Writing this blog and starting this company has really made me think about and research a lot closer, the perception of what is beautiful for men and Women of all races but particularly black women and our portrayal in the media.
Afro Puffs by The Lady of Rage
I always struggled with this growing up, as I always felt that what was seen as an "attractive" black woman in the 90's was usually light skinned, with straight hair or big bouncy curls, a small nose, tiny waist. I was never going to be that. Then there was my local pharmaceutical retailers (big companies, mind) who would stock their shelves with 25 different shades for our Caucasian sisters but would have one or maybe two shades of brown/black.
I felt that I was led to believe that I either wasn't attractive and therefore the Beauty industry had no desire to attract me or that I wasn't allowed to feel the way women were portrayed to be able to feel in the ads directed at the women who looked nothing like me or like they could be me.
Today, I feel like a lot of progress has been made. Women of colour have a greater presence on our television screens and I find it so much easier to get good quality beauty products, however, we still a long way to go. Examples imported on to UK screens would be Zoe Salanda's portrayal of Nina Simone compared to the more natural choice - according to the opinion of many- of Viola Davis.
I feel like the powers that be struggle with the acceptance of black women being attractive, being beautiful. That they tend to perpetuate the ideal that there is less value in celebrating or embracing the beauty of women of colour. Whether this is something ingrained in our psyche from thousands of years of history or if it is something a little more explicit and conscious, it is more than a little important to be instrumental in the change of this; For our children and our children's children.
I challenge any of you reading this, with any dream to put yourself forward, fight for your dream. Promote yourself and your beauty (tangible and intangible). Never hold back from it, because you are beautiful.
Let me know your thoughts or feedback regarding the above, this is an open discussion.