It is not unusual to thumb through the pages of a magazine without seeing an image that looks like you. In fact, it wasn’t until 1992 that a Black woman became the face of a major beauty brand. Since Veronica Webb’s 1992 debut for Revlon, only a sprinkling of brown girls have earned a coveted contract with a beauty heavyweight. Subsequently, Black women have often been counted out and over looked in the realm of beauty, which is evident in everything from their lack of representation to the standard “4 shades of Blackness” that most drug and departments story brands carry. You’ve seen them, the “Sable”, “Cocoa”, “Tan” and “Espresso” foundations of the beauty world. Black beauty is often relegated to the “no-makeup” makeup look and a handful of choice lipstick shades, which often do not include the standard “nude.”
Melanie Yvette/Dezirae Bradley
Founder and Editor in Chief of Beautifully Brown, Melanie Yvette, is out to change that. Her newest venture, Dark Girl project is a photo journal of sorts in which she poses sporting a variety of different beauty trends; think: orange lipstick, black lipstick and a host of other popular beauty looks not marketed to women of color. In an interview with Huffington Post, Yvette expressed that purpose of the project is to “show darker women that not only can we wear these striking colors, but we can also wear them in a manner that isn’t too over-the-top or intimidating to those who don’t usually wear makeup – but would like to try something different.”
Yvette’s beauty lookbook is proof that Blackness is not an “other” in the beauty category, but rather, it is a part of the whole. Yvette hopes that this project will encourage women of color not to be discouraged about the lack of representation of Black beauty, and will help them realize that Melanin does not exclude you from experimenting with color or enjoying various beauty trends. “While all darker women aren’t walking around feeling insecure or unpretty, I do know that we are more likely to not try a bold trend because we haven’t seen mainstream ads show us that we can. So, hopefully after seeing this project, beautifully brown women will feel inspired to go bold,” she explained to Huffington Post.
Photos by Dezirae Bradley