Those words delivered by Sug Avery to Miss Celie in the “The Color Purple,” are the most recognized and quoted lines from that movie.
It’s a comedic moment in the film but it could bring painful memories for girls whose bad feelings about their skin color, hair texture and unique features kept them from ever fully blossoming into what they could have been.
I think most girls of color in this country can remember the moment we first realized that our skin tone distinguished us. A good friend of mine who grew up in the 60s remembers being told by a fellow first grader, who was also African American, that she was too black. It was something completely foreign to my friend because up until that moment, she had no reason to believe anything so ridiculous. And even though she’d come from a loving home made of people of all shades who made her feel beautiful and secure, those words changed her self perception.
For me it was comparing my features to lighter skinned cousins of mixed race. Their long hair, fair skin and petite frames influenced by their Asian heritage seemed to be the measuring stick by which some family members doled out love and affection.
I tell these stories because some people think instilling positive messages to our children at home will automatically block out the negative stuff but, sadly, that isn’t always the case.
Mainstream media cannot escape this dangling hook. In reality, peer pressure AND media images play huge roles in how children see themselves.
To counter this negativity, children of color can’t be told or taught enough how to love the skin that they’re in.
The first thing we need to do is check ourselves. So many of us have generational issues with color that we may inadvertently be sending the wrong messages to our kids. What is our tone and even our facial expression when we use descriptive words like dark skinned, light skinned, nappy hair, good hair, pretty, ugly, etc.?
The next thing we can do is give our girls exposure to positive people who look like them. It seems so basic yet is crucial to improving their self-image, and ours too.
Saturday is “International Pretty Brown Girl Day,” a global celebration of girls of color. The sooner we can have an impact on a girl’s life, the better chance of her rising to her full potential without the shackles of low self-esteem and self-doubt.
One of the goals of Pretty Brown Girl is to rejoice in our cultural diversity and that happens through education, encouragement and edification.
The lesson is that beauty comes in every shade but mostly from within. We aren’t tearing down those who look different than us, but simply building up those who may not yet recognize their true gifts.
If you’d like to get involved, it’s not too late for your participation. To find out what you can to do inspire one girl or a group of girls go to prettybrowngirl.com.
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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