Why is it still a contentious argument as to what is considered pretty; being dark skin or light skin? During my school age days I was either called ugly or “too pretty for a dark skin girl”. I battled with the struggle of not knowing whether a girl my color can be pretty or not. Girls with the same skin tone or darker shades are constantly being reminded that there’s something obviously different with their complexion. But my question is why is there a suppressing image of black women?
I learned to embrace my color during my college years after I made myself answer the following questions.
1. Why does it matter what society considered beautiful?
2. How will the answer to that add or take away my inner beauty?
3. if I became what society expected of me then what value do I hold of myself?
From there I concluded to never allow anyone to define who I am.
A friend said to me “I am beautiful because I am lighter, that is what makes me unique, maybe I wouldn’t look this cute if was dark”. Now just ponder on this for a split second and place yourself in the mind of a 7year old black girl who looks like the photo below. I’m sure my friend meant no harm but had no clue the power behind those words.
Even though I have friends who were dark now a shade or two lighter, I am aware of my beautiful features without the question of my complexion. From the size or my nose to my small ears, to my wide forehead and my big round uneven eyeballs and my beautiful thick brows. The long showers won’t do it young people, neither will the “fair claires”.
It’s amazing after arriving in African in this day and age all you see on billboards and on televisions are skin lightening commercials. I have come to realization that it’s a mental bondage. If anywhere in the world should be promoting skin bleaching, our origin should be the last place. It will start with self consciousness.
My beautiful black, dark, brown, godiva, hershey’s women or whatever shade you consider yourself let’s accept who we are so these young men and women of the next generation will not be threaten by each other or be embarrassed but rather embrace each other.
Personally in spite of it all, I am proud to be an example for young black dark skin girls to accept who they are. Just remember you have more inside of you than what people see outside of you.
What comes to mind when you think of a woman on a move? I hope it included a pair of high heels, bold lipstick with a confident walk. The five women panelists at the tenth anniversary for women on the move in collaboration with New York University OBW represented this kind of woman from all walks of life. The ladies on Defying The Box: Female entrepreneurs breaking stereotypes included Celines Toribio; an immigrant actress breaking cultural barriers, Karen Civil; an author, philanthropist and social media maven who strongly believe in responding back to people with success, Tracy G; a music writer, radio personality who repetition is the mother learning, Shante Bacon; founder and CEO of 135th street agency whose final thought to the audience was to have a relationship with God, and last but not the least, to a Bronx stripper using her God-given assets to manipulate men in any situation to become a cast member of Love & Hip Hop: NY, Cardi B.
By the entrance of the auditorium was a table set-up for a ten day transfer nation cleanse that exclude starving your body presented by a Television producer NoNe. Her goal is to combine eating healthy and giving your body the right nutrients while enriching the minds and success of the attendees. Her personal experience after finding new love and becoming a vegetarian for the first time made her question her weight gain and decided to commit to the ten day transformation.
What these women shared in common was determination, hard and simply shutting all ears and eyes to social media brutality and spectators. Some key important truths that have made these women successful in life is making their word their contract and also understanding that someone else’s success is not their failure. This simply means the race is not to compete with others you don’t know especially people you see on social media because everyones pace, struggle, and success is different said Karen Civil.
During this panel discussion Shante Bacon the Visionary and Public relations emphasized on the audience becoming the best of them in anything they decide to do even if that includes being a janitor. “Come up with the best strategy and be the best you because if you’re dreaming big you must commit big”. She concluded. Tracy continued the conversation of taking care of self by providing yourself with self-awareness and keeping these two questions in mind; 1. Where was I winning? and 2. What winning do I want for myself? Celine raised a very important fact about following your personal dream and not the followers and in the process make sure you are kind to yourself.
What I personally took from this group of ladies is to embrace delayed gratification and celebrate you. Put yourself first and making sure you connect with others who can be influential in what you do. These people are called mentors. They are all around you. Be strategic about your mentor and preserve that relationship but always remember men want you to be good not great but we are given this life to make a legacy. We’ve been placed in this place for a reason.