Skin – How Netflix’s Documentary Highlights Colorism In Nigeria

No matter what kind of a world we imagine for ourselves or are trying to achieve, there many issues that plague the world we currently live in. Issues like sexism, racism, Islamophobia, transphobia, homophobia, and so many more constantly affect people’s lives across the world. One such issue is colorism. Beyond discriminating people for their races or religion, people also discriminate against people on the basis of their skin colour. In countries like India, colorism is extremely prevalent. Netflix’s documentary “Skin” higlights Nigeria’s experience with colorism.

Colorism can be defined as discrimination from “members of the same race in which people are treated differently based on skin color.”

Skin - How Netflix's Documentary Highlights Colorism In Nigeria


Netflix announced the documentary from its Twitter account.

“In Skin, @BeverlyNaya explores colorism and finding the true meaning of beauty in the different shades of black by speaking to individuals who have dealt with pressure to conform to society’s standards of beauty.

Skin is now streaming”

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Produced by British-Nigerian actress Beverly Naya, “Skin” seeks to shed light on the lives of women affected by colorism.

The documentary is an hour-long and compiles the stories of various women in Nigeria who have been discriminated against because of their dark skin.

Skin bleaching is a widespread practice in many parts of Africa, made popular by beliefs that light-skinned black women are more attractive and desirable. Teniola Kashaam, one of the women featured in the documentary, tells the story of how she joined in the practice of skin-bleaching at the age of 19. Kashaam is a Nigeria-based make-up artist.

“At the time, I had a lot of people like aunties, random people saying to me, ‘oh, you’re so Black, you’re so Black.’ It kind of felt like, does that mean I’m not beautiful? Maybe I needed to be lighter to look more attractive.”

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Skin - How Netflix's Documentary Highlights Colorism In Nigeria

Speaking to CNN, Naya revealed that her inspiration to produce the documentary came from her own experiences of living in the United Kingdom as a dark-skinned woman.

“I had crooked teeth and I had really bad eczema. And even though I fixed my teeth and my skin cleared over time, the damage had already been done to my mental state and how I saw myself. So as I got older, I realized that I just didn’t feel beautiful.”

She added –

“I want to inspire young people to love themselves. And I decide to use my documentary, ‘Skin,’ because I didn’t want to restrict my message to a small community. I knew it was important to get the message further.”

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Rhythm Bhatia

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