I recently visited the Buzzfeed headquarters where I met up with Reporter (and fellow Black Ballad member) Victoria Sanusi. Victoria and I got into an engaging conversation about the representation of dark skin women in mainstream television. It was at this moment that we jointly came to the conclusion that apart from Insecure, many of our favourite black sitcoms often depicted dark skinned black women in a distasteful manner and highlights why Molly Carter's character is not just refreshing, but an important critique on the representation of black womanhood.
We all know dark skin black women are notoriously underrepresented in TV and film and when we do grab some screen time, we are portrayed in the same old tiresome stereotypical way. Cue the dark skinned friend, who is the ghetto ass, unattractive tag along. Meanwhile, their fairer skinned girlfriend is not just considered beautiful to the masses, but is the standard bearer of black female beauty. So after growing up and watching this narrative played out in films, TV shows and music videos, it is hardly surprising that many of us grew up associating our skin tone with ugliness.
One of the many things I love about the show Insecure is the depiction of the character Molly played by Yvonne Orji. There she is, the dark skinned attractive best friend with an excelling corporate career, impeccable dress sense and quick wit. I was in awe because it felt for the very first time, I saw a dark skinned girl being portrayed as desirable and inspirational. Yet, the beauty of Issa Rae’s creation and the placement of Molly is that the character is used to not just challenge, but subvert the colourist hierarchy that exists within the black community.