#FiftyShadesOfBlack – WOW! Beverly, Osas, Vimbai, Dakore, Taiwo & More Talk Black Beauty
They’re black and beautiful!
Last week, BN helped kick off actress Beverly Naya‘s inspiring campaign – #FiftyShadesOfBlack which aims to uphold the whole essence of being black and loving your beautiful skin.
Today, we have Beverly as well as Taiwo Ajayi Lycett, Osas Ighodaro, Vimbai Mutinhiri, Stephanie Coker, Munachi Abii, Dakore Akande and Isi Atagamen all sharing with us what black beauty means to them.
I wear my chocolate skin with pride and grace. My complexion represents courage, the courage to go out there and work determinedly in a world and industry where my skin tone is not considered to be the most ‘desirable’.
My complexion inspires me to challenge conventions and show that a dark woman can be just as beautiful and successful as any other complexion, thus empowering young girls so that they too can believe in themselves and their gifts. I have never believed in a hierarchy of beauty determined by complexion hence I see beauty equally distributed in all shades.
It is left to the individual to realise her inner and outer beauty and then confidently project that to the world.
Black girls, this campaign is for you, for you motivate me to keep rising so that I may be an example of strength to you. Love yourself, for nobody else in this world can love you more than you can.
And to all my sisters out there, let us confidently embrace ourselves, flaws and all.
Let us change our mindsets so that we can see the beauty in all beings and in that way, grow together as inspirations to the generations to come.
Taiwo Ajayi Lycett
It’s an old chestnut, I know. But, you better believe it – Black is Beautiful! And I have always endeavoured to live the truth and integrity of that statement.
Black is Beautiful – and my own Black femininity, my female African-ness has never ever been an issue up for debate, or one that I was willing to compromise because they have always been sacrosanct.
Contemporary Black women, especially the young, ought to not only realize, appreciate, cherish and be confident in the diverse complexions of their perfectly beautiful black skin, but also respect and learn to relax in that knowledge because it is, to me, wonderful, extraordinary! The stuff of Academy awards!!
My dear young ladies, stand tall. You are of a proud and enduring heritage. Marcus Garvey, (or was it Samuel Ajayi Crowther) said, “Only the best is good enough for Africa”. You are the Best!
My Black is Beautiful… Your Black is Beautiful… Our Black is and will always be BEAUTIFUL. Believe it!
Being comfortable in my own skin and proud of what God has blessed me with has not always been an easy journey. Growing up with low self-esteem was certainly a major struggle which was stemmed from not being comfortable in my own skin. Thankfully enough I had positive role models and an amazing support system that helped guide me to be proud of who I am… ME!
Not everyone would have a similar experience which is why I’m so proud and grateful to be a part of a campaign that enriches and encourages black girls and women.
Being the first Nigerian-American to be crowned Miss Black USA should certainly tell you that Black is Beautiful!! My talent performance for the competition was a monologue entitled – “What if I am a Black Woman”
This performance perfectly encompasses the reason why Black is Beautiful!
Take a look
Your Light and Beauty begins within you and exudes for the world to see. Be Proud, Be You…Your Black is Beautiful. Remember, God makes no mistakes.
Peace, Love, Blessings!
I’ve lost track of my complexion, it is called so many names. My black beauty means not labelling myself as anything, but rather embracing who I am.
Being a unique complexion is so important because it has taught me to love myself, and has grown my confidence – I have learnt that I am not a definition of what you see when you look at me.
Loving what is within is beauty in any color. I’ve never believed that cosmetic beauty is defined by colour or complexion, but rather by features and the way they are carried.
We all have our personal cosmetic preferences, the only time there is no unity is when people are unsure of where they are in their journey. Confident women who love themselves would never hold colour or complexion against one another, because they are whole enough to find beauty in everything.
So to the young black girl, embrace your quirks, oddities and differences because timeless beauty lies in each one of our unique characteristics.
The harsh reality is that the world is a judgemental place. Our prejudices are informed by experience, history and social conditioning. A
n even deeper reality is that despite the fact that we come in all hues and shades, skin isn’t exempt from those prejudices. Our different shades of skin are a kaleidoscope that gives character to the world.
Imagine us being a colourful palette ready to be splattered on primed canvas. I’m proud of the skin I am in. Embrace who you are and show the world your colour.
So to the young beautiful girls out there, don’t let anyone tell you you’re ugly just because you are not light skinned, dark skinned, chocolate skinned. You’re beautiful…In your own skin.
My black skin is something I wear with pride, I have no shame and no need to hide it. They often say, “girl, you are light skinned, you don’t know what it’s like”.
They’ll buy anything just to get lighter. It saddens me, they think they will find what they need in a concoction of cream. But honestly speaking, true love and beauty comes from within.
I am an African woman, the color of my skin does not change that fact. My brothers and sisters are black, we are all different shades of black and we are all beautiful. If God made us all and saw that we were beautiful, why do we hate ourselves?
I feel like there is an unspoken condition in the minds of most Africans that makes us feel like ‘the lighter you are, the better your chances’. Well, how can we love one another if we don’t love ourselves?
My words can’t fit into a few sentences, but I will say this;
My young black sister, you are beautiful. Don’t let no trend or person tell you any different. The man for you will love you just the way you are, you will be admired by the big and small alike, because you are strong and diligent.
Everything you touch will prosper because you believe. So start believing…Your Black is Beautiful!
Black beauty comes in all shapes and sizes and this is no accident. We need to embrace, accept and appreciate our individual uniqueness.
The society/media hasn’t helped in this regard by imposing ideas that the light-skinned beauty is the only acceptable beauty and it is wrecking havoc on all of us.
We all inherently want to be loved and accepted but if being a certain way or skin color is considered un-cool we want to do whatever it takes to be cool even if it means harming ourselves in the process.
At this point I want to say that bleaching or plastic surgery is a matter of choice and everyone is entitled to that.
I feel complexion is just the color of your skin and it shouldn’t really matter. Whatever complexion the creator made you should be appreciated.
Unfortunately society and colonial mentality has made we Africans believe that whatever is lighter is better, more attractive and more beautiful.
There is a lot of discrimination that we have put upon ourselves and the complexion issue has been a divisive one rather than a uniting issue and we need to stop that.
Some encouraging words for the young black girl- you are beautiful as you are, you are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Love yourself warts and all and focus on your inner beauty because that’s what will shine through, no matter your complexion.
For me, my black beauty is a gift, one that cannot be bought for any price. It’s a gift of protection from the damaging effects of the sun, a means to stand out amongst many, it is who I am and I am so proud to be me.
As an international model I have overtime realised that black beauties are usually the admiration of many people all over the world, shades and all.
Generally, I feel it really doesn’t boil down to the colour of your skin, it starts from your state of mind, who you are, and your beliefs. It’s all of us who flourish from within and come out to show radiance and unity.
To the young black girl, cherish and love yourself first and this confidence which should not be mistaken for an excessive amount of pride, will make others love and cherish you.
For more info on #FiftyShadesOfBlack, send an e-mail to [email protected] | Instagram- @fiftyshadesof_black
Photography: Aham Ibeleme
Stylist/Creative Director: Ifan Ifeanyi Michael
Make-up: David Sucre & Lilian Paul for Flare Beauty
Hair: Patrick Ibrahim
Co-ordinator/Founder: Beverly Naya