Lee Thomas reflects on World Vitiligo Day, narrates short film Shed Some Light

June 25 is World Vitiligo Day and on this day annually, I always have to reflect. I have been dealing with vitiligo for almost 3 decades now. And my skin has gone from beautiful brown to a pale white. It has forced me to answer questions about my identity and how I chose to deal with people.  And man, the lessons I have learned defined me in a way I never expected. My story has traveled the globe and you never know who will get inspiration for your journey.  

So, when I got a DM on Instagram from a person in Brazil. I didn't think much of it. I read it and something told me to not just disregard this one.  

My pictures from my book and videos that I have been in have been pirated and used for some of the oddest and, sometimes, offensive stories I have seen. One time a friend sent me a poster for an event in Lagos and a picture of me from my book was the main one-sheet poster for the event and all ancillary event info. They didn't even ask and my lawyer said it's not worth pursuing. 

So, the fact that this group was even asking was actually nice. They simply wanted to use words from one of my speeches for a movie they were making.  I looked at their webpage and said yes but ask for the right to see the film before they released it.

I said, "sure!" And when they sent me the link for the 4-minute movie they made. I was blown away. It was moving. The way they used my words as the narrative for the entire film and the way they captured the people with vitiligo was accurate to the struggle.

So, on this world vitiligo weekend. I hope this film inspires many! I want people to understand the disease, but most of all I want people who have it to live their lives. Live with strength and gusto and understand they do not walk this journey alone.

Thanks to brother and sister filmmakers Fabio and Marilia Meirelles from Irmaos Meirelles or I.M Films in Sao Paulo Brazil and the US company Film Supply.

With much love and respect, 
Lee Thomas 
Fox 2 Detroit

If you want to know more about the movie you can find details at this link.

Also, here are a couple of links to organizations that help vitiligo around the world: