Growing up in predominantly white and European communities, there were times when I wished I had softer curls, longer hair, colored eyes and even lighter skin. Blackness was something that I grew to love; I'll venture as far to say that I grew to love it out of other's dislike and genuine disdain for it. I have memories of one of my best friends in first grade telling me that my skin was the color of "caca," an Italian slang term for poop.
Skin isn't the only love affair with Blackness that may or may not be birthed from a place of hate, our hair lends itself to the conversation as well. It is only within the past ten years that women of color sporting their natural curls has become common place on TV, in magazines and on runways. Heck, naturals are just not getting their own aisle in drugstores. Up until this point, we were forced to become alchemists in our kitchen to maintain the health of our hair. As a result, the kitchen has become the birthplace for a number of brands we now rely on to nourish your curls: Carol's Daughter, Briogio and Jane Carter Solutions just to name a few.
It's not uncommon for Blackness to be something that you have to learn to love. The sad truth is that vicious cycle of oppression, skin shaming and other forms of hate aren't solely being recycled by White people— we're doing too; to each other and within our own communities. This year at ESSENCE, we are focusing our attention on the popular self-love campaign, Black Girl Magic, and tapping into and publicizing the beauty, strength and sheer elegance of Black women and young girls. Here are 10 videos to remind you of your power, your beauty and all around brilliance. Watch them with your friends and share them with your daughter(s); just in case you need a friendly reminder of how incredible you (and your crew) really are.
When You Need...
To remind yourself to define beauty for yourself
To remember you're a boss regardless of public opinion
A quick history lesson about beauty standards in this country
An international perspective on beauty elsewhere
Insight into Black Girl Magic from a young Millennial
Something to remind your daughter she can do anything
A truly magical definition of Black Girl Magic
To laugh at the stupidity of being called "pretty for a Black girl"
To teach your daughter to love her curls
Be reminined of how incredible you are from a Black man's perspective