(Originally published at The FADER)
Colorism, or discrimination on the basis of skin tone and complexion, is a pervasive scourge bubbling under the surface of daily life and affecting the lived experiences of black and brown women worldwide. Routine interactions, dating prospects, and employment are often determined by the shade of our skin. Where racism and sexism collide, light is too often considered right.
The effects of normalized white supremacy have long created global standards of beauty that frequently manifest in the form of skin-bleaching, a practice common across much of the world. Women from Africa to Asia resort to using damaging creams, pills, and chemicals to lighten their skin, risking their lives for impossible aesthetic ideals. Ghanaian-British actress Ama K Abebrese, best known for her role in Cary Fukunaga‘s Beasts of No Nation, has spent the past couple of years spearheading a large-scale public effort to counteract the practice of skin-bleaching in Ghana. We spoke with her about the epidemic of skin-bleaching in her home country and the success of her Love Your Natural Skin Tone campaign.