In 2005, the Reel Works website crashed and our phones didn’t stop ringing in response to Kiri Davis’ award-winning documentary A Girl Like Me that was produced in the Fall 2005 Lab at Reel Works. The film explores the standards of beauty imposed on young African American women today.
It has won several awards including the Media that Matters Diversity Award and received coverage via mainstream media outlets such as HBO, CNN, ABC, and NPR.
Davis, then 16 years old, became interested in Brown v. Board of Education, and also Kenneth and Mamie Clark’s groundbreaking 1940’s study of psychological effects of segregation on black children. She recreated the Clark study and asked children to choose between two dolls: a light-skinned one and a dark-skinned one. 15 out of 21 children preferred the lighter-skinned doll when asked to pick “the nice doll.” Davis also interviews friends who speak candidly about the importance of color, hair quality, and facial features for young black women today in the United States.
Reel Works, along with Kiri credits her mentor, the award-winning filmmaker, Shola Lynch, for helping her make A Girl Like Me.
Please take some time to watch and think about Kiri Davis’ provocative seven-minute documentary, “A Girl Like Me“ from 2005. Then if you have a comment, tell us – Does the premise of this story still ring true today in 2013?