‘With predominantly white people, they’re like, oh, Aaron the black guy. With predominantly black people, they’re like, oh, Aaron the light-skinned boy. I’m not black and I’m not too light; I’m mixed race. I’m a mixture of both worlds.’
Being Light Skinned by up-and-coming filmmaker Kashif Boothe addresses another side of colourist: what it feels like to be light-skinned. ‘I thought it would be a good idea for young men and women in the UK to be given the opportunity to respond the stereotypes and the negative stigma,’ he explains. ‘ I also wanted to get a male perspective because a lot of the discussions and documentaries are predominately told from a female perspective and skin colour debates affect men and women.’
What it feels like to be mixed race and dating a black guy. Or a mixed-race guy dating a black girl.
He asked a group of young people from different heritages 10 questions about what it feels like to be light-skinned. There’s Aaron Sweeny-Harris, the articulate actor and TV presents, whose dad is Jamaican and whose mother is Irish. Anusha Nava is a singer, songwriter and actress who is half Mauritian, half Sri Lankan. Actress Georgina Ezuanyamike is half English and half Ghanaian.
They talk insightfully about the every day challenges and weird situations that arise when people can’t categories you. What it feels like to be mixed race and dating a black guy. Or a mixed-race guy dating a black girl: ‘People think we’re all trouble.’ They talk honestly about the different opportunities that open up when you’re light skinned and darker.
Kashif wants to show how this particular brand of colourism ‘affects people everyday within different industries and cultures whether it is preventing them from getting a job or wife or husband.’
But even though the people he interviews talk honestly about how the colour of the skin affects them, or doesn’t, it’s clear that Kashif has filmed a bunch of funny, articulate, thoughtful individuals.
As one of them says, without any fuss: ‘Why do I have to tick your boxes? I do me.’
Make sure to check out Kasha’s short video series Nate & Jamie 😂