“Brown Skin Girl, skin just like pearls, the best thing in the world, I will never trade you for anybody else.”
The release of the song Brown Skin Girl, one of the several numbers on Beyonce’s album, The Gift comes at a fragile time where women are awakening to the concept of self-love – love our skin colour and everything our body has to offer. Every day we wake up to a competition with the media and our peers. We now believe that beauty is found in a type of skin colour, body shape, height.
I am pleased that self-love, and ‘say no to body-shaming’ is preached across media channels, although a lot of women are yet to grasp the full extent of this self-love we teach. It is loving yourself, in spite of your differences(society call it flaws, but I beg to dissent.
Just because you slur when you talk, limp when you walk, you are shorter than your peers, in a wheelchair, does not make you flawed. Only different). For me, beauty is truly embedded in diversity. While some may equate beauty with makeup on fleek, I see beauty as the unmatching eyebrow that looks just like the Nike logo.
Where beauty is seen as the girl that has every strand of hair in place, I see beauty as the girl who walks into a room with tousled hair, looking every jot comfortable.
Beauty is the jean and t-shirt kind of girl with no makeup in a room of girls in ball gowns, and beauty is the girl in heels, amid girls in sneakers. Beauty is utterly the girl who radiates confidence just by embracing and enjoying every inch of her skin.
Damn girl, you fine!
Beauty is not in shape, colour, size, height – how do you want to even begin to grade? Because if you say okay, beauty is defined by height, and you gather all the tall girls in a room, you will realise that you won’t be able to make a choice.
You will detect girls of corresponding heights, an inch shorter, two inches taller, three inches taller, how do you begin to choose? Or you base selection on facial structures, and that’s when you will see chiselled jaw, high cheekbones and dimples.
Are you going to pick the girl who has high cheekbones or the girl with dimples? And what happens when you run into the girl who has both or you meet a girl who has both the dimples, high cheekbones, and long lashes.
On and on it goes. True beauty lies in accepting your body, loving it and werking it.
The journey of self-love is challenged, in an age where skin colour has become a bragging right, especially in Africa, where a fair girl is the symbol of beauty.
In Africa, colourism has taught our girls that, ‘if you are not fair, you are not fine’. In truth, the melanin only pops on Instagram – actual life, girls are ready to bleach that melanin off.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made – Psalm 139:14.
Megan Good on the recent episode of sit and sip with host Lady Grace Byers talked about how she battled with colourism as a teenager. Every day was a struggle to accept herself as she was – a black girl in a white-dominated community. Colourism made her take a long look at herself and the other girls her age and think, ‘I wish I had pale skin’. Watch the video here.
One thing I have realized is that if you don’t appreciate your Fine, and you keep looking at others to define your beauty, there will always be one thing about your body that you will feel the need to tweak a little – your brown skin – lightened, your nose is too flat, you wished it were straight, your lips are too thin, if only it could be a bit fuller.
How do we teach our young women to appreciate their skin colour and the body they come in?