Colorism: Still an everyday stigma in the Black culture

Written by Samantha Pounds

By definition, the word colorism means discrimination based on the color of skin. In other words, it’s prejudice and discrimination in which people are treated differently. While colorism varies in definition compared to racism, its very much a prevalent issue dominating both the Black culture and other ethnic groups of color.

When it comes to such a complex subject, there is a young filmmaker and content creator whose looking to openly discuss the narratives of the subject manner. Melissa Guzman, a Dominican-American director, producer, actress, writer and the creator of Complexity.  The show follows the intertwined narratives of Latinx, African-Americans, Blasians and Indian cultures.

The series will explore how colorism played a major role in each characters upbringing and how it affects them in todays society.

“I was always told that I wasn’t black and it sent me into a world of confusion because deep down I knew I was black. It wasn’t until I went to college at Howard University where I started taking classes and learning more about the real issues of colorism,” said Guzman. 

It was also while in college Guzman learned she wasn’t the only one who was frustrated at the misrepresentation of Latinas. Guzman shares she made several contacts with her college peers who also felt the same way she did—their isn’t much representation of Afro Latinas in the media.

Like many who has experienced colorism, Guzman admits the adverse affects of colorism, which affected her self-esteem growing up.

The lack of misrepresentation in the media is ultimately what led to the creation of Complexity. Perplexed at her own experiences growing up, Guzman began pondering if others dealt with similar issues as she did while growing up.

“I began reaching out to my Asian, African-American and Indian friends. They all had very similar stories as I did growing up as it relates to their skin. This was around 2016 when these conversations really began,” Guzman shared.

It would be a very unfortunate circumstance that Guzman was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease which ultimately attached her body. Between hospital stays and trying to get her health back on track, the overall vision of Complexity stayed with Guzman as she did not want to give up on it just yet.

“As I felt myself giving up, I knew I needed a purpose and this was it,” said Guzman.

The mixture of characters in Complexity includes Ava, an Afro-Latina, Yesenia, a white Latina, Nicole Renee, a light skin African-American, Prisha, an outspoken Indian woman, Sean, a dark skin African-American male and Marvin an African-American and Asian man. While each character has their own personality, they share one common struggle—colorism in America.

While the show is currently in pre-production, Guzman shares her excitement and looks forward to viewers watching the final production and beginning the dialogue of thought provoking topic.

Fore more information about Complexity, visit

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