Nationwide — Rashida Strober is the first dark skin woman to put colorism and dark skin on the map through a concept and brand she created in 1998. The brand of activism she created is called Dark Skin Activism, which has the goal of eliminating colorism and darkism on a global level. It was at St. Petersburg College where Rashida gave her first lecture on dark skin discrimination aka darkism. This marked the birth of the first platform in history, making her the world’s first dark skin activist.
From the time she was a little girl, Rashida struggled to understand why everyone treated her differently for having dark skin and nappy hair. There was no social media or reality TV show to provide answers. They say necessity is the mother of invention so Rashida created Dark Skin Activism, and branded herself the Dark Skin Activist – an activist who specifically advocates against darkism and colorism. By doing so, she took control to understand the problem of darkism and colorism and became the solution by creating from scratch the first form of activism to advocate against darkism and colorism.
By creating Dark Skin Activism, Rashida created a conceptual framework to understand and fight her oppression and the oppression experienced by millions of dark-skinned people around the world. This form of activism was unheard of before she created it. As a part of the brand of Dark Skin Activism, Rashida has created a body of work that focuses only on dark skin and has been doing this since 1998. Rashida is the first artist, actress, social commentator, playwright, and author to focus her work only on dark skin. In fact, there was no such thing as darkism, colorism or dark skin issues defined as a concrete and methodical platform before Rashida created it.
A graduate of the University of South Florida, Rashida holds a Bachelor’s Degree in History and a Master’s Degree in Political Science. As such, understanding the historical and political significance of dark skin and how it has shaped our lives has always been of utmost importance to her. That’s why for years Rashida has been writing books specializing in dark skin, darkism, and colorism and is the first and only author to focus her writing exclusively on dark skin issues. She has authored more books than anyone on dark skin. Those books include Darkism: 25 Ways Dark Skin People are Discriminated Against, How to be The Hottest Dark Skin Chick on The Planet, Token Dark Girl: The It Dark Girl of the Moment, A Dark Skin Woman’s Revenge and A Dark Skin Girl’s Triumph: The Rashida Strober Story.
Rashida’s groundbreaking work has combined art and the politics of having a dark skin tone which no one has done before her. In doing so she created a new lane with laser-sharp focus on having dark skin. Rashida wrote, produces, and stars in a one-woman show which is the original and definitive play about dark skin written in 2006 called A Dark Skin Woman’s Revenge. She has been performing this play about darkism since 2006 on a tour that she calls the Dark Skin Activist Tour. A Dark Skin Woman’s Revenge centers on the concept of darkism, an idea, word, and concept created by Rashida. While anyone can experience racism and colorism, Rashida’s concept of darkism takes the politics of having dark skin to a level never seen before. She defined darkism to mean a unique set of circumstances and discriminations that dark-skinned people face. In short, Rashida defines darkism as dark-skinned discrimination. Rashida also wrote the book, Darkism that what it means and provides concrete examples in daily life.
The story of the world’s first Dark Skin Activist has not been without controversy and struggle. First, they mock you then they copy you. Ironically, when Rashida began presenting her unique, original and never heard of ideas on social media people mocked her and called her crazy for being the first activist to speak out against colorism and darkism. Rashida found this to be strange. Before social media she worked in the community for years as an independent producer of her darkism/colorism plays, giving free darkism lectures and performances in schools, churches and at community events. She garnered press coverage by being written about in the newspapers and appearing on TV. For example, she was the feature story in the Tampa Bay Times in 2013 and appeared on Bay News 9 in 2013 to talk about her play about dark skin and colorism. She was also written about in other newspapers in 2010 and 2011.
With the advent and popularity of social media she saw a chance to expand her original, unique and never done before brand of Dark Skin Activism. In 2009 Rashida created the first dark skin/colorism/ darkism YouTube Channel called Rashida Strober Dark Skin TV. She simply brought the work of Dark Skin Activism which she was engaged in years before social media online. This activism included her colorism counseling, keynote speaking in the Pinellas County School District, darkism plays and books, and lectures about dark skin. This marked the first time that anyone online had created a platform to focus solely on colorism and darkism.
Because her ideas were never done before nor ever heard of before in the black social media or reality TV masses, she began to garner the attention of black social media personalities online. The first person was Tommy Sotomayor back in 2014. After seeing one of her Facebook posts encouraging black men to tell dark skinned women they are beautiful, Tommy invited her onto his platform to speak about her original Dark Skin Activist agenda. This would eventually mark the first colorism/ darkism beef between a black man and woman on social media. After going on the show Rashida received negative feedback about speaking on colorism and darkism because people were not used to hearing about colorism and darkism in such a bold and honest manor. The fact is that no black dark-skinned woman had ever did what Rashida had done before, start a platform to talk about it openly and honestly. Colorism may have been whispered about at family gatherings or amongst friends but never was it discussed as an actual platform with a specific eradication agenda before Rashida made it into one.
A year after appearing on Tommy Sotomayor’s platform, the Dark Skin Activist went viral and became social media famous after a post she made about Kendrick Lamar’s colorism/darkism. Charlamagne and The Breakfast Club made her “Donkey of The Day” for her unique and original commentary as the Dark Skin Activist. This caused millions of black people around the world to know who she was, introducing them to this new, strange and never heard of platform called Dark Skin Activism, the first platform in history to advocate against colorism and darkism. In the aftermath of the first darkism/ colorism social media controversy that Rashida started she received death threats and was mocked relentlessly. Rashida knew that colorism among black people was never a platform and issue prior to her bringing it to social media. That is why she never imagined that she would be mocked and later copied for all the hard work that she started before anyone cared about darkism and colorism as an issue.
After mocking her people flocked to her channel and began copying her content. Other channels on Youtube about colorism began to pop up which was never done before Rashida. People on reality TV began talking about colorism which they had never done before. Even celebrities began riding the wave, by writing books about colorism which Rashida had done first and had been doing for years before anyone decided to speak about it. The only other person that wrote books that spoke about colorism before Rashida was Kola Boof. After making her “Donkey of the Day,” Charlemagne and The Breakfast Club never brought Rashida on to their platform to speak on her dark skin, darkism and colorism agenda which had sparked the entire conversation about colorism on social media and even reality TV. However, three years later, after Rashida put colorism and dark skin on the social media map as a real issue, The Breakfast Club brought a reality TV personality onto their show to speak on the same issue. This person had no prior history of speaking about colorism. People like her and others began using colorism as talking points and storylines which they had never done prior to Rashida. “This was a slap in the face to me,” Rashida says. “I was mocked and bashed for being the first dark-skinned woman to introduce the issue to the Black social media masses.”
Through it all, Rashida Strober continues to forge the original path she started back in 1998 to help people cope with darkism. On Friday, June 26th, 2020 at 7:30 PM Eastern time, she will do a live stream pay per view performance of the original play about dark skin, colorism and darkism called A Dark Skin Woman’s Revenge. Through pay per view live stream the one-woman play about darkism can be watched from anywhere worldwide. People that live in the Atlanta area can come out and see A Dark Skin Woman’s Revenge in person at The White Label located at 349 Decatur Street SE Unit M, Atlanta, GA.
For more details and/or to purchase tickets, visit DarkSkinActivist.com