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BN Beauty Exclusive: ‘An Ode to Melanin’ an Editorial Shoot by The Alfe



Rising Nigerian photographer Femi Alabede aka The Alfe releases a beauty editorial titled An Ode to Melanin – Celebrating the dark skinned girl on BN Beauty. The photographer accompanies the shoot with a poem dedicated to the dark skinned girl.

Dear dark-skinned girl,
You are beautiful,
The colour of coffee with no cream,
Dark like the bittersweet chocolate,
Caramel-coated coquette, honey dipped.
Full of vigour, full-lipped and full bodied
Full dark-skinned and exquisite majestic even with your brown-black self!
From the tint in your skin to the thickness of your hair, you are perfect.
You are Melanin perfect.

Check out the shoot

Femi Alabede| @the.alfe
Models: Omowunmi Williams @omo_w | Eniola Lawal @eniola_lawal
Makeup: Aphorodite Beauty Hub |  @aphroditebeautyhub

Angel is a Fashion and Style blogger and loves to be described as a woman with creativity and grace. Angel is a Mass Communication graduate with a degree from North American University. All things Fashion, Beauty and Architectural Designs are her thing. Follow her on Instagram @styleconnaisseur


  1. Authentic Sunshine

    May 30, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    Ok. Let me demystify this melanin popping, black is gorgeous agenda. If you have a chiseled face, prominent cheekbones or what I choose to call a featuristic face including dimples or something that sets your face distinctly apart beautifully, then your black will pop. Cos it reflects and deflects light in a spectacular manner. You don’t need alot of make up cos nature has already contoured your face. You are photogenic as they say. You are Rihanna, Kelly Rowland, Toolz e.t.c
    On the other hand, if you have a bland and bigger face and you need to literally put on a face when you make up, then being too dark may not work in your favour depending on your skin tone. This is because your skin colour maybe all you’ll have to work with in your favour. So you might need to tone up. You are Beyonce, you are Mercy, you are Jenifa. You are that lady who needs a good angle for a good picture otherwise it is an epic fail.
    Ok before you come for my jugular, inhale, exhale and reflect on it. If it makes you feel any better, I fall in the latter category and have used natural oils to achieve and maintain my desired effect.
    All in all, these ladies up here are gorgeous.

    • Idomagirl

      May 31, 2017 at 5:56 am

      Not true at all.

    • PeeCeeCee

      May 31, 2017 at 10:07 am

      You are sooo right…I am one of those who is constantly in search of a great angle and lighting or it becomes an epic fail…All that being said, I’m happy with what God and nature gave me. Thanks for your honesty…

    • Undiluted

      May 31, 2017 at 2:31 pm

      Just Just to find out what natural oils you. Maybe it will help my ministry?

  2. Mawi

    May 30, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    Beautiful pictures. Really nice.
    But please, there’s something I have noticed & been pondering about. What’s with all this hype about dark skin especially by artists (photographers, MUAs etc)? It’s either “melanin” or “chocolate” or some word or phrase to edify the brown skin. You find this online a lot. I asked a MUA and she said it’s for variety reasons (for their work) plus brown girls are striking on camera. Oh! And here I thought it was because they were just trying to encourage women to embrace their skin tone since the world obviously prefers light skins.
    My point is, there’s a lot of patronising of the dark skin yet, particularly with black men, they go the opposite direction when it’s time to prove what they claim. A vast majority have the light skinned women (natural or bleached) as their ‘spec’, thereby contradicting themselves. They keep encouraging the natural dark look (like above) yet in reality, they are sooooo drawn to the fair ones.
    I don’t mind that, except the way they speak from both sides of their mouth. Dark skin is beautiful. Light skin is beautiful. But when u constantly patronise the dark skin by always ‘encouraging them’ or reminding them that they are beautiful, it starts to seem like u feel sorry for them and are trying to console them. Like, why do we need reminders that we are beautiful though? Yet u don’t do same for the fair ones? Could it be that deep down inside, you don’t believe it yourself? Most likely. Because majority of you men (and women) still lose their minds when a fair lady walks by. In a group of ladies, the light skinned one always gets all the attention. Abi I lie? Why do u think the women are bleaching? Because u ignore them and go for the opposite and who wants to be left behind? They (we) know all these talk is just…
    So please, what’s with the hypocrisy?
    *just thinking out loud*
    *not sure if I’m making sense*
    *a bit Tipsy sha*

    • What happened.

      May 30, 2017 at 10:13 pm

      You are indeed tipsy ???.

    • RealNigerian

      May 30, 2017 at 10:16 pm

      You are talking in circles and most likely speaking for yourself and friends. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. However in this social media, fake life world that we live in now beauty is defined by alternate reality of facebook, twitter , etc, I am not sure that you can generalize that “light skin” gets the most attention and that men generally go for light skinned girls.

      Some guys I know get irritated by artificially light skinned girls because they don’t like that chemical smell on them. No matter how sophisticated the cream or injection is for artificial light skin somehow there is this smell that goes along with it…………………….

      Noways, my perspective is that all this is just insecurity…. Who needs a magazine article to feel good ?

    • Idomagirl

      May 31, 2017 at 6:07 am

      They are “hyping” dark skinned girls because we have a bleaching epidemic on our hands.
      We’re the same ones who constantly attack people who bleach…..
      Editorials and campaigns like these are more for impressionable young girls, to tell them that you do not need to be fair or yellow to be beautiful(this is not saying that if you are fair you’re ugly o).

      Walk into a supermarket, at least 70% of the skincare products contain the words “lightening”, “brightening”, “whitening”, “toning”.
      This is a big problem, our society is becoming more light-skinned obsessed which is sending a terrible message to our girls.
      I found out recently that some mothers even mix “Funbact A” with their babies’ body lotion to make them fair.
      Even babies and young children aren’t spared.

    • Mawi

      May 31, 2017 at 6:10 am

      @Realnigerian @What Happened
      Lmao I suspected I typed in circles hence my disclaimer at the end. But ur last paragraph on insecurity buttresses my main point. Real confidence doesn’t have anything to prove to anyone.
      As for men preferring light skin, it is my opinion and the opinion of sooooo many because we see it everyday! From everyday people to celebs, MOST (not all of course) men prefer light skinned ladies. To be honest, I have NEVER met anyone who denied this VERY OBVIOUS fact. It is just too obvious to deny. Please note I said most, not all.
      My issue with this is the same men who would never date or marry a dark skinned lady will also join to edify dark skinned women everyday. Many of them condemn bleaching but still date and marry bleached women. You get? It’s just like how many condemn artificial hair and encourage natural hair, yet you will never find them with a natural hair keeping lady. Whether we like it or not, there’s a lot of hypocrisy and double standards in our world today.
      I hope I have convinced and not further confused. Incase I did, abeg no vex. Lol

  3. Authentic Sunshine

    May 30, 2017 at 9:50 pm

    BN where is my comment? Let me help you describe it. Sent from this same user ID. My comment is long and make sense die. It said awaiting moderation a moment ago. So abeg no fight no quarrel, just look for it, revert and do the needful.

  4. Ladi

    May 30, 2017 at 11:17 pm

    Love this! The pictures are so beautiful. Love how they look natural. Well done Alfe and team.

  5. Ladi

    May 30, 2017 at 11:57 pm

    Love this! Love how they look so natural. The pictures are popping. Well done Alfe and team.

  6. Sugar

    May 31, 2017 at 8:36 am

    Eniola is fair in real life tho. Not really feeling this melanin shoot thing. Nice poem

  7. Sisi

    May 31, 2017 at 8:45 am

    Natural make up, I grateful to the MUA for not doing the most. These shots are nice and his poem is cute.

  8. Clarke

    May 31, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Lol @ mawi …..many black men are sadistic hypocrites….it actually funny as opposed to upsetting… Any-ways, I am a skin bleacher, but an educated one…. I don’t have an un-natural bleached look, no dark knuckles and stuff… I make my own products and research every product I put on my skin.

    As an Igbo Woman, I’ve know about colorism ever since I was a little girl. I have had men tell me how they love my natural warm tone and I dont have to bleach….LMAO. They relay that they have a preference for lighter women, but in the same vein are against skin lightening. These males are usually dark complected themselves.

    Over the years, combined with my experience of living in a multicultural society, I have come to realise that facial beauty is about bone structure and the way it holds/houses whatever shape and size of features that you have, regardless of your race or skin shade.. It depends on who the observer is and what their biases and perception of beauty is.

    With that being said, I believe that as humans and especially in this age, there is nothing wrong in changing things that we are unhappy and un-comfortable with. I lighten my skin to achieve an even and radiant complexion. I am also broad-featured, and whilst I use facial fillers/botox to augment my facial mathematics, I think a warmer tone , just gives me an overall feminine appearance. I have my own nuanced perception of beauty and I have created a standard, attainable for me.

    At the end of the day self love is crucial, even if you are going change certain things. Loving yourself does not mean that you are going to love everything about yourself, (everyone is insecure about something) but it is crucial to have a reasonable amount of self acceptance.

    Many Black People practice colorism and featurism on other black people as a way of projection, it usually traces back to insecurities concerning their skin tone and features, due to negative messages/connotations they may have gotten from someone else. Nothing comes in a vacuum, everything can be contextualised to contingent factors.

    The ladies in this photoshoot are stunning by the way…

  9. ifiiii

    May 31, 2017 at 8:48 am

    Dark skin is beautiful, fair skin is beautiful. Be confident and own your skin tone. I am dark skinned and I love it.

  10. king Bey

    May 31, 2017 at 8:54 am

    All I see is wumi

  11. Clarke

    May 31, 2017 at 9:05 am

    Bella pretty please post my comment, it is very insightful…lol

  12. Stanley

    May 31, 2017 at 9:16 am

    Good work, let’s continue to encourage girls with dark skin to love their colour, so that our noses rest from all the chemical bleaching smells. Good pictures, great work

  13. ijs

    May 31, 2017 at 9:38 am

    Without bragging, i am a beautiful dark skinned woman who takes care of my skin. I get as much attention as light skinned women. Beautiful women will attract mens attention period. This is regardless of skin shade. There are unattractive light skinned women as well. Tiwa savage, Genevieve, Victoria kimani, etc will hold their own when compared to toke, dija, mochedah etc.

    • The Real Oma

      May 31, 2017 at 9:56 am

      They more than hold their own, they beat them hands down…

  14. Benson Benson

    May 31, 2017 at 10:20 am

    mhen, i love this……..

  15. Lukmon

    May 31, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    wow! this is awesome, Proudly Black!!!

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