No, I don’t mean that I discovered her talent, I mean I discovered that she exists. It’s so totally awesome to see another black woman doing something that I am doing (I was told not to try, but to do so even thought I’m not fully a director, filmmaker, actress right now have to claim it). And Michaela Coel is actually really good at what she does and is unapologetic about it.
The first show of hers I’ve watched is “I May Destroy You” where she turns the story of her rape into a dramedy. This gives me me strength to tell my own rape story one day. Wow, that’s the first time I’ve spoken about it that openly.
I have to admit that when I first time that I saw her on screen I was surprised because we don’t often see black women that have strong Negro features on screen. I say that as a Negro woman with Negro features. And a Negro woman who is a successful woman, not an angry bitch, not a strong black woman…but a human…
I grew up with my mother and TV. I had a father too (he died and was very active in my life, had a very respectful career, and was very present in my life and his wife’s (my mother) life before he died. Need to clarify that for the bigots). My mother is light skinned and has smaller features. Mixed features. I’m black though. Growing up I didn’t what colorism, featurism or prejudice was but I did notice that people treated her differently to other black women. They smiled at her more, trusted her more and gave her more opportunities. While her darker skinned companions were treated with what I realize now as suspicion.
I’m not even that dark-skinned which is not bragging (gosh, why do I even feel I need to explain that?) , but my skin absorbs light instead of reflects. My mother’s skin reflects. When I was younger I thought I if I scrubbed my skin enough I would one day become as light as my mother. I would then have her privileges. Tell me again that media doesn’t affect how we view ourselves? Because bigots love to throw that card around.
Because when I was younger there were no girls with skin as dark (and I’m not even dark, when I tell other black people that I’m dark they laugh) as me. All of them were mixed race girls. All of them…
So seeing a woman darker than me leading a series with other black women and women of color with strongly non-Caucasian features is a breathe of air. Not a breathe of fresh air but literally a breathe of air because we weren’t allowed to breathe in the first place.
But I hold no loyalty unless the stuff another black or poc is making good stuff and not riding on black solidarity and black goodwill ( * cough * Tyler * cough cough * Perry *cough cough cough *). Michaela is making good stuff. She’s representing out there. She’s officially on top of my Crush List.