Q & A With Journalist & “The Souls of Black Girls” Documentary Producer, Daphne Valerius

thesoulsofblackgirlsLast November I had the privilege of attending a screening of a documentary involving the representation of black women in media entitled, “The Souls of Black girls.” Featuring Regina King, Jada Pinkett-Smith, the late Gwen Ifill,  and Rapper Chuck D to name a few, this film presented hard truths that are often ignored even now, ten years after it was first produced. The screening and the discussion that followed left me wanting more, so I reached out to the creator and producer, Daphne Valerius for some insights as to her film and the planned sequel that is in the works.

Host, Producer and Entrepreneur Daphne Valerius

Check out my talk with her below.

Disclaimer: Responses have been edited for clarity and length.

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+Size Matters: Glee

I’ll be honest, I didn’t get into Glee until I heard that Darren Criss of YouTube/StarKid fame was cast to play a new character during Season 2. (As of today I still haven’t completed season one, mostly because I can’t stand the character of Terri, Will Schuster’s first wife.) An American musical dramedy, Glee aired on Fox from 2009 to 2015. The series initially focused on performing arts-loving Spanish teacher William Schuster reinventing the McKinley High School Glee Club, the New Directions, challenging outcast students to follow their dreams by taking part of the show choir competition circuit. While they work on their performances the members of the New Directions struggle with low self-esteem, relationships, race, sexuality, bulling, eating disorders and other social issues. Though working to present show had a lot of flaws (many of the serious issues and problems are resolved in a very ridiculous, unrealistic way) though that still doesn’t take away from much of the positive representation it brought on. Glee is rare in that it made a point to have racial, gender and size diversity with its protagonists, antagonists and supporting cast. They weren’t completely left in the side lines, and even better was the fact that the story lines of these characters rarely dealt with the fact that they were different. Note that I said RARELY, and I will get to that in a minute. As always we will start with the good by looking at four of the plus size characters of Glee. Continue reading

+Size Matters: Phat Girlz

Growing up in the United States made me accustomed to the Westernized standard of feminine beauty: thin, tall, of fair skin and straight hair. It never once occurred to me that my body type, skin tone and even hair could be considered the epitome of beauty someplace else. That surprise came when I traveled to Jamaica, W.I. back in 2013 for a conference.

Ironically, my workshop dealt with being single and I had started by telling the women stories of my unsuccessful dating life. One of the mature ladies at one point asked why my last relationship didn’t work out and I responded by saying that the young man had a particular type and I didn’t fit it due to my weight. I followed that by explaining that the unfortunate reality is that most of the men I am/have been attracted to just aren’t interested in women that look like me. At saying that the entire group of 60 women fell silent.

Once the workshop was over I was approached by two of the ladies (who were thin, curvy and model-status beautiful) said that I should not be so hung out for not being “the perfect size 8” because on the island men preferred women that looked like me over them. I was stunned. Of course the idea that beauty standards were not the same around the world was something that had been suggested to me prior to this trip when I was  a teenager back in 2006, via a film, but I figured it was just a fantasy created for the sole purpose of giving the story of a plus size protagonist a happy ending. That film of course was Phat Girlz.
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