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Studio Portrait of Two Young Women Back to Back, One With a Tattoo

Source: Digital Vision. / Getty

A pair of Bill Duke documentaries, 2015’s Light Girls and 2011’s Dark Girls, respectively drew a range of reactions since their initial debuts. Participants such as Viola Davis and Amber Rose faced backlash for their personal anecdotes, and some felt the work was divisive. Duke appeared on Power 105.1’s “The Breakfast Club” and explained his rationale for the pair of documentaries with Angela Yee, Charlemagne Tha God and DJ Envy.

“Pain has no color,” Duke explained. “Our internal racism is still alive. We are still putting each other down and making jokes about each other because of the color of our skin. With women particularly, it’s difficult because the beauty business says, ‘If you don’t look a certain way, God made a mistake.’”

Duke pointed to the multi-billion dollar skin bleaching industry and also referenced historical examples of institutional racism such as the “one-drop rule” and “paper bag parties” to draw a correlation to modern day colorism.

You can watch the entire “Breakfast Club” interview with Bill Duke below.

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