May 8th through May 12th is Teacher Appreciation Week, but for Helen Y. Davis Leadership Academy teacher Lovely Hoffman, ensuring that the young women in her 7th and 8th grade classes feel appreciated, loved, valued and celebrated is always her priority.
When the Roxbury, MA, native realized the Black and brown girls in her class were suffering from issues of low self-esteem primarily because they are constantly confronted with images within media that often don’t celebrate girls who look like them, Hoffman – who is also an independent R&B artist – took action.
The result is the empowering song and video she wrote and created just for them, “My Black is Beautiful,” which was released on YouTube and has taken the Internet by storm, with more than 2 million views across multiple platforms.
“Is my skin too light or too dark,” Hoffman asks in the video for the song, which also features some of the girls in her class. “Is my hair long or straight enough?”
For Hoffman, who has been an educator for 13 years and who is also an award-winning theater actress for her portrayal as Celie in the New England premier of The Color Purple, creating a space that celebrates the beauty of these young women was only part of her mission. She also realizes how their sense of self worth can affect their ambition and level of achievement in the world.
“There is a strong correlation between self-esteem and student achievement,” she says. “As an educator, I believe it is my duty to not only ensure students are reaching their potential academically, but that they are also comfortable and confident in their own skin. It’s about educating the whole child.”
For that, Ms. Hoffman, we appreciate you.
Watch “My Black is Beautiful” on YouTube here:
Learn more about Lovely Hoffman at http://www.lovelyhoffman.com/
Elayne Fluker is host of the Support is Sexy podcast for women entrepreneurs.