Ever since Michelle Obama became the first lady, I’ve often wondered about Kiri Davis’s (the then 17-year old filmmaker) film, A Girl Like Me. This powerful film is a montage of black girls sharing their experiences about good vs bad hair, and what it’s like to live in their skin. Kiri also interviewed a group of younger children who time after time, when presented with a white doll over a black doll, the white doll was the preferred choice.
I first posted this in August 2006, and so much has changed since that time. And with the Obamas now in office, and a dark-skinned, first lady as the country’s role-model, do you think the kids featured in this video would still choose a white doll over a black doll?
~~The Original Post Starts here~~
If you want to watch something VERY powerful and moving, watch Kiri Davis’ A Girl Like Me. This 17 year old filmmaker and student at the Urban Academy High School in NYC, uncovers a chilling message about issues that still plague our black youth. Simply put…Davis points out (through her interviews and by re-conducting Kenneth Clark’s 1940s ‘doll test’ that hair
and skin color still matter. As a result of her powerful message, Davis received the Diversity award from the Media That Matters Film Festival sponsored by the Third Millennium Foundation.
Educators are also responding to the messages revealed in the film. Erin Einhorn from the New York Daily News writes, "The film has made a mark in the educational world where it has been shown to grad students at the Bank Street College of Education and to administrators in the city Education Department. It may have had its most significant effect at Boys and Girls Harbor, the organization that granted Davis access to kids in Harlem.
There, teachers are rethinking their curriculum and educational approach. When Bernadette Wallace, the director of pre- and after-school services, screened the film for her staff, she said, "Some of my teachers had tears in their eyes. They couldn’t believe it." (via Erin Einhorn’s article, City teen’s film shows racial rift)
What other resources are out there for educators on this disturbing issue? Here’s what I’ve found so far. Hair Story : Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America by Ayana Byrd and Lori Tharps I Love My Hair by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley and E.B. Lewis Please add your own resources and/or thoughts in the comment section.