Rachel Dolezal to be featured in documentary on Black beauty

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Tiffany Stewart
·4 min read
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The documentary is centered around the Miss Black America beauty pageant

Rachel Dolezal may be making her way back into the spotlight thanks to a documentary titled Subjects of Desire, which will premiere at SXSW later this week.

For those that may have forgotten, Dolezal, also known as Nkechi Amare Diallo, was a hot topic subject for most of 2015 when her parents outed her for being a White woman passing as a Black woman. Her parents came forward with their statement after Dolezal filed a report to police and local news that she had been a victim of race-related hate crimes.

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After all the outrage, it may come across odd or even questionable that filmmaker and director Jennifer Holness even thought of Dolezal when casting her project. Yet, to her, it made complete sense. Necessary, even.

“It wasn’t a commercial thought,” she explains to The Daily Beast. “It wasn’t like I thought, ‘Oh my God, if I put her in, it’ll be controversial!’ No, not at all. I’m doing a film on Black women and beauty and this is the first time that I’ve come across a white woman pretending to be Black for 10 years when there wasn’t a massive financial benefit.”

“The standard of beauty historically has been white and that has been protected and upheld, so as someone who has that standard, she’s blonde with freckles and green eyes, and stepped away from that, there’s something there.”

On an episode of “The Tamron Hall Show,” Rachel Dolezal (above) said she has experienced financial challenges has been unable to secure a job based on what she calls being misunderstood. (TODAY)
On an episode of “The Tamron Hall Show,” Rachel Dolezal (above) said she has experienced financial challenges has been unable to secure a job based on what she calls being misunderstood. (TODAY)

Read More: Rachel Dolezal says she can’t find a job six years after transracial revelation

In the documentary, Dolezal remembers a time when her first husband, a Black man named Kevin Moore, tried to force her into a “white mold.” She shares, “He would make comments about how no white woman has that kind of butt, you need to get a respectable white butt.” Comments like these and others would “repress” her spirit, as she recalls.

Dolezal shares a time where she remembers being called “an insult” to both Black and white women. “White women are angry because I did what they never would do and went further, like I put 110. I didn’t just be that white ally and do a little bit, I canceled my white privilege. I canceled my hair. For Black women, I feel like it’s a reaction to pain. It’s like a trigger to post-traumatic stress.”

She also went on to share that she is most afraid of white men because they’re mostly “white supremacy folks.”

Despite how we may feel about Dolezal’s interesting point-of-view, it’s people like her and their infatuation of the Black body and culture that inspired Holness to make this film.

As a mother of three teenage daughters, Holness finds it interesting to hear their experiences about beauty “trends” compared to when she was growing up. For example, Holness was constantly teased about her lips’ sizes while now her daughters’ white friends praise their natural lips.

“I just thought, ‘What’s happened here?’ I wasn’t paying attention to the Kardashians or any of those things, but I actually started looking into the level of appropriation that was happening and discovering things like Blackfishing. It seemed really surprising to me. I’d actually never seen anything that took a comprehensive look at the larger context because we kind of live in the space of it. Once you start looking at this larger history, I felt like that story hadn’t been told well.”

Photo: Subjects of Desire trailer screenshot
Photo: Subjects of Desire trailer screenshot

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Subjects of Desire, written and directed by Holness, is centered around the 50th anniversary of the Miss Black America beauty pageant in 2018. Miss Black America was established in 1968 after the Miss America pageant enforced rules that only allowed a woman of the “white race” to compete. The rule was eventually abolished in 1950, but it wasn’t until 1970 that a Black woman entered the beauty pageant.

According to the film’s official website, the documentary is “Weaving through past and present and told from the point of view of women on both sides of the debate.” It goes on to explain that Subjects of Desire is “a culturally significant, thought-provoking documentary that ultimately deconstructs what we understand about race and the power behind the beauty.”

The documentary also features appearances from former Miss Black America winners and notable figures such Dr. Carolyn West and India Arie who aren’t afraid to challenge conventional beauty standards.

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The post Rachel Dolezal to be featured in documentary on Black beauty appeared first on TheGrio.