Race on Film

I chose a quote from the Gates reading that I was really intrigued by. The idea that technologies that were created on the basis of using white skin as their baseline bothered me, and I wanted to learn more. As I read more about the topic, I was surprised to find that there is almost no emphasis on educating filmmakers how to light skin that isn’t white. For my video, I pulled from a skit from Amy Schumer’s show that commented on the way interracial couples are photographed, as well as a video that outlined how film companies, such as Kodak, have long optimized the reproduction of mainly white skin. The audio is a mixture of these two videos. In addition, I borrowed from the film referenced in Gate’s article, Coming to America, where the bride’s wedding dress was pink in order to accommodate for the cinematographers not knowing how to capture Eddie Murphy’s skin tone. I compared this scene to a snippet from the trailer of Season 2 of Insecure, which is a show that has been praised for lighting and capturing black skin correctly and beautifully. I found several examples of magazines lightening the black skin of celebrities on their magazines to illustrate the consequences of failing to emphasize the importance of capturing all skin tones accurately. To further make that point, I recorded my screen to show the many results that pop up when you google “how to lighten skin.” I felt that all of these materials combined would give a viewer a clear understanding of the quote I chose by providing a good amount of context. I felt that showing the difference between Coming to America and Insecure illustrated how great the results can be if cinematographers are educated about the lighting needs of different skin tones.

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