Filmmaker Daphne Valerius's award-winning documentary The Souls of Black Girls explores how media images of beauty undercut the self-esteem of African-American women. Valerius surveys the dominant white, light-skinned, and thin ideals of beauty that circulate in the culture, from fashion magazines to film and music video, and talks with African-American girls and women about how these images affect the way they see themselves. The film also features powerful commentary from rapper and activist Chuck D, actresses Regina King and Jada Pinkett Smith, PBS news anchor Gwen Ifill, cultural critic Michaela Angela Davis, and others.
Over the years, The Souls of Black Girls has screened at hundreds of universities and organizations around the country, and earned Valerius the Rising Female Filmmaker Award at the Harlem Int'l Film Festival. In 2015, it aired on ASPIRE TV in association with the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, earning Valerius a trip to the White House as an invited guest of First Lady Michelle Obama.
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