Now hear me out. The Proud Family was a huge staple in my childhood, I was an eight-year old child excited that a cartoon looked like me. However, with age came great wisdom and that wisdom was: Colorism. The Proud Family is riddled with it which is quite unfortunate. Penny is light-skinned and revered after. Penny’s best friend, Dijonay, who is dark skin is ridiculed, considered undesirable, ghetto, and loud. Other characters considered attractive on the show are previously mentioned Penny Proud, Trudy Proud (Penny’s mom), LaCienega Boulevardez, and Sunset Boulevardez (LaCienega’s mother) all lighter-skinned women (whether light skin black or Hispanic).
While yes, we’ve moved away from the racist character depictions of Little Black Sambo it has seemed that we moved into the realms of colorism. Colorism is a form of racism and stems from slave days. Lighter skin tones were more desirable and they were shades closer to white. House slaves tended to be light skins and were given the more “desirable” slave work compared to dark skins who were made to do physically taxing fieldwork. Depictions of black people in film were just are colorist, Little Black Sambo was the darkest shade of black, with the largest pinkest lips and the whitest of eye characters like Sambo were written to be dumb and or useless.
Now to bring us back to Proud Family, the colorism ran deep with the aforementioned, Dijonay being a great example. However, one that took me years to understand was that of the Gross Sisters. First of all the Gross Sisters are depicted blue because they are too poor to afford lotion therefore, they are ashy. Instead, they are named Olei (Olay), Gina (Neutrogena), and Nubia (Nivea) after the skincare products they apparently cannot afford. The Gross Sisters have spent so much time in the sun they have turned to the blackest form of black.. blue. My interpretation of this is we can tell when black people are broke by the blue-ness of their skin.
So my question for you….