Upland, CA — I have always believed that Black is beautiful. Although, oftentimes things with a negative connotation are associated with the color black (i.e. a black cat, darkness, evil, dirt and even the pigmentation of one’s skin), I’ve always been proud to have come from a strong line of Black people and especially the women in my life that have done amazing things and have been strong positive role models and mentors. Several months ago, I was contacted by Carliss Richardson McGhee and she shared an opportunity for me and my family to be part of the “Our Black is Beautiful” magazine celebrating generational beauty. I was flattered and was more than willing to support such a positive project.
Ms. McGhee was selected by Proctor & Gamble to head up their West Coast initiative to seek out Black women in the community that care about making a difference, especially in the areas of improving the health and well-being of adolescents while reducing racial and ethnic healthcare inequities and disparities among foster youth emancipated from the child welfare system. Because of her leadership in the community I was more than willing to participate and to encourage my mother, sister and daughter to also be involved. The proceeds from this effort were designated to support transitional housing programs for young Black girls. This is right in line with the work we do as a family with our nonprofit Forgiving For Living, Inc (FFL). FFL’s mission is to uplift and empower girls of color to believe in themselves.
We are living in times where there’s so much negativity all around us. We should take every opportunity to encourage and support those that are trying to make a positive impact in the world. Our Black is Beautiful (OBIB) is a California initiative responding to a call for action by Proctor & Gamble (P&G) recognizing community servants who have been a part of the solution for over 28,000 youth currently in foster care in Los Angeles County. In 2006, Proctor & Gamble (P&G) launched My Black is Beautiful, a community building program to initiate and sustain broad dialogue within African American communities around Black beauty and pride. The platform continues to inspire initiatives across the country that challenge standards of beauty and “encourages generations of Black women to embrace their best and beautiful selves.”‘
We must believe that everything about us is beautiful. From the color of our skin, to the way our bodies are framed and the curl patterns of our hair. California is leading the way and has become the first state to ban natural hair discrimination. State Senator Holly Mitchell led the charge on this act, also known as the CROWN Act and now it will update the state’s SB-188 discrimination law as it relates to hairstyles. California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the bill into law. We must learn to walk in our beauty, whatever that looks like.
It is my desire that all little girls, no matter what their background, will grow up to believe in themselves and to know they are beautifully and wonderfully made. Stephanie Lahart said it perfectly, “Dear Beautiful Black Queens… Never underestimate the beauty of just being YOU. Being your authentic self is powerful, sexy, and courageous!” Let’s go out and show the world who we are and how our beauty shines bright!
Healing Without Hate: It’s a choice. It’s a lifestyle. Pass it on!