Shadeism: Digging Deeper


In 2010 the documentary short “Shadeism” brought to light how the discrimination that exists between the lighter-skinned and darker-skinned members of the same community affects young women within the African, Caribbean, and South Asian diasporas. Shadeism is common in communities of colour across the world, and it is also an issue that people of colour experience whilst living as part of diasporic communities outside their native lands.

The short was created by five undergraduate students during their final term at Ryerson University’s School of Journalism. Since going viral in October 2010, it has been recognized by various news media outlets, hundreds of online blogs and websites, and numerous educational bodies in Canada, as well as abroad. In November 2010, the documentary also received the Youth Media Arts Award at the 2010 Regent Park Film Festival in Toronto.

Realizing the need for broader discussion, the Shadeism team started working with schools, community organizations, and various other groups, to hold screenings, workshops, and discussions on shadeism and related topics, creating space for dialogue between women of colour around a shared issue.

On February 14th, the Indiegogo campaign for the full-length documentary,  “Shadeism: Digging Deeper”, was officially launched online. Amidst a gathering of supporters at Tequila Bookworm, in Toronto, the trailer for the new documentary was unveiled. The campaign was launched on Valentine’s Day to emphasize the essence of the documentary, which is to explore ways of healing, (un)learning, and growing, so that we can begin to better love ourselves and each other, in the skin we’re in.

In 30 days the Shadeism team is aiming to raise $15K in support of post-production costs, shadeism-focused educational curriculum and a self-care toolkit to accompany the film and support shadeism-related dialogue.

Any support is welcome, whether you are able to give monetarily or spread the word about the campaign via facebook, twitter, tumblr, blogging, phone calls, or in-person conversations. To learn more about and support the campaign click here.
Filmmaker Nayani Thiyagarajah shared this message on behalf of the Shadeism team:

With the viral sharing of our original short doc three years ago, it was the support of family and friends that really helped the short reach so many people. With your support and love once again, we hope to go a long way in achieving our $15,000 goal. With these funds, we will finally be able to put together the pieces of this documentary and share it with everyone who has supported it over the past three years. It’s been a road full of ups and downs, but it has been a beautiful one nonetheless.

As I make attempts to continue moving forward as a filmmaker, I am always reminded of something Claire Prieto, a groundbreaking and game-changing Trinidadian-Canadian filmmaker, told me last year. She said sometimes it may take a year, maybe three years, sometimes even eight to finish a film, and others may even make films about the same thing. But if you stick to your vision, no one will tell it in exactly the same way you do. I deeply feel that the collective of voices in Shadeism gives way for a womyn-told, womyn-focused collection of narratives, which is really all its own. As I look over the footage so far, I am moved as I revisit the ways in which this collective narrative has grown and continues to come closer together, and my biggest goal is for us to finally put it together and share it with others.

We are grateful for all of your support so far, and we hope that we can work together with you in this last big push before we finally pull the pieces of this story together and share it with the world.

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Nivethika Thambithurai

Nivethika Thambithurai

Born in Montreal and raised in Toronto, Nive is a dreamer and writer who loves exploring how Tamil culture varies around the world in fashion, food, films and music.

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