Being Black American and feeling Beautiful

Disclaimer: This post is being written by a Black American woman who is a descendant of American Chattel Slaves. If we don’t have the same background or shared history in this country, please don’t get on this post pontificating. I don’t want to hear shhh you have to say. Read on, be quiet, and you might learn something.

Growing up in Chicago, sometimes you experienced colorism and texturism inside your family. Yet when you went outside of the home and when you looked at American television, you experienced colorism, racism, texturism, and featurism 24/7.

When I was growing up I was keenly aware of how society deemed me unattractive. My dark skin, my very wide nose, my big lips, and my super thick 4c hair with the shrinkage of a mythical god were all deemed “ugly”. I knew by the age of 7 that I was in a full on battle to protect my own humanity. I had to protect it from internalized white supremacy and racism and I had to protect my humanity from some other stupid ass Black folks who wanted their internalized white supremacy to spill over everyone they knew. I think the kids now call it respectability politics. Judging other Black folks through a white lens / gaze.

Now, I grew up in Chicago. Chicago is HYPERSEGREGATED. Black Americans are to the south of the city and the others are closer to the north, on the north side and in the suburbs. On the Southside of Chicago, I grew up seeing beautiful Black people. Men and women. Stunningly gorgeous human beings. So although society was telling me that I was unattractive, I didn’t internalize it too much because all I knew were beautiful Black people. Around the way girls on 79th Street were gorgeous. Brothers, when they actually put on a suit or got Dapper Dan for an event, looked magnificent.

… but then I tried to model and that’s when all that pride and armor I built up around feeling beautiful was being chipped away by my desire to be accepted into the modeling industry.

Look, voluntarily putting yourself in spaces where they hate Black American beauty IS NOT THE MOVE. I cannot stress this enough. DO NOT EVER PUT YOURSELF IN A SITUATION OR IN SPACES WHERE PEOPLE HATE ON BLACK AMERICAN LIFE, BLACK AMERICAN HUMANITY, AND BLACK AMERICAN FEATURES. Do not do it. It is soul destroying. And a weaker person will internalize all the hate. Also, don’t ever keep the company of people who perpetuate anti-Black American sentiments, anti-Blackness, and colorism. Even if they are “of color”, get the hell away from them they are no different than a k_lansman, truly.

Here’s what you need to know:

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.

YOUR BIG NOSE. BEAUTIFUL.

YOUR BIG LIPS. BEAUTIFUL.

YOUR THICK HAIR. YOU GUESSED IT… IT IS BEAUTIFUL.

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL and you do not have to conform to any Eurocentric standards imposed by white supremacy. You do not have to endure any colorism by Black,whites or nonBlack POCs. You do not have to be in spaces where people tear down what God gave you.

Now at the age of 47, I love most of me. I’m not keen on my flat ass but I’m making it. LMAO. I don’t contour my nose anymore. I was never big into anyway, but I damn sure won’t do it now. I got all the nose and I love it. If anything, I highlight my big nose. I take highlighter or bronzer and run it down the center so it stands out. I wear blaring red lips when I can, so you can see the fullness of my supple lips when I smile or when I grimace. Hell, I don’t even arch my eye brows anymore. You are going to get this “Bert and Ernie” and if you don’t like it — move around. I was born with gorgeous lashes so there is not much to do there. Big cheeks. A big round face. Thick hair. It’s all mine. It’s all beautiful.

Some mornings I wake up and I just feel beautiful.

And IDGAF if I’m the only person who thinks so. That’s on Mary had a little lamb.