‘Beauty and the Bleach’, a new documentary by Queer Eye’s Tan France, explores colourism, also known as ‘shadism’, in the entertainment, fashion & beauty industries, as well as society as a whole.
Colourism, which is rooted in racism, is where a person is treated negatively based on the shade of their skin within their own community. In many cultures all over the world, success, wealth and status are is still attributed to having a lighter skin tone.
Tan who has experienced the first-hand effects of colourism (and racism) which led to him trying to lighten his skin with bleaching creams at aged just 9, sets out to discover the origins of colourism and its impact on people worldwide.
‘A group of men beat me and left me for dead and it was purely because I’m Pakistani and in England. It was common, it happened very regularly. Part of the reason I wanted to bleach was that people wouldn’t realise I was Asian.’
The presenter is hoping to break the cycle that pushed him to bleach and help kill the myth that White or light is better, which he believes derives from ‘centuries of conditioning’.
The show features interviews with singer Kelly Rowland, actress Bunmi Mojekwu and social media star Guhdeh Phillips.
Available to watch on BBC iplayer