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 (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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