Essence Beauty joined the beauty talk with Actress Amiyah Scott Trans Activists Ve’ondre Mitchell and Mariah Moore, moderated by Raquel Willis, to discuss beauty from the Black trans experience. The panelists affirmed beauty and acceptance in all forms on the BeautyCon™ stage in an intimate conversation to explore and expound upon the experience of Black trans kids and their parents. As we discussed “Beauty in Trans-lation” the audience learned how trans women are defining, prescribing, and owning beauty on their terms.
From ballroom culture to expressive identities, Black trans people have contributed to beauty through every shape, form, and color. These industry-leading panelists have led the trans beauty community through every subculture and trending topic, without ever diminishing the beauty within themselves. Read on for a look into the must-see discussion between these women, beginning with Raquel’s question — When was the first time you felt beautiful?
“I’ve always felt comfortable with myself, and it led to owning my identity when I did come out,” said Mitchell. Far before she verbally affirmed her trans identity, Mitchell says she has always felt beautiful.
Scott says she felt beautiful through affirmation and acceptance. “The first time I felt beautiful was when my father told me I was beautiful,” she said. “I got my breast implants when I was 20 years old,” said Scott. “My father opened the door and said I was beautiful.”
With a BeautyCon™ panel of women who began their transitions at a young age, their identities have been intimately linked to their growing appearance. But for the panelists, beauty is more than a contribution to aesthetic value; Beauty is how people define themselves. Empowerment to be who you are and to stand up for your identity is a valuable form of beauty, even in the face of people who deny your existence.
Moore, first felt beautiful when she could “show up authentically without fear,” she says.
Representation is not only a beauty issue. The BeautyCon™ panelists discussed how to provide resources to allow trans people to feel safe and represented in the New Orleans community and in the United States. “Reproductive rights are linked closely with trans healthcare, the right to choose what we do with our bodies, how we care for ourselves,” Moore said. “It is not our job to mandate how people show up.”
My mom taught me to stand up for myself and be an activist,” Mitchell added. “I just did an episode [on my YouTube] with my mom on how to support trans kids called ‘I am who I am.’” In social conversations, including an episode on relationships and dating, Mitchell opened the conversation on what to ask — and what not to ask — a trans person. She explained how the Black community should approach intimate questions they may have for trans people and family members, and how to remain appropriate.
“A lot of the times when we are put up for representation in the world, everyone wants us to lay everything out and at times it’s okay to just soak us in,” said Mitchell.
Visit BeautyCon™ the Essence Fest edition at essence.com for more on the latest Black beauty panel.