Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Introduction to Pretty Dark Girl

 I am a Pretty Dark Girl, more like a Pretty Dark Woman, but growing up I didn't cherish my darkness. As you can see I was dark as a kid and it was somewhere between the first picture and the second that I learned to dislike being dark skinned.

To be honest, prior to kindergarten, I had no concept of colour and/or race. My schooling started at a Montessori which had kids of different races to a school which had predominantly black kids. I can't say for sure why I gravitated to the white girl and the light skinned girl back then, but I did and the results were heart breaking and ego crushing.

Almost on a daily basis they would put down the darkness of my skin or the fact that my hands were filled with dark brown lines. In the end I became introverted and only spoke when it was necessary. This resulted in me repeating Kindergarten. Although those girls moved on and I made friends, the idea that I was less than remained.

It also didn't help that I had access to women's magazines. My mother discovered that by giving us magazines, my brother and I would be kept occupied. We had started out drawing and marking up Cosmos and Red Books. Eventually, we started reading them as we began reading more and more. Although I developed a love for fashion and makeup, I also noticed a disconnect between women who were considered beautiful and myself.

Here were women who were snow white, ranging from fair skin to slightly tanned gracing the pages of magazines having the time of their lives and being beautiful. They did not look anything like me and if they were considered beautiful, doesn't that mean I'm not beautiful?

To be truthful, the women around me did not value beauty so I believed that they did not perceive themselves as beautiful. These women looked like me and did not believe themselves beautiful, so does that mean I'm not beautiful?

It took many years for me to start to see the beauty in me, as I came across magazines such as Essence, Ebony and the now defunct, Honey. Yet these niche magazines are focused at the entire rainbow of people of colour. Although, I now know black is beautiful, it took me a while to accept that dark skinned black is beautiful.

This is where Pretty Dark Girl comes in, the blog is about celebrating women and girls with dark skin. The black girls and women who would never pass the paper bag test. This is the blog I wish I had access to growing up, where I can see women who look like me who are beautiful. Not exotic, not the token black girl, just beautiful.

Not only will the blog focus on highlighting beauty, it will showcase talent and intelligence, both on a regional level and an international level. It is so easy to think that only black people deal with issues related to dark skin, but indians and even chinese deal with shade discrimination.

I am really excited about this blog because already I've seen the benefits of recognizing the beauty in people with dark skin. I believe if one can get past the belief that they are not worthy because of the colour of their skin, they can focus on thing that really matter, like developing oneself, becoming a better version of oneself and being extraordinary.

Hope you like the blog, hope to have you weigh in on the blog posts by leaving comments. If you want to add your voice to the blog, send an email kimolisa13(at)gmail/com, with the subject, Submission.

And if no one has told you today, you are beautiful, you are amazing and you are important. Now go out into the world and show them what you are working with.


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