#UnconventionalBlackBeauty was the popular hashtag I saw earlier last week as I was nonchalantly scrolling through my Twitter feed. I remember thinking to myself “wow. This is finally happening.” I instantly engaged in the topic, even posting my own unconventional black beauty selfies. This time two years ago, it was on Twitter, where endless bouts of slander and hatred of black women surfaced so steadily and heavily onto my feed. Every other new tweet was about how unattractive we were, how we possessed the inability to be independent, how we were only good enough for sex OR that our vaginas looked disgusting, and most shamefully, that black men preferred light-skinned, white, or Hispanic women. Flawless examples of internalized racism and the disgusting portrayal of what we were all generalized to be.
“Black bitches always have a bad attitude.”
“White girls > black girls”
“Black bitches shouldn’t have blonde weave”
“She’s pretty for a black girl”
and my personal favorite:
“Black bitch at Mcdonald’s gave me an attitude like I’m the reason her dad wasn’t around for her first 23 years of life.”
Women of color, especially black women, have been at the bottom of the food chain from day one. But now in 2015, more voices than I’ve ever heard before are not only voicing their self-worth, they’re showing us. It’s time for us to love ourselves if we don’t already. It’s time to shut down the obscene stereotypes, the idiotic tactics of colorism and internalized racism, and refuse to live a society where we’re not deemed good enough. For some black women, it doesn’t matter. Perhaps they’ve never had to deal one on one with being ostracized for having dark skin, wide noses, big lips, or nappy hair. For those whom the cause does matter, we’re stronger than ever. Not only are we fighting for ourselves, but for each other.
Last week when the #UnconventionalBlackBeauty tag came into play on my Twitter feed, it was a chance to point our our flaws or what made us unattractive to other people, and embrace the self love and acceptance we deserved to feel. I saw it as a fantastic start to eradicating internalized racism and loving all shades, shapes, and sizes. We can’t love other people unless we learn to love ourselves, the melanin in our skin, and the beautiful, unique physical attributes we were born with. I engaged in the trend so thoroughly, reading and appreciating all the black beauties who deserved the shone light. From wide hips, to big lips, naturally kinky hair, long legs, thick eye brows, no make-up, chocolatey eyes, big eyes, small butts, big butts, love-handles, thin lips, wide noses, short hair, etc, etc, unconventional black beauty was expressed in various ways. Eurocentric beauty standards couldn’t touch the beauty and authenticity of these women. #UnconventionalBlackBeauty wasn’t created for the approval of other people, but for the promotion of unveiling the dark queens we are and refusing to be torn down by mainstream beauty standards that have excluded us for centuries.
For those who don’t know, my feminism centers on the equity, success, and self-love of black women. Being that I’d suffered through years of self hate of my blackness, depression, and dealing with the various milestones of being a black girl in a society where the standards don’t include me, it is VERY important to me assure that my future daughters, friends’ daughters, younger sister, and even my friends themselves, live in a world where they can love their blackness and not be ashamed of it or apologize for being a woman with opinions.
I would like to thank the innovator(s) of the #UnconventionalBlackBeauty trend. It’s an amazing step into inspiring young black women to not only love themselves, but speak louder for the audiences in the back, and feel beautiful for the hell of it, and not just for being a black girl.
I’ve attached some of my Unconventional Black Beauty selfies. I was called fat, ugly, gorilla, and manly for having broad shoulders and arms. I don’t have big hips like others would expect, but I do have a stomach, but guess what? I kinda like it.