Skin: Showing the Horrors of White Privilege

A horror festival theatre piece that explored the effects of white privilege and the appropriation of black bodies.

Illustrator: Jade Mulcahy

The Twin Cities Horror Festival (TCHF) is a yearly two weekend-long Twin Cities theatre marathon at the end of October, which asks local artists to devise and perform new, horrific theatre pieces. As stated on the TCHF website, one of the many reasons why the horror fest occurs every year is, “Horror demands the exploration of the unknown and terrible.”  Dangerous Productions pushed that statement this year with their piece, “Skin.”

Skin” tackled the terrifying and all too real issue of white privilege and the acceptance of certain physical characteristics that were never praised on black women throughout history, but are now sought after in modern, white media. “Skin” mixed the gory dissection of women by a plastic surgeon with the disturbing desire of a white woman to physically steal these body parts for herself to create this truly horrific performance.

This forced  me to acknowledge the toxicity of secular acceptance of these features on a white woman without their true acceptance of the bodies to which they are natural.

What I found most terrifying about this piece was the directness of the language used. The audience heard a white woman on stage say she wants the “ass” of one black woman, the nose of another, the lips of yet another and the coloration of their skin in general, but did not want to actually be black.

This forced me to acknowledge the toxicity of secular acceptance of these features on a white woman without their true acceptance of the bodies to which they are natural. We are constantly presented with celebrities getting surgery to make their butts bigger and enlarge their lips.

Skin” brought up the important issue of what this means for black women when they see the features that are naturally theirs be praised only when placed on a white body.


Dangerous Productions is a St. Paul-based theatre company whose mission is to “reveal the stories and amplify the voices of audiences and artists in Minnesota communities”. To follow what they are doing next and read more about their previous work, go to dangerousproductions.org.