At the age of 17, I began to love my complexion. At age 20 I started embracing my full lips. At age 25 I started to see how valuable of an asset I had in my derriere, not only was it attractive but everyone wanted one. At age 47, I did the big chop and freed myself of a perm and fell totlally in love with all of my thick kinky coils that I was blessed to have.
I remember at the age of six being asked by a little white girl with long beautiful blonde hair and blue eyes, to go wash my face with bleach so that I could be pretty. I went home crying to my mother, who’s response was outrage. She wanted to know who the little girl was so that she could go confront the racist parent’s of this little ignorant child as she put it. And she did. But I was still left feeling ugly in my black skin. I needed an explanation as a child to what exactly was happening. I needed to be reasured that my skin was perfect just as it was.
Then there was age eight, when my mother told me my hair was nappy, and as black folk use to say, bad hair. Nappy hair compaired to straight hair or loosely curled hair which was called good hair, to a child was a sure way of making them feel that their hair wasn’t acceptable. My hair was thick corse with tight coils. We call it type 4c hair now. She didnt know how to care for it being hers was type 3c and so was my sisters. So she permed it, and of course, I then thought my hair was now beautiful.
At age 12 my grandmother asked me not to stretch my mouth across my face from ear to ear because my mouth was big enough. That along with comments from kids also saying, that I had big ole lips. This actually came from blacks and whites and so did the mention of the big ole butt that I started to develop by the time I was 16 years old. All featues that I had become ashamed of. Looking at magazines didnt help either. I was of a lighter shade of brown, so I could only imagine what the darker skin little girls were feeling. Although, because of colorism, there were issues within the black cummunity about lighter shades of brown versus darker shades of brown. When we were all actually looked at as just black people by other races.
Little black girls growing up experincing both prejudice comments and colorisim and negative remarks about thier broader features can have an impact that last for years, if not their entire lives on who they are, how beautiful and worthy they are. Its so important to not only tell your daughters they are beautiful just as they are but to aslo tell your son’s the same. That black is beautiful, all the shades that we are, all the features that we have inherited along with that beautiful mane on the top of our head’s. We are magnificent people, who need not be ashamed of anything.