Tisha Campbell talks “Light Skinned Privilege” and the way Spike Lee fueled tensions in colorism while making “School Daze.”

Colorism in Hollywood is far from a new concept. actress Tisha Campbell has been in the entertainment industry since she was young and has seen and experienced the pros and cons of a lighter complexion.

One of those experiences reportedly took place when Campbell was a film director Spike Lee’s 1998 cult classic School Daze. The film highlights the social hierarchy in a fictional black college experience where Greek organizations compete largely on the basis of colorism. According to the ‘My Wife and Kids’ actress, the tensions built into the film’s plot were present even when the cameras weren’t rolling.

Tisha Campbell Photo: Tishacampbellmartin/Instagram

In the film, Campbell portrayed Jane Toussant, the leader of the Gamma Ray sorority, which was composed primarily of fair-skinned women with light-colored eyes and long hair. The organization’s on-screen rivals were the “Jigaboos,” made up of dark-skinned women who took on their natural hair texture.

Despite efforts to create real-world tension between the cast, Campbell said she never allowed it to affect her interactions with her fellow cast members. “I was always at the motel with everyone else. I hung out with them. But it should create a real chaos of methods,” she said. But the “Martin” actress isn’t naive about the ways she may have been favored for roles that black actresses with darker skin were never considered for.

“No, it’s true and it’s real. There is such a thing as light-skinned privilege. It’s very real that people have had to deal with this,” Campbell said. “We’re celebrating melanin right now. We’re just beginning to understand how beautiful Black really is, our own people. You know what I mean?” she added.

In the past, Lee has claimed that School Daze was the inspiration for Bill Cosby’s A Different World. The show was a spin-off of The Cosby Show and followed that show’s eldest daughter, Denise Huxtable, to the fictional black institution of Hillman College. It premiered in September 1987, just five months before the release of Lee’s film.

“And for the record. SCHOOL DAZE was filmed before DIFFERENT WORLD. Robbi Reed cast both. Bill Cosby set us up. #FACT #schooldazeonnetflix,” Lee tweeted.

https://atlantablackstar.com/2022/08/01/we-are-just-now-celebrating-melanin-tisha-campbell-talks-light-skinned-privilege-and-the-ways-spike-lee-fueled-colorism-tension-while-making-school-daze/ Tisha Campbell talks “Light Skinned Privilege” and the way Spike Lee fueled tensions in colorism while making “School Daze.”

James Brien

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