Dying to be White: Animated Film on Colorism in Africa [Video]

mukii-yellow-fever-imageI am interested in the concept of skin and race, in the ideas and theories sown into our flesh that change with the arc of time. I believe that skin and the body, are often distorted into a topographical division between reality and illusion. The idea of beauty has become globalised, creating homogenous aspirations, and distorting people’s self-image across the planet.

​In my film, I focus on African women’s self-image, through memories and interviews; using mixed media to describe this almost schizophrenic self-visualization that I and many others have grown up with.

This is the inspiration behind the film Yellow Fever as told by its’ creator Ng’endo Mukii. The Kenyan powerhouse created this film for her thesis at Royal College in 2012. It takes a look at the epidemic of skin bleaching and the psychological effects of colorism on women and girls in Africa. This is a topic that we aren’t strangers to. It has been a topic of conversation for years within the Black community, with dozens of documentaries being made about the root of the issue.

This trailer broke my heart when I heard stories about beautiful Black women bleaching their skin because they have been brainwashed to believed that “light is right.” They idolize white women from the western world. They yearn to be “pretty” like them. One of the saddest facts that the trailer exposed was that some women can’t afford to bleach their entire bodies, so they opt to only bleach their faces and hands. This then gives them a yellow color, hence the title of the film Yellow Fever.

My sisters are hurting themselves to achieve an over-glamorized sense of beauty that was pushed on them by people who now go under the knife to achieve that “fuller” look that they long condemned Black women for having. It is indeed a form of mental enslavement that is killing the beauty of our people.

Check out the trailer below. How do you feel about colorism?


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