An image of Iyanla Vanzant and two ladies holding hands during Oprah's Lifeclass.

Iyanla Vanzant and Oprah discuss the origins and effects of colourism in Oprah's Lifeclass.

The issue of colourism affects everyone at one point or another. Oprah and Iyanla Vanzant held a Lifeclass to discuss this prejudice and discrimination against people based on their skin colour and or hair texture. The audience had people of mixed race, dark-skinned and light-skinned people. 

Iyanla explained that the issue started way back when Africans were taken to American to work on cotton fields. Over the years, the skin of some of the African Americans got lighter and those who were fair in complexion received favour from their masters and worked in the house while their darker counterparts remained in the fields. 

Iyanla added that although things have changed in society, this subject is being overlooked but it remains an important issue to discuss.

The step towards healing this “mental illness” is to:

A lot of dark-skinned people admitted that they thought that those with a fairer complexion had it better in life. However, the light-skinned people challenged this perseption saying that people saw them as conceited and arrogant because they were light.

Oprah said these dialogues helped people to see both sides of the coin.


Knowing that both sides had experienced prejudice was an aha! moment and helped deal with the social ill. 

So the closing statement was: 

Catch more life lessons on Oprah’s Lifeclass, Sundays at 20:55 on TLC Entertainment.