How a Racial Justice Mini Grant Recipient Started Critical Conversations About Colorism


Tigidankay (TK) Saccoh (she/her) is a 22-year-old anti-colorism advocate, public speaker, content creator, and fourth-year student studying Psychology and Public Health at Columbia College. When she was 20 years old, TK created the Darkest Hue. She regularly curates original, thought-provoking content and publishes heartfelt testimonials from young Black women and girls about their unique experiences with colorism. TK's work has been featured in the Malala Fund, Ebony MagazineForbes, and NBC's The Today Show.

May 11, 2022

Can you tell us about yourself? 

I’m studying psychology and public health. I’m also a content creator/anti-colorism advocate. 

In the summer of 2020 I started the Instagram platform, “The Darkest Hue,” where I try to amplify the stories of dark-skinned Black girls and women like me who've experienced colorism, and give them a platform to be super vulnerable about how that makes them feel. On the flip side I also do a lot of investigative research to try to call attention to the way colorism operates on a systemic level.  I think sometimes the conversations about colorism happen on the personal, individual level, which is obviously important, but it's like any type of oppression - it’s going to affect people structurally. 

And that's what I want to do at this conference. I think by calling attention to the scholarly work and evidence that shows that there are intra-racial disparities within the Black community because of colorism, I think people will be able to find the language to describe it, have these conversations and take it more seriously. I really hope that by inviting the public and inviting anyone who wants to participate, people won't feel so frightened by the academic jargon.

Can you tell us more about your Racial Justice Mini Grant project/upcoming conference? 

There are going to be two speakers, Dr. Trina Jones of Duke University School of Law and Dr. Ellis Monk, sociology professor at Harvard. They've done a lot of research on colorism, particularly Dr. Monk has focused on intra-racial health disparities seen among darker-skinned Black people in terms of higher incidence rates of hypertension and other chronic health conditions. And his research shows that, as self-reported incidents of colorism rise, so do health afflictions and conditions.

Dr. Jones’ work is really interesting; she's a lawyer, so she focuses on the legal aspects of colorism. I think her work is really important; she is urging lawyers and legal experts to consider the problems with colorism. She’s helping to make space for people who are wronged in their workplaces and discriminated against in society to seek and receive redress on harms they experienced due to colorism. 

I was tired of waiting for a platform to be made that would cater to my specific needs. So I decided to make it.

Tigidankay (TK) Saccoh

How did the idea for this come about? 

I knew some friends who did the Racial Justice Mini-Grant during the first year, and I thought their projects were really cool.

This conference is something that I've been wanting to do for a while. I just needed money, structure, and guidance. I’ve been involved with conferences, but it’s so much harder when you’re the one organizing it. 

I didn't really know what [the conference] would look like. I didn't know what to focus on, exactly. But I homed in on the academic and research aspect. I love to highlight that on my page, when I create content and connect to what people are feeling and root it into something concrete they can reference when they're having debates or conversations. 

Why did you create “The Darkest Hue”? What was your goal with it? 

I created it because in the summer of 2020 there were just so many things happening around the country in terms of anti-Blackness. These very highly sensationalized displays of anti-Blackness, whether it was police brutality or some other highly publicized, televised form of anti-Blackness. And I noticed how Black women would always start organizing and rally behind Black men in particular.

But I always felt like Black women were sort of never really given their props or recognition, or that support was never really reciprocated. Then I started thinking about my own experiences growing up. Particularly as a dark-skinned Black girl and just the many ways I feel like because of how I look, and how dark my skin is, people, even Black people, have discounted me or haven't always felt an urgency to advocate on my behalf.

I started having conversations with my friends, and then I decided to make a platform that I knew I would have really benefited from and needed when I was younger. I was tired of waiting for a platform to be made that would cater to my specific needs. So I decided to make it.