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Monday, May 28, 2018

Dark Girls! (Melanin Magic)







So, a few days ago I was watching Jada Pinkett Smith new Facebook show Red Table Talk starring herself, her mother Adrienne, and her Daughter Willow, and the topic that week was body confessions. So, a viewer sent in a question about colorism in the black community and Adrienne suggested that everyone watch a documentary called Dark Girls.  So, me being a dark girl myself decided to check out the documentary. So, it was a Friday morning when I decided to watch it and I was at court for work. The doc started off with a beautiful dark skin little girl only about 6 years old, and she said she didn't like being called black; that statement touched me so much because I've felt that way growing up and I felt her pain to the point that I started to get choked up. While watching the show, I could relate to all the testimonies of the women and girls. Growing up being dark skin was not "it". My own personal experience was horrible. It might not have seemed that way to the people looking in because I tend to internalize my feelings making it seem like I’m ok and that’s a habit that I have carried on into adult hood. I grew up in a household full of girls, 7 to be exact and i’m the oldest. I have 3 sisters and 3 cousins and yup I'm the darkest. I take my complexion from my dad and being dark skin never really bothered me until other people started to bring it to my attention. Y’all know that it all starts in school right? I would start to realize that all the light skin girls got all the attention and if you were light with long hair than you were lucky and had no problem getting attention. Next, people would say smart comments like are you from Africa (there’s nothing wrong with being from Africa but yall know what was being implied), you're  too black, and I even got "that’s why you're “crispy from a family member. Y'all don’t get how much I hated myself for being dark, like why me outta everyone? I kinda think that’s why I was so tomboyish because it was better to just be friends with the guys than trying to get them to like, me and that way my feelings wouldn’t get hurt (I needed to have tough skin). I never thought about bleaching my skin, probably because I knew nothing about that, but I would make a conscience decision to stay out of the sun. I wouldn’t go outside until the sun went down and I would do anything to avoid getting darker. I remember one summer I went to the Jersey shore with my family and I love the beach, but this one day I was in the sun a little too long. When I went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror I knew instantly that I should've left the beach a little earlier; I was so mad on the inside like why would I allow myself to get any darker? Now back to the red table talk question, another viewer asked a question along the lines of how you teach your kids to have confidence if you lack it yourself? Jada said that you have to work on yourself, be happy with yourself, and love yourself before you can teach anything. Your kids feed off your energy and when they see that you love yourself, that energy will transfer on to them. That resonated with me because I have a beautiful chocolate daughter, and I want Imani to feel beautiful in her entirety. I want her to feel comfortable to be who she is regardless of her skin tone and I know it’s only a matter of time before it is brought to her attention. She’s 6 years old and her hair has already been an issue. Imani has tight curly hair that I braid most times and she wears twist, puff balls, and any style that keeps her hair in the natural state. One day Imani came to me and was like, why my hair can’t be like aunt ani (Andrea my sister), and I’m like why does it need to be like that? She said "I like it because her hair is straight and pretty". When she said that, it broke my heart to know that she thinks her hair is less beautiful because it’s not straight. So, I told my sister and she also got choked up and talked to Mani and told her that her hair was beautiful, (such an emotional convo). Seeing how early these situations are affecting young girls and now my daughter, that statement that Jada said made me realize that I have to step up my game and be comfortable with myself and love myself fully. I let both my kids express themselves to the fullest with the way they dress to how they wear their hair; it’s all about self-love and if you love yourself nobody can make you feel different. But just like Jada said, "working on yourself is a work in progress and people's opinions might hurt, but as long as you have the confidence in yourself nobody can break you". So this post is for my Melanin, chocolate drop, beautiful baby girl Imani. Just know that you are good enough no matter what people think of you; you are magical! And to all my fellow dark girls, we have always been beautiful! People have just been too blind to notice, and we've always been winning. #teamchoclate

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