Bill Cosby and the Beauty of “Dark Girls”
Harlem Arts Alliance Presents: On the "A" w/Souleo
And so, I was having one of those intensely productive weeks where sleep escaped me as I struggled to unplug the inspiration feed from my higher power energy source. I ended up with a wealth of new writing ideas and dark circles under my eyes. Needless to say I didn't look my best as I headed to Bill Cosby's book signing event at Hue-Man Bookstore for "I Didn't Ask to be Born (But I'm Glad I Was)."
While Cosby was there to promote his book the discussion quickly became much more profound as he addressed the state of youth. "This book will make you fall in love as opposed to go straight for what you hear on records, 'I'm wet, you're wet, lets do it.' Where are we with that and what's the problem with that in the ears of 14 and 13 year-old people?" It's a sentiment that Cosby has made frequent headlines with but he notes that nothing will change until many more speak up and implement change. "It can't be just Bill Cosby because when I say it everybody will jump up and say yes but nothing happens. We have an apathy going on," he says. "Our children need us. We have to be aware of these things."
As awareness and support grows for the African-American historical action movie "Red Tails," I'd like to nominate the independent documentary "Dark Girls," for equal visibility. The powerful film examines the ever-present issue of colorism within the U.S. and abroad. During the post-screening Q&A at the Apollo Theater a young woman asked filmmakers, Bill Duke and D. Chansen Berry how could she start to feel beautiful? Duke and Berry focused on the need for family and the community to instill confidence in youth no matter their skin color. While they are absolutely correct, I walked home pondering how someone without such positive role models in their immediate surroundings could develop self-esteem.
The answer came unexpectedly while interviewing artist, Aleathia Brown at her reception for "A Textural Journey" at Berkeley College. Brown's works on burlap, canvas and mixed media are insightful representations of freedom, struggle and beauty particularly in, "Moods of Nature," a colorful sculpture depicting women of color merged with elements from the earth. Brown revealed how she integrated beauty in an exhibition that references such painful topics as slavery. "You have to be still and silent with your own thoughts to measure what goes on outside and inside." Instantly it clicked and I forgot all about those dark circles that were deeper after only four hours of sleep, making me feel nowhere near attractive. Apparently, we can all find beauty if we take the time to discover ourselves, disconnect from the negativity around us and embrace arts and culture that empowers. And yeah, sleep helps too.
Souleo Enterprises, LLC is the umbrella company that creates and produces entertaining, empowering and informative media and philanthropic projects by founder, Souleo.
This article is courtesy of our partner The Harlem Arts Alliance
The Harlem Arts Alliance is a not for profit arts service organization celebrating 10 years of service to a prestigious list of members such as the Apollo Theater, the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, Columbia University, Harlem Stage (Aaron Davis Hall) and over 850 more cultural/arts institutions and individuals. The weekly column, Harlem Arts Alliance Presents: On the "A" w/Souleo, covers the intersection of the arts, culture and entertainment in Harlem and the greater NYC area.
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