Have you ever heard a song that speaks to your very soul, or one that triggers old memories? Just by hearing that song, perhaps, you’ve felt overwhelmingly taken by a sudden, surprising emotion. Well, I was lucky enough to have such an experience this summer.
Recently, Disney released the new remake of the Lion King and upon watching, a song caught my attention instantly. Hearing that song brought to the forefront many childhood memories that evoked a whirlwind of emotions in me but mostly feelings of elation. Finally! A song that my daughter could appreciate and love. A song that celebrates the beauty of brown skin with no exclusions. A song that motivates all brown skin girls to love and value their beautiful brown complexion. The song that I am alluding to is called “Brown Skin Girl”.
For years, I was made to believe that my dark brown skin was not pretty.
Growing up, I wish there were songs as such that celebrated my brown skin. It would have had a big influence on my adolescent years. For years, I was made to believe that my dark brown skin was not pretty. I can’t tell you how many times I was teased as a child for my dark skin or watch others get the same ill-treatment because of their complexion.
Looking through magazine pages and seeing pictures of women that society deemed beautiful, but never really seeing pictures of women of color didn’t help my self-esteem then. In my mind, it further affirmed the belief that was being thrusted upon me by society and those in my community at that time. According to some, the darker the skin, the less attractive that you were in “their” eyes.
In fact, in some communities and countries, this belief still holds true—that to be beautiful, you can’t have brown skin.
That very belief has driven so many (especially women and young girls) to seek unhealthy “solutions”. One widely used illusive solution among most in this group is skin bleaching (depigmentation)—the process of reducing the skin’s melanin concentration to achieve a lighter skin tone. Not only is this process temporary, but it also carries a lot of risks that are unbeknownst to many that use these skin lightening products.
Unfortunately, as a young teen, I had allowed my low self-esteem (and society) to influence me into trying skin lightening creams. However, that process was short-lived because I quickly realized that depigmentation was not for me and not the answer to my self-esteem issues. It took many years for me to fall in love with my beautiful dark brown skin and myself.
I am unique, beautiful, and a one-of-a-kind priceless treasure placed on this earth.
My hope is that my daughter will always remember these words. I am happy that she is getting exposure to songs like “Brown Skin Girl” because it further helps in boosting her self-love. I hope that she will never have to base her self-worth on skin complexion.
Fortunately, over time, I have notice that society has developed a broader definition of beautiful. What may have been once considered “unattractive” in one person’s eyes is now considered beautiful in the eyes of many. I guess it goes back to that old saying that states, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
How do you help your child or children to see their self-worth?