Last night, I watched Love and Hip-Hop Atlanta — Yes, reality TV, remember this is a guilt-free zone. —
Spice’s bleached-light skin and bright blonde hair made me pause and wonder how many other women felt the way that she did? How many other women felt that bleaching their skin would make them beautiful?
It was a trigger, because I remember growing up and questioning my own beauty, because girls who looked like me weren’t celebrated. There was nothing particularly special or beautiful about being a brown-skinned girl.
I still remember getting those backhanded compliments. —
“You’re pretty for a darkskinned girl.”What does that even mean?
But the backhanded compliments became few and far between as I got older. And they began to be refreshing compared to the vile ones.
“She’s just too darkskinned for me. She cool to death though.”Again, what does that mean?
These comments richocheted in my head until my early teen years. At that young age, I was forced to learn to self-heal, to survive. Further, I learned to be confident and thrive.
And as I grew older I no longer saw “pretty-for-a-darkskin-girl” as a backhanded compliment. I learned to celebrate my own darkskin.
I taught myself that dark chocolate is something most people desire, by treating myself like something to be desired.
When I gave birth to my daughter she grew into beautiful brown skin like me. I made a silent vow to myself and her. —
I vowed that she would never have to question her own beauty because I would instill so much confidence in her that would literally be able to handle anything that comes her way.
My babygirl is 12 now but I’ve spent the passing years whispering in her ear how beautiful she is. Sometimes yelling in her face how brilliant she is. Always willing her to believe what I couldn’t see in myself growing up. And now she walks with so much confidence. — She LITERALLY thinks she is the SHIT. —
And guess what ?!
She is !!!!
I was so proud when she dismissed a boy because he told her that she was only a 7 out of 10 in his eyes.
Her reply — “Boy, I’ma 1000!!”
This was a proud moment for me as a mother. When I was 12 years old, I didn’t have the level of confidence that she exudes so naturally.
Hell, I know some grown women who don’t know how to walk away from people who don’t value them.
Yet, my 12-year-old daughter is out here chunking the deuces to any little boy who doesn’t value her as a young queen.
As older women, it is our RESPONSIBILITY to instill confidence in the younger generation of women.
My daughter sees far more women of color that look like her on TV and in magazines than I EVER did– but programming like VH1’s Love & Hip Hop proves that it’s not enough and we have a long way to go.
I need my daughter to hear it and know it from me — that you are the SHIT —
How has skin color or colorism affected you or your children? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for rocking with the Queen y’all.
WritteN by Queen, edited by W.D. Herstun, and illustrated by MARCUS THE VISUAL. Again, for this piece we are unbelievably blessed to bring together amazing artists and viewpoints.
WE ARE HUGE fanS of MARCUS THE VISUAL. Like, fan-girl style. He is an AMAZING PROFESSIONAL illustrator based in Atlanta that IS WORKING on SOOOOOO MANY AMAZING PROJECTS INCLUDING TUSKEGEE HEIRS (pictured below) AND SUPER NATURAL (pictured in the above post).
As you can see — He is incredibly talented and there are so many ways to support him and also to support new and interesting content thats unique. Variety is the spice of art.
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