurring conversation that takes place is, the lack of accurate representation that dark skin black people get in TV shows and movies worldwide. When dark skin black people do get a chance to appear on the big screen, they are often portraying harmful, negative stereotypes or the are the antagonists. Another possibility is that they are hyper sexualised, or they are just side character with no storyline whatsoever. It is extremely rare to see a dark skin black person as a lead role in the Western world, and when we do see this, there is a lot of criticism that comes with it as well.

This is because unambiguous black people on screen are not seen as palatable to white audiences, which is who the content is created for. I would know from living in the UK, white people here were in uproar about seeing a black family in a Sainsbury’s Christmas advert. Anyways. The most you might see is support actor/actress who is usually used for comedic relief. Need some examples? LETS GO! I came with the receipts.

This is a link to a list of numerous 90s shows where there was a black sidekick, with lack of black leads:

https://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2013/03/25-token-black-characters-from-90s-tv-shows-and-what-happened-to-them/jackie-chiles

My first example is Sam Wilson/Falcon in MCU Captain America. He is played by Anthony Mackie and his character appears in the second film of the Captain America trio films. In the finale of the Avengers franchise, Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) tells Sam that he is retiring as Captain America and is passing the mantle onto him. Many fans were outraged by this decision, even though it happens in the comics. The fans would rather Captain America be finished forever or that Bucky/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) take the role as the new Captain American instead. Too late because TFAWS was amazing.

Source: fanpop.com
Source: lastmovieoutpost.com

Secondly, we have Pam James from Martin, played by Tichina Rolanda Arnold. An icon honestly. She was Gina’s (Tisha Campbell) best friend on the show. There was always a colorism conversation over these two but with the script at hand, certain things needed to be pointed out. Pam was an attractive, loud and a very upfront person compared to her lighter skinned, biracial best friend. She seemed like a hilarious character who always had bickers with Martin himself. Unfortunately, her character is just reduced to Gina’s argumentative, feisty friend.

Source: lipstickvalley.com
Source: pintrest.com

Next up, Dijonnay from the Proud Family. She is basically the younger, cartoon version of Pam, but way more exaggerated and stereotypically “ratchet” compared to her lighter skin friend. Not much to say here.

Source: kingofreads.com

AND FINALLY Tyler Perry movies! How can I forget Tyler Perry? He needs to be questioned for his crimes I am so sorry. The darker skinned black people in his movies are either always the villain, or they undergo some sort of suffering (ALWAYS THE DARKSKIN BLACK WOMEN). Diary of a Mad Black Woman, A fall from Grace, you name it. There is something this man will do, and that is villainize the hell out of dark skin black men.

Source: tylerperryfandom.com
Source: usatoday.com

--

--