“I am dripping melanin and honey.
I am black without apology”.
As a woman of colour my beauty, my hair has always be undermined and seen as second best. My beauty was never enough. I should be lighter, with thinner lips and a straighter nose. I despised my features, growing up and always wanted to change it. Despised? Yes, I despised them. I would regularly go to bed at night crying to God, asking why couldn’t I be prettier? I would hear and see men go for lighter women and say to me as a darker girl, ‘yeah you are pretty for a dark skin girl’. What does that even mean? I watched women with darker skin tones use creams, to get lighter. I can even say that I dabbled with these ‘toning’ creams and became increasingly happy with the results as I got lighter until my friend told me to stop, it was getting ridiculous. That was my reality check.
Alot of us forget that stage in our lives where being a woman of colour was not fashionable. Our features were not celebrated. It was not fashionable to celebrate our dark skin, we didn’t have celebrities such as Lupita Nyong’o who rocks her natural self with elegance and grace. Living in the United Kingdom and getting teased for having cornrows or ‘boxer braids’ *rolls eyes* because they were not fashionable then.
The world is changing and slowly embracing the varieties of skin tones. But a part of me looks at the younger generation growing up in a world where black women are not afraid to stand up for who they are, and I think, if only you knew how things were ten to fifteen years ago. If only they fully understood the struggle it took for black women to now stand strong in different industries with their heads held high, pushing past society’s limitations.
Now, L’Oreal does a campaign which includes women of colour, back then they did not even acknowledge the fact that black women existed and may potentially want to use their products. The world is changing…hopefully for the better. But we all need to continue to do our part. Educate and equip young girls and other women with the tools of self-confidence, self-belief and self-love. They need to understand that they are made in God’s image and do not need external validation of their worth. If you know your worth, the battle has been won. They need these tools to survive this image-obsessed, borderline narcissistic society. They are at a critical stage in their lives.
Do your part.
If you are the type of woman that still enjoys calling out another woman’s flaws, highlighting the negatives, instead of focussing on the positives, then you are part of the problem. If you are the type of woman, who just focuses on herself all the time, then you are part of the problem.
Do your part. Influence, empower, and educate the generations after you.