Dark Girls (documentary circa 2011) was an eye opener for me. The fact that some black women are growing up not loving their skin was foreign. I always loved my skin and never felt ugly because of it. My friends (to this day) always represented a rainbow of colors/races and are all beautiful in their own way. However, me loving my black didn’t take away from them, nor did them loving their skin take away from me. If someone didn’t like me because of my black, it was there issue because I am beautiful. When people complimented my skin or said I was a pretty color brown, I looked at them funny. What exactly did that mean? Was it the soap I used that made my skin extra pretty? It took years for me to figure out they meant not too light or too dark.
When I watched this documentary about how some women felt bad about being black, I was nauseated. I know the director and writer had good intentions because truthfully some females feel this way (I don’t know any). Surely it could have been more balanced with women who loved their skin. It gives an unbalanced view that black women don’t desire to be black. Many women featured in Dark Girls expressed feelings of low self esteem and even spoke of comments by their own family members. Black women as far as Africa are “bleaching” their skin only to have ugly side effects. I was floored.
Isn’t all brown beautiful though? My mama said it and I believed her!
Growing up, my mother fostered a love of my brown skin. If I had a doll, it was black. Yes my Barbies and my Cabbage Patch kid was black like me. Regardless of what doll it was or how hard to find…she was black. My role models growing up looked like me too. Everyone from Chaka Khan to Whitney Houston played in my household. I saw those beautiful women and wanted to be them. Better yet, I knew I could be them because they looked just like me.
My mom, a beautiful brown skin woman walked, talked, and acted like she owned the world. That was my main role model of beauty. She made sure she told me daily I was beautiful. So over the years, even those awkward teenage ones, I owned that.
The images in the media that we are flooded with don’t accurately portray the rainbow of black women and maybe that is part of the problem. With role models that rarely look like them, it’s no wonder why some little girls are growing up not loving themselves. Is it up to the media to tell us what beauty is? I don’t think so. No thanks, I’ll be me instead!
Show your children how to be kings and queens. Tell them their black is beautiful. Tell them they are more than twerkers, baby mamas, and fights on websites. It is not the media’s job to give your children self esteem. It’s yours! The confident young man I raised is a direct result of me pouring life into him. That is my job, not the media.
For my part, I make sure when I go in public I represent myself well, not just for me, but for the other black girls that are watching. I hold my head high and own it. I’m not tanning or bleaching. My black is beautiful the shade it is.
So, whatever shade/shape/race you are…OWN IT don’t be ashamed of it!