So I should probably be doing HW, but I came across this video of a beautiful eighth grader at Southwest Baltimore Charter School named Janiyah who confesses her insecurities about being a dark-skinned black girl in a society that high lights light skinned women as being more worthy and desirable.
I couldn’t ignore this, because interestingly enough I have been thinking A LOT about colorism in the black community, especially when it comes to young girls and women in the more formative years of their lives. For the longest time I didn’t see it as an issue, because I have always been so enamored by dark skin, I never gave any attention to the deep rooted colorism in the black community. I mean this stems back to slavery when white slave owners decided between who worked in the house or in the field based on the complexion of the “workers” skin. There is a portion of black community that continues to perpetuate this – and for that we are still mentally enslaved. Some are still weak.
Hearing Janiyah speak today, reminded me of years ago when I saw this precious little black girl crying as she tried to explain why her white Barbie doll was more beautiful than her Black one. I’m sure she’s in her preteens now, but her pain planted a seed within me. Long before seeing that and after I have wanted to build a group/organization that empowers, and celebrates and centers black girls, their incredible worth and superb magic. With time and “womanhood”, I have learned that I must incorporate their right to be vulnerable. They will inevitably hold the responsibility of carrying the heavy burdens on our community as we have had to for hundreds of years, just like clock work. And I don’t want the “strong black woman” identity to deny them their right to the human experience, outside of what it means to be a “strong black woman”.
It’s interesting that I came across this link today, because it evoked and provoked my desire and dedication to black girls all the more. I was just asking Shelley Seacrest, a black woman running for city council (check her out – she’s really great) about how to go about this, and she was telling me to her knowledge no one has done this and that black girls don’t have the same opportunities or focus as young black boys. I haven’t even completed the final touches on my project centered around creating visibility for trans youth, I’ve got a shit ton of responsibilities and things I am working on within my own life and I’m already ready to dive into to creating something from a passion that’s been brewing within me for as far back as I can recall. I keep trying to slow down, but stuff keeps calling me.
Lately every time I envision this group I hope to start, first small, I have pictured darker skinned black girls. You’re not supposed to discriminate within your own community, of course, but they have been highlighted and centered in my mind. It kind of tripped me out, aligning the video of Janiyah with what’s been on my mind otherwise.
I could go on and on and on and on and so on, but I wanted to share it. This video has really touched me. Even more so the support and love shown by her peers (other young woman of color, a variety of shades). Hoping this adds to the spreading of awareness of colorism and the need to neutralize the painful effects history has had on the black culture.