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“When I was growing up back home in Haiti, people used to say that my father was very ugly then when I came to America, he always got compliments from different people. Whenever I would say, ‘this is my father’ people would say, ‘oh my gosh, he’s very handsome’, then I realized the reason they said he was ugly is because he was dark skin.

Connecticut producer & filmmaker Francesca Andre recently completed a short film exploring the ramifications of complexion-based discrimination within communities of color, known as colorism.

“I remember reading articles about women bleaching their skin and said ‘you know what if I am going to be a filmmaker, I want my stories to create impact, to uplift and empower.’ So, I started playing around with the idea of skin bleaching and colorism which became Charcoal.”

Charcoal captures the parallel stories of two black women and their lifelong journey to overcome internalized colorism, find self-acceptance and ultimately redemption. Despite the vast distances between them, these women both face a barrage of social messages from strangers and loved ones alike: That their darker complexion makes them less worthy of love, acceptance or respect. Yet through this painful erosion of their self-worth, these women rediscover their power and undergo a metamorphosis. They fully embrace the beauty, versatility and dignity of their melanin and begin to disrupt the generational cycle of self-hatred within communities of color.

“The message is very universal, but specifically addresses women of color.” Here’s a little piece from Charcoal 

The short film, which was created and directed by Francesca Andre, has been nominated for a People’s Choice Award at the 2017  Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival. The film also screened at Crystal Ship Mini Indie Film Festival at ImageNation Raw on June 25 and won the visionary awards.  Andre is a filmmaker, photographer and producer with a masters in film and television from Sacred Heart University. Ms. Andre is the creative director for the Fanm Kanson Network.The film stars Chengu Kargbo, Lorry Francois, Heather Smith, Khamaly Bryan, Destiny Derosiers, De’ana Derosiers, and co-produced and edited by Gustavo Azael Torres.

Ms. Andre has a lot more in store including a new short film on depression coming soon! Also, check out her web series: “3L – Live – Laugh – Love”. For more on colorism, check out this month’s issue in Sheen Magazine on stands today!