Lauren and Mae: Diversifying The Dark Skinned Woman Image & Why It's Necessary
In recent media and news, we are seeing the continued impact of colorism, level up, and black women empowerment conversations on the image of black women and girls, specifically dark skinned black women and girls.
On the reality entertainment front, we see a positive representation of a dark skinned woman being loved on and cared for by a provider man. On the big screen, we finally see a healthy black relationship with NORMAL relationship woes, featuring a phenotypically dark skinned woman as the lead love interest to a black man. I am so proud of us.
A few weeks ago, I happened upon the Love is Blind series while perusing Netflix and am so happy that it is getting the hype it deserves. More specifically, I am happy that my favorite couple, Lauren and Cameron, are getting the shine they deserve. It is very important that the world is seeing a dark skinned black woman who is feminine, beautiful, and comes from a regular family, marry a provider man who adores her.
Y’all, Cameron wasn’t playing at all. He had a house prepared for a wife and a growing family, a great career, and as soon as he proposed, told Lauren he would take care of her. I hope young black girls are watching this and get the message that not only do they have the ability to have this kind of love and adoration from their partner, but that they DESERVE and are ENTITLED to it, no matter what race of man it comes from.
Finally, after many moons, we get a black love film featuring a dark skinned black woman as the main love interest to a black man. The best part of The Photograph? Not a struggle love trope in sight. This isn’t to say that their relationship was smooth sailing but it was void of the expected social justice warrior-ing and ‘holding a brutha down’.
And I'm going to be real...At this present time, I'm not willing to accept any criticism of the movie, especially the “it’s boring” complaints. Is it biased? Yes, absolutely. Do I understand the criticisms? Yes. However, it is my personal opinion that we deserve a “boring” movie where we get to exist outside the realms of struggle and fighting the power. I will say that I enjoyed the relationship between Mae’s mother and father more so than her relationship with Michael. Michael's brother and his beautiful wife (played by Teyonah Parris) and their black, nuclear family was also much needed imagery of dark skinned women.
I think the movie also makes an important point about black women healing their relationships with their mothers. Our mothers are our first sisters and I firmly believe our relationships with our moms set the tone for how we relate to others emotionally. Truth be told, many black women (myself included), had turbulent relationships with our mothers, or our mother figures and it permeates throughout our friendships, companionship, and other relationships.
Mae’s struggles with Michael mirror her Mother’s with her father and highlights that many things are transferred through generations if not addressed and healed. It also highlights that before our mothers were our mothers, they were women first. Many of us may feel resentment towards our moms for missteps they took, or things they’ve done, without realizing that just because they had children, doesn’t mean they were fully formed people, or doesn’t mean their flaws automatically disappear.
The fictional character Mae and real life Lauren, represent the diversifying of dark skinned women’s image. We are now seeing more portrayals of black women as simply women, good and bad.
Liv is a new blogger for DDS Magazine. She graduated University in 2018, with a degree in History & English Lit and in her free time is an avid creative writer, History & Fashion enthusiast, as well as a cat-mom to three kittens. When she is not creating, she works at a children's non-profit and enjoys spending her weekends doing Pilates, hiking, shopping and indulging in Sci-fi novels.