If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll know that we are about celebrating black women of every shade. Be it dark, brown or fair, there’s beauty in every shade. In honor of black history month which was in February and women’s month in March, we decided to treat a few black women to a photoshoot session. In return, these black women shared their stories with us.
Blacky… Black……Girl go black sooooo…..Just a few of the names that people added to my birth certificate when we crossed paths. According to them my skin color was so dark that’s why they gave me such nicknames. In the early years of my growth, it made me feel so bad. I felt sometimes as if I was ugly because I had such a skin tone. It made me think a few times of remedies to reduce the dark color…lol.But growing up, I have learnt to appreciate this melanin popping skin of mine. I will definitely choose this skin color over and over again. Funny thing is even people who were actually a lot darker will bleach their skin and then be the first to talk to you of how dark you are. African woman, wear your skin with pride and confidence, there is no better color than what you have. It’s your uniqueness, it’s your originality. It makes you phenomenal.
My name is Elvuchio Ankinimbom and I am proudly the darkest in my family. Growing up black was never an easy thing for me because everyone will bee like “the dark girl” even family used to say that. I am not a fan of black dresses because I was always hear statements like you are dark and wear black dresses?? As if it was a taboo. I’m thankful to the few people who always said don’t you ever change your colour. It’s the best and money can’t buy. With these I grew to be proud of my colour and even now it’s my identity
I have always grown with the mindset that, being right is about how much walls we can put up and how much our strength can carry us. As I journeyed, life has become a whole lesson on its own. My walls have been broken, I’ve fallen and failed only to realize that, it was never and will never really be about how much of my ability to fight. The grace and mercy of God is what keeps us and can keep us on every step of the way. Same goes for our skin, it’s in us, that we are black is a special gift. No matter how much we might ever want to change to be who we are not, we just can’t. First cuz we don’t have what it takes to change it and second because even we succeed it’s only a physical change, we can’t change it from inside. You can’t turn off the light that shines from the inside. So why not just shine on in the true beautiful black that you are and was made to be. See eh, the joy of your person, doesn’t come from anything else but from the Lord and the inside of you.
Black/Dark -skinned in a nutshell means having skin rich in melanin.But hey!? It goes beyond that.Black in itself is a color associated with power??, authority??, strength ??♀️ and elegance???.All these qualities and many more is encoded in this beautiful ?? skin of ours. Yes, it is true and perhaps understandable how the society can influence our mindset on black – skinned. That is why the value of this color needs to be understood ? from within?♀️, so that no external force will mislead us.So I dare? you to drop the zero (shame) and pick up the hero (boldness). Stand for who you are????????.OH! My beautiful ? melanin skin that sparkles ✨✨ when the sunlight shines on it .I bet u…it is beautiful to have ?.
Yes am black?. I remember when I was growing up anywhere I went to there was someone to complement my color. But the truth is, deep within I was not okay with me. I admired my mates who were fair. I used to apply lotions such like rapid Clair, carro light to reduce the darkness. But nothing was changing. Then I realized am me. That’s my beauty and uniqueness. Even if I change the color the Melanie will still be inside. I Came to accept the ME and loved the ME. At times people’s comments are not really enough, you will need to discover the YOU and learn to appreciate what you are. You don’t need to bleach to look beautiful. Look at me, this is beauty. Black is the mother of all colors. You can count on us anytime we will be there to assist. This is me Kelly Divine. What is your own story? God bless miss mokom Sandra for this platform to help the black women out there to be confidential of who they are.
As a kid, I grew up in a community where all those around me were of dark skin.So I used to feel I am abnormal just because I have a light skin.For this reason, I was called names like Yellow sisi, albino, European and the list goes onn.At one point as a teenager, I used to think of things like if only I can get a body lotion that will darken my skin then I will be free from all these names but as time went onn, I rather noticed some dark skin people instead wanted to be of light skin so they go about creaming their bodies just because they think they will be more beautiful and attractive in the fair complexion.Then I began loving and cherishing my skin color.The lesson I learnt from this was that we are all Africans, we are all blacks and beautiful in our different shades.I must confess this platform Beiblackbeauty has thought me how to appreciate beauty in every shade the more.
Thanks for reading through. Do feel free to share your own story with us in the comment section below.
Generally, time spent at the beauty salon is considered as ladies time somehow. If you often visit the beauty salon either to do your hair, makeup, manicure, pedicure, facials etc you would know that every discussion mostly revolves around beauty, men, money and fashion.
Recently, I visited a salon to do my hair and one of the hairdressers (a beautiful dark lady) there looked at me and said, “chai, black is fine.” “I want na dis kind fineee black” This prompted the lady whose hair she was doing to narrate a story of a guy who was so dark that some people thought he was wearing black socks. So, one of them decided to touch his leg, to confirm whether their thoughts were right or wrong. Of course, they were wrong. You can imagine how the dark guy must have felt.
Well I’ve been in his shoes. So many times people have touched my hands or face to see if my dark complexion will fade away. Like seriously, what nerve!!!! I was really impressed with the hairdresser, even after hearing the story, she still went on to say how much she loved that kind of black. Then she said, “ natural fair skin too is nice because we all are Africans. The only problem is when you see a light skinned girl, you would never know if it’s actually natural or bleached. But when you see a dark girl from afar, you’re hundred percent sure that it’s natural.
I really feel encouraged seeing other dark girls love their skin as much as I do
Then there’s this thing about colors. What color will fit a dark girl? Some say bright colors, what do you think ?
Speaking of beauty salons, what are your plans for your hair this festive season? If like me, you want something natural or braids, be sure to check out my post on braiding styles
It’s often said, “beauty attracts and personality keeps” but in my case, I feel like it’s the other way round. I feel like people are drawn to me because of my personality not my looks, which is a good thing right. Yeah I know it’s a good thing. I can tell because most of the long lasting relationships I have is with people who love my personality. So don’t get me wrong. I don’t doubt for a second that relationships built on personality are best. But I don’t just want to be loved only because of my personality. I also want to be loved because of my looks.
Do you really blame me for thinking this way? Put a dark skin girl in the midst of light skin girls and she’ll definitely be unnoticed. All my life, my closest friends have always been wayyy lighter in complexion than me, so I know what it means to be unnoticed. If we went out or maybe just walked on the road, they’ll always get the attention and I’ll just be standing there watching.
Growing up, I’ve seen how much people glorify light skin girls. I’m not just talking about tv, or social media, I’m talking about real life. As in just being light skin makes you already beautiful before your other features can be checked. whereas, if you’re dark, then you’re less likely beautiful. If you are dark and beautiful, you’ll hear of sub categories such as ‘nice black’, ‘clean black’ or ‘beautiful black’. Of course, at the other end of the rope, you’ll hear of ‘dirty black’.
Majority of the times I was told that I was beautiful, I thought they were lying. If someone complemented me, it was so hard to appreciate. I thought that they were just trying to make me feel better. Not saying all complements were true but I was blinded from seeing the ones that were.
As a dark skin girl, it feels like we need to do more to feel and look beautiful. No wonder, many people tend to bleach their skin. In as much as I am so much against it, sometimes I understand them because I know the pressure. The main problem with bleaching is not about what is been done externally but rather what is going on internally in your mind. Your color may change but your mind won’t.(follow this link to find out more about skin bleaching). With the melanin popping social media trend, it’s almost like if you don’t have big hips, butts or boobs then your melanin isn’t really popping. In reality, if you don’t wear good dark skin makeup or dress up sexy, your black beauty will rarely get noticed.
I used to think that issues about colorism are faced by blacks in white countries. What I don’t understand is why a black will maltreat another just because of a slight difference in shades. Hhmm, the way some people behave errr, it’s like they are whites and we’re blacks. Thanks to social media, a lot of dark skin appreciation is going on. Looking at it keenly, you’d notice that dark skin women are put on a lower bar but a higher pedestal. All the hyping and praising always ends on social media but in real life we get to face reality which is
we are labeled ugly, because we are dark skin
don’t get attention or get noticed because we are dark skin
we are often the second choice because we are dark skin
we are always called all sorts of awful names publicly or not, by strangers or not, because we are black
Being dark skin feels like being less privileged
you probably don’t understand 80% of what we go through because you’re not black.
Braids are protective and creative styles women use to show off their personal style, creativeness or just to protect their scalps and hair. If you’ve been letting your hair loose in the air for a long time and you’re looking for a means to cover it, braiding is definitely your go-to style. If you are looking for a style that’ll last, these braids ideas for women of color will still cut the deal.
Lately, I’ve been braiding my hair a lot. Somehow, I feel like braids remind me of who I am, a black woman (not that I forget) but it kind of makes me feel more comfortable in my own skin. Aside from the afore-mentioned importance of braiding I found out something quite interesting. Did you know that a long time ago, braiding was used as a means of survival? rice was hidden in braids in order to help slaves survive the middle passage. Mothers sometimes put the rice in their children’s hair while braiding so that once they are separated, their children won’t starve to dead.
Also, though enslaved women were raped and treated as sexual objects, their crown (braids) carried messages of hope and freedom. As a part of their culture, braids were used to identify a particular tribe, age, marital status, wealth, power and social position.
Box braids were expensive in terms of time, material and installation. It could have been assumed that a woman who could afford to sit for many hours adorning her crown was indeed a woman of fortune.
Having understood the significance of braiding, let’s check out a few braiding ideas.
This is like the commonest type of braids I know of right from when I was a kid till now. I rocked it back then, and I still do now. You can decide to do either the small, medium or large sizes, but remember that the smaller it is, the longer it’ll last. The only thing about braids is the time it takes. You can literally cry your butt out but thank God for new developments everyday. Now, you can find braided wigs or crochets in stores which save the time while still giving you the rasta feeling.
Cornrows ( popularly known as “pass mesh” where I grew up) is a slight modification of rasta. It is better in that it takes less time, depending on the style though. You could either do small sizes in a very stylish way or you could still do just 2, 5 or more and you’re good to go. There are so many variants as you can either take it to one side, all behind or hold it up in a pony tail especially when you don’t want much hair touch your neck.
3) Faux locs
I so love this style. If you’re a lover of locs but aren’t ready to permanently twist your hair like me, then you definitely need this. Be it short or long, I think you’ll love it anyways. One good thing about the crochet is that you can use them over and over and they’re quite affordable. In Cameroon, a packet with 35 inside cost about CFA3500 and 2 packets will be enough.
4) curly hairstyle with braided front
Aside from braiding your whole hair, you can decide to braid just the front part then add a short or long weave behind, preferably a curly or kinky weave. This is great for people who might want to use a weave they’ve been keeping for long
5) short braids
This includes all kinds of braids from rasta to afro locs to faux locs. Are you a lover of kinky hair and dreads? afro locs are here for you. And there’s the short rasta too which has been making waves lately
Points to note
Most salons can do braids but not all of them can do it well. Personally, I’ve learnt the hard way that it’s better to pay high and be satisfied than the contrary. Especially people who keep virgin hair. For the braids to be smooth, it needs to done well. (For those in Buea, I recommend 2412 just beside presbyterian church Molyko)
To spice up your braids you could add beads, rings, colored thread etc
Braids are good for women of all skin types and ages too.
Hope this was of help to you, which of these is your favorite braiding style?
Skin bleaching can be defined as the removal of the upper layer of one’s skin through the application of creams that contain chemicals. It can also be defined as the permanent or temporal changing of a person’s complexion through the rubbing of various creams that are capable of changing the skin.
How does it work?
Skin lightening products work by reducing a pigment called melanin. Melanin is that thing which makes the skin look darker. So, the greater the melanin, the darker the skin. Hence, applying those skin lightening products disrupts melanin production therefore making the skin to lighten.
Most lightening agents contain active ingredients such as hydroquinone, mercury and corticosteroids.
Jobs and success
Isn’t it strange? That in the 21st century you need to be light skin in order to get some particular jobs. Well if you doubt it please know it is so true and I can testify to that.
I remember during one long holiday I got to work at a certain bakery and I was told that mostly light skinned girls could work as receptionist. I’m sure you already guessed why. It is certainly a good business strategy to not only attract customers but also to keep them coming.
That’s smart… right? but I just begin to wonder, what if all jobs were meant just for light skin women, what would become of dark women ehhh!!! Luckily, some dark ladies are using their skin color to be successful. Find out here
By the way, why would customers be attracted mostly to the lighter skin in the first place ? This brings me to the next point…
Generally, we’ve been made to believe that a light skin person is more acceptable in the society. We even have some body lotion companies saying ‘white is purity’ in their adverts.
No wonder, I came across an advert in which a Chinese lady put a dark man into a washing machine and the end result was a white man whom she adored. Now how funny is that? does it mean that we dark people are somewhat impure? and if light skin is fair, is dark skin unfair ? ( I could really use the thinking emoji now).
Most women engage in skin lightening because light skin is associated with higher status and privilege. Some women also bleach in order to attract high status mates. It is also believed that lighter skin looks better in photographs and the images usually get more views when posted on social media.
Skin lightening products can be used medicinally for the treatment of post inflammatory pigmentation. These are dark spots that appear because of injury to the skin or inflammation like acne.
It could also be used to remove discolored patches that appear on the face due to excess sun exposure or hormonal changes during pregnancy or as a result of birth control pills.
FDA recommends a short term use of hydroquinone (that is not more than 5 months) with a maximum dose of 2%. However, there’s still a lot of controversy with respect to hydroquinone as it has been proven to be carcinogenic hence increasing the risk of skin cancer
It is indeed true that all that glitters is not gold because when these products are used, they get into the bloodstream thereby affecting organs like the brain, kidney and liver. So while everything may be going on well on the outside, the inside might not look so good.
Here are some of the side effects of bleaching
Thinning of the skin
Uneven color loss
Redness, swelling and irritation
A burning or stingy sensation
Dark grey spots
Visible blood vessels in the skin
Aside from the health disadvantages, skin bleaching is also very expensive and time consuming. Also, you lighten your skin to look pretty for NOW, then spend the rest of your life trying to reverse the process through medication. Seriously what’s the point?
It is true that you might come from a family where bleaching is normal. Probably your mum or aunt have been doing it for a long time and you want to do it too but please don’t!
I can’t count the number of times that I’ve been approached by strangers and warned never to change my color. A majority of these people where often women who had bleached. If bleaching was all sunshine and roses then I think they would rather be inviting me to join the crew.
I would never forget the voice of one of my mothers in the quarter saying in french and very authoritatively, “ma fille ne change jamais ta couleur heinn” and yes, she’s been bleaching for as long as I’ve known her.
Another time in church after service, an elderly woman approached me. To be honest, I thought she wanted to probably criticize my makeup or dressing. Not that I wasn’t well dressed oh but you know how this women can be nah!
To my greatest surprise, full of love and honesty, she said,” you are very beautiful my daughter, don’t change your color.” It’s only after that I looked at her closely and noticed that she had been bleaching and might have been suffering from some of it’s side effects.
What amazes me is that even people who aren’t dark skin do bleach. I’ve even heard of light skin people bleaching too and I’m like what do they really want! Of course, you should know that this doesn’t concern just the women because men do bleach too.
I met a girl at a salon and she was like if she has the money she would skin bleach. How did the conversation even start? I simply told her she had a lovely brown skin but unfortunately, she rather attacked the hairdresser who’s dark too, saying all sorts of negative things about dark skin. Thank God, the hairdresser was very confident about her color.
To you who’s planning to bleach when you get the chance to, I hope you know what you’re up against. Like I always say, whether black, brown or light skin we’re all beautiful so let us accept and celebrate our differences because that is what makes us a unique and special people.
The choice is yours to make, I can only hope that you choose wisely! Meanwhile here’s a letter personally addressed to you from me Dear Black Beauty
I love my color ( these quotes help me stay confident) and I’m not going to change it, what about you?