The Souls of Black Girls
The Souls of Black Girls is a provocative news documentary that takes a critical look at media images-how they are instituted, established and controlled. The documentary also examines the relationship between the historical and existing media images of women of color and raises the question of whether they may be suffering from a self-image disorder as a result of trying to attain the standards of beauty that are celebrated in media images.
Written by Kam Williams
Why have African-American women become so maligned by popular culture that we have a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Karen Hunter, writing a best seller seriously posing the question, "Are black women necessary?" And how has this shocking state of affairs affected the psyches of the sisters of the Hip-Hop Generation shaped during the dominance of gangsta' rap, an age marked by misogyny and an embracing of a European standard of beauty?
These are the questions posed by The Souls of Black Girls, a provocative documentary which suggests that African-American females are suffering from a form of self-image disorder. Produced and directed by Daphne Valerius, this provocative examination of a timely subject features sage contributions from such icons as actresses Regina King, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Juanita Jennings and Amelia Marshall, PBS news anchor Gwen Ifill, Public Enemy's Chuck D, BET producer Darlise Blount, Essence Magazine fashion editor Pamela Edwards, historian Dr. Lez Edmond and cultural critic Michaela Angela Davis.
These famous faces share screen time with several representatives of the demographic being discussed, articulate teens who weigh-in with their heartfelt feelings on hot-button issues ranging from their dating desirability to skin color preferences to hair straightening to absentee fathers to promiscuity to their weights and shapes.
Ms. King bemoans that we have "a whole generation of lost women who don't that it's okay to be you." Meanwhile, Jada reflects upon having herself gone "through a period of shame." Fortunately, the participants are ultimately optimistic and offer positive solutions, such as Ms. Ifill who proudly asserts "My beauty has value" and finds satisfaction when greeted by young aspiring journalists who see her as a role model.
Excellent (4 stars)
Chuck D, Regina King, Jada Pinkett Smith, Gwen Ifill, Michaela Angela Davis