Let Us Learn To Love Our Black, Our Melanin

Categories Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Malcom X once asked: “who taught you to hate yourself? Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair? Who taught you to hate the color of your skin?”

I guess the answer to these questions relates to society’s standards as set by the global media which equates light skin with beauty, affluence, happiness and success. The same media portrays black people negatively. That is why black people procure expensive perms and hair weaves. And saturate themselves with skin-lightening creams, even when they clearly know the health dangers that come with the use of skin lighteners, such as skin discoloration, reduction to the skin’s resistance to infection and damage to the kidneys and the nervous system.

The wisdom of our forefathers tells us that beauty extends beyond skin and hair color and texture. It tells us that people are beautiful when they are confident in themselves, and compassionate towards others. It tells us that we should love people for who they are, and love different nations, races and cultures, each for their unique beauty and contributions to our common humanity. It tells us not to forget our own cultures and traditions. It tells us that our skin connects us to our culture, our African heritage, traditions and ancestry.

I am black, and proud of my black skin and hair texture. I am encouraged by great, distinguished black men and women. I am encouraged by men and women who challenge the norm. Men and women who have refused to ascribe to, and abide by, media ideologies of beauty. Men and women who embrace and love what God gave them naturally, their beautiful, thick, and kinky hair.

Take an honest look at the beauty and dignity of the likes of Lupita Nyong’o, Beyoncè, Harry Belafonte, Daniel “Churchill” Ndambuki, Nina Simone, Steve Harvey, Halle Berry, Zoe Saldana, Michelle Obama, Viola Davis, Maria Borges, Miriam Makeba, Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey and Rosa Parks. The list is endless. These are men and women who proudly rock(ed) their natural black beauty. Men and women who stood up, and continue to stand up, for the sake of humanity; not just black people, but all humanity. Constantly reminding us that real beauty lies in the soul, that beauty comes from being prepared to affirm our own story, our own history and transform our pain and suffering into something healing to ourselves and others.

Look at the resilience of black people. In athletics you will find the likes of Usain Bolt, David Rudisha, Florence Griffith-Joyner, Tegla Loroupe, Henry Rono, Meseret defar. Examples in tennis and golf are Serena Williams and Tiger Woods, respectively. In professional football you will find the likes of Victor Wanyama, Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Touré, Pele, Didier Drogba, Yaya Touré, Samuel Eto’o and George Weah. Famous basketball players include Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Shaquille O’Neal, Scottie Pippen, Oscar Robertson, Charles Barkey, Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Karl Malone. Great black leaders include Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Julius Nyerere. Do not forget the boxing legends of all time like Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson.

And yet, even with all this abundance of role models, we continue to bleach and wear fake hair. We continue thinking and behaving as if God made a mistake when He created us. We continue having low self esteem. We continue desiring to have a lighter skin and long, straight hair, blonde hair which can be blown in the wind, not our natural short hair that shrinks in the heat.

As for me, I will remain comfortable in my own skin, even when the black is so loud and it screams back.

I will continue loving my hair which defies the force of gravity and grows straight up. I will continue to love myself just the way I am, never comparing myself to others. I will continue knowing that the only competitor in my life is me, and strive to become the best version of myself. I will continue being proud of my heritage and my melanin.

I invite you to join me in this journey of self-love, a journey of love for our skin that “has been kissed by the sun”, like India.Arie says in Brown Skin

“I am not my hair. I am not this skin. I am the soul that lives within”, says India. Arie

I am an epic introvert, who quickly becomes an open book when I pen what’s in my significantly fertile mind; fertile as a result of bombardment by realities that are continuously captured by my inquisitive eyes, ears which are constantly rubbing the ground, through constant reading, and through dreaming too.

Writing provides an opportunity to ‘say’ what my unapologetic quiet mouth will not say; which not only soothes me, but also bequeaths to me a relief, a release, and a hope that the written words will change the world, even if only one person at a time.

And so should you seek, that’s where to find me; deeply tucked inside the blankets of reading, seeing, listening, dreaming, and then writing.

6 thoughts on “Let Us Learn To Love Our Black, Our Melanin

  1. This is a message that we blacks should continuously hammer to ourselves, that we sre God’s best.

  2. Black has been my responsorial psalm
    Dad(Rip): Emmah
    Me: Uyu Muiru ta nyina
    Proudly black to an extent when acne strick, the first question is: Does it breach?

    1. It’s great when we love ourselves; exactly the way God created us Emmah. I love my melanin.

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