I keep in mind the primary time I understood Black magnificence. It was a scorching sizzling afternoon in June and my mom simply completed braiding my hair. After I glanced on the toilet mirror, I felt—for the primary time—like a fantastic brown woman. I used to be solely 5 years outdated, however the reminiscence of my mother saying, “take a look at my lovely brown child” is perpetually etched into my mind. It was then I noticed Black magnificence is an emblem of energy.
I ought to’ve welcomed Black magnificence into my life, however I did not. In my pre-teen years I believed the rumors society positioned on magnificence. I used to be satisfied it was solely a pal to light-skinned ladies with lengthy, straight hair. I mistakenly thought true magnificence solely existed within the lives of my white associates with blue eyes and pale pores and skin.
Boy, was I unsuitable.
After I grew to become a younger skilled, I made a decision to change into a magnificence editor to make an impression on future generations. I needed to assist younger ladies see the wonder inside themselves. I needed to inform the world the significance of Black magnificence.
Now as a magnificence director, overseeing magnificence content material for Marie Claire and earlier than that at Attract and Essence magazines, I’ve had a hen’s eye view of Black magnificence’s impression and energy. I’ve seen its resilience and power within the trade—even when heritage magnificence manufacturers attempt to diminish it, solely supporting it when there’s the potential for monetary acquire.
For generations, Black magnificence hasn’t acquired correct accolades. For years, Black faces had been absent on the covers of excessive style magazines. Make-up manufacturers didn’t assist us, solely providing a small vary of basis shades. And it’s not misplaced on me that Black fashions are sometimes forgotten backstage at style exhibits. It pains Black ladies when celeb hairstylists can’t serve us as a result of they weren’t taught tips on how to take care of us, tips on how to embrace our curls, or tips on how to honor our existence.
I hate that Hollywood diminishes the worth of Black magnificence, solely celebrating Black options when not connected to a Black physique. And it bothers me that Black shoppers are more likely to spend 9 occasions extra on magnificence merchandise than every other race, however Black-owned manufacturers make up solely 2.5 % of income within the magnificence trade.
Please perceive that you simply, Black magnificence, matter.
Many argue that magnificence is colorless. And that Black magnificence does not exist as a result of all magnificence issues. However Black magnificence is the cornerstone of American tradition.
Black magnificence is… stylized child hairs that ship an additional degree of creativity to any coiffure.
Black magnificence is… Diana Ross’ large, good hair from the ’70s.
Black magnificence is… shea butter-based skincare on a chilly winter day.
Black magnificence is… Grace Jones’ androgynous, but horny fashion.
Black magnificence is… curvy and voluptuous.
Black magnificence is… slender, svelte, and complicated.
Black magnificence is… the jheri curl of the ’80s.
Black magnificence is… a fairly thoughts, coronary heart, and soul.
Black magnificence is… the lengthy nails of Florence Griffith Joyner (Flo-Jo).
Black magnificence is… Janet Jackson’s intricate Poetic Justice braids.
Black magnificence is… the rationale why the lip-enhancing trade is wildly widespread.
Black magnificence is… a superbly spherical derrière.
Black magnificence is… darkish hair, darkish eyes, an enormous nostril, and massive lips.
Black magnificence is… magical.
I’ll spend the remainder of my days honoring and supporting Black magnificence, whereas encouraging others to do the identical. And when others shrink its pleasure, I promise to maintain the late Jamaican activist, Marcus Garvey’s phrases on the forefront of my thoughts, “Black pores and skin shouldn’t be a badge of disgrace however relatively a wonderful image of nationwide greatness.”