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Dear Black People…Dark Skinned Women Are Not Your Last Resort

Dear White People writers, THIS AIN’T OKAY.

05/30/2017 12:47 EDT | Updated 05/30/2017 16:21 EDT

I wanted to like the Dear White People Netflix series, having never seen the movie I thought I’d be coming into the series with an unbiased opinion and be open to whatever narrative the writers wanted to convey.

I wanted to like Sam, as the main character and protagonist? Or maybe antagonist, but main character none the less. She’s intelligent, beautiful, fortunate, has somewhat good intentions, and her outfits are mad cuteeeee. (But seriously how do college students afford fashionable outfits and not have to recycle any within a 10 episode series? But I digress…)

And even though I wanted to like both the series and Sam I could not help but be very dissatisfied with both. And for a reason that just did not sit well with me;

The constant portrayal of darker skinned black women as the runner up choice in any romantic relationship.

Dear White People writers THIS AIN’T OKAY.

1. We see this happen within Sam and Reggie’s relationship.

Where Reggie is pining for just a glimpse of Sam’s affection. While Joelle, a BEAUTIFUL darker skinned black woman, is ready, single, and willing to show Reggie the affection he needs.

Buuuut it’s not until Sam, with her two-timing cheating self, completely disrespects Reggie that he FINALLY shows the slightest bit of romantic interest in Joelle. No matter how often Joelle is there for Reggie, supportive of Reggie, and helpful to him, Reggie does not even notice Joelle until Sam completely writes him off.

Like really? You can only see this beautiful chocolate after you’re kicked to the curb by Sam?

Dear White People writers THIS AIN’T OKAY.

2. We see this narrative AGAIN with Troy, Sam, and Coco’s relationship.

Sam, some how, some way, is the romantic interest of Troy. Before becoming her “woke” self or maybe during her transformation to “wokeness?” Sam and Troy were a thing. Buuttt whyyy??

Coco, or Colandrea to be exact, is an absolute STUNNER. I mean that deep brown perfect skin, those full lips, her almond shape eyes, beautiful frame. She is all kinds of Gorgeousness!

CoCo pines over Troy from the minute she sees him, but CoCo does not end up in the romantic relationship with Troy that she’s dreamed of. Nope!

But you know who does? Sam. Sam, at one point, is Troy’s “girl” she’s given public affection, she’s met by Troy over lunch, and she’s introduced to Troy’s father as a romantic interest. She is the woman that Troy takes pride in “showing off”.

Coco on the other hand? Well, we really didn’t know they were romantically involved until she’s at Troy’s apartment/dorm hybrid thing? (Dorms aren’t that spacious kids, so don’t get your hopes up) Until she’s with him behind closed doors getting hit from behind and screaming like she’s seen a ghost.

This scene for me was soooo problematic. Why is Coco kept a secret? Why is Coco begging for Troy to establish their relationship status when Sam is paraded through out their entire relationship? Why is the intelligent, strong, funny, darker skinned woman the “homie” in public and in a private a smash and dash while her frenemy with lighter skin is the prize for all eyes?

Dear White People writers, THIS AIN’T OKAY.

I want to bring attention to this because as a woman with darker skin I see this too often in cinema. I’m constantly feeling under-represented or second best in movies.

Before my beef with the Netflix Series, DWP, I had a beef with the movie Selma:

Where you see various women, with lighter skin, portraying romantic love interest. While the darker skinned women are portrayed as down with the movement, almost “mammy” like, but not romantically desired.

And I could go on and on with examples in cinema where women with lighter skin play the romantic love-interest roles but I will save you some time.

What I will say is this, I’m not trying to start a colorism beef, I’m not trying to talk negatively about women with lighter skin, divide women unnecessarily, and I’m also not saying that darker skinned women’s number one priority should be to become someone’s love interest. But what I am saying is this:

Darker skinned women are absolutely deserving of love. We deserve to see this in cinema, and we do not deserve to be runner ups. — Angel