Many billions of years ago this celestial object we now know as planet earth came about. It is believed - and for good reason - that the human species originated in Africa thus making the Black man the original inhabitant of the world as we know it. The genetic makeup of the original man consisted of amino acids and cells that polymerized making a pigment that is now one of the most popular hashtags in social media: #melanin.
I’m not a scientist, so I can’t go much further into an explanation as to why our skin has the beautiful color it does but what I do know is, this is a part of all of us. It is who we are, it is how we are identified and it is more than a ploy to get likes on Instagram, twitter, snapchat and Facebook.
Whether your skin resembles a smooth buttercream or a bold dark velvet you should be proud of who you are. Unfortunately for our community, for many years the absence of high melanin levels caused a significant division based on superficial values, deep lying insecurities and of course the need to be accepted by American society at large. The “dark girl” stigma seems to have taken a backseat to the new embrace of our pigmented skin, however, this new “movement” comes with some questionable motives.
My skin is literally identical to a brown Crayola crayon, so yes I have heavily pigmented skin however there are many people that are darker than me by a few to several shades. Regardless, growing up I never had a problem with not having fine hair and lighter skin. This is how I was born and how I would die and I was okay with that. Like most people the older I grew the more aware of self I became and this only led to further acceptance outside, inside and every way around. I would like to think that this is the cause for the social media black is beautiful hype but knowing our generation this may not be the case. In May 2015, The Washington Post reported the number of fatal police shootings at 400 with two thirds of the victims being Black and Hispanic. Along with this fact and the historical prevalence of racism in the institution we call America I get why Black people want to take a stand. In a society, that beats us down and seeks to teach our children self hate I get why we want to praise the very and only things that separates us from others. I’m all for it.
On another note, with all this pride, we start to once again self destruct but just in a different way. Now that its “in” to embrace the skin that our people have had since the beginning of time and the hair that grew from our roots kinky and curly some of us start to pass judgment on others because of our personal choices. So because now you woke up one day and decided to be enlightened of this beauty that you’ve had all along I’m supposed to lay down my relaxer in the way I choose to manage my hair? No thanks, return to sender. You can have your twist out I’ll take my Mizani and we can both embrace who we are as sisters in our ways.
Please don’t get my words confused. I wake up every morning with brown eyes that take a look at my beautiful skin that holds my soul that exemplifies my culture. I appreciate my skin because it represents Black women and everything that we are; strength, power, intelligence, resourcefulness. These are all qualities in our blood. So if you are going to claim your black is beautiful and your melanin is on “fleek” do so because thats what you feel not because you’re imitating your homegirl or you need to up your likes to become the next social media sensation. I’m sorry but, this is not a fad, it is not a trend and its not a reason to go buy more foundation to show off your beat. We were blessed with a special ingredient that not everyone has - let’s be appreciative, lets be respectful and lets flaunt it with true gratitude. ‘Cause I don’t know about ya’ll but my melanin been popping since ’93 - I’m not new to this I'm true to this!