By Chanel Davis
Last week a video was posted on social platforms of a lady doing this little girl’s hair. During the beginning of the video, the little girl looks straight into the camera after noticing she was being recorded while she was getting her hair done. After looking into the camera, the little girl proceeds to say, “I am so ugly.”
Much to the hairdresser’s surprise, she was totally shocked that this little girl who is four years old thinks of herself as ugly! She proceeded to question the little girl on why she thought she was ugly and told her that she was so beautiful. She even pointed out her features like her dimples, her beautiful chocolate skin, and her sparkling white teeth.
This video really hit home for me. It truly brought tears to my eyes. Being a chocolate girl myself and thinking back to some of the experiences I went through as a young girl and young adult, it really made me wish I had heard some of those things growing up that the hairdresser in the video was telling this toddler.
Back when I was a child, I remember a certain family member who would call me ugly or black. Though it was not always directly to me and often overheard, whether I was doing something wrong or not, those words stuck with me more years than I realized.
Having “darker” skin and “distinctive” or “broad features”, I was often picked on and called a monkey or dumbo because of the size of my ears. And the icing on the cake, these insults often came from other black children. I am the youngest of three and was often compared to my sisters, who are twins. People would identify them as the pretty ones and me the ugly ones.
I even remember praying sometimes at night for God to please make me pretty.
My mother never referred to me as anything other than being her child which she always uplifted us and showed affection, so I always got love in my home. It was the world that was cruel to me once I left that threshold of my home to face the evil opinions of what people thought to be considered beautiful.
By a certain age, I was used to getting these insults in school. It wasn’t until I was in my later years in high school that I was referred to as “cute” or “pretty”. Transitioning into college, I was starting to hear beautiful or “pretty for a dark-skinned girl” more often.
Now being someone who had never really been associated with anything other than being tall and ugly, this was flattering to me. I had never gotten those types of comments before. So, it felt good. To finally be among the land of the pretty instead of being detestable due to the richness of my skin and features.
Inevitably being shallow from these experiences, I lacked knowledge of my self-worth. I had only grown to appreciate being accepted by my appearance. Often competing with what society was feeding us as their definition of beautiful–which were white or light-skinned women with long hair and any eye color than brown.
The older I became, I started to do my own research from my personal experiences to come to the realization that what makes me pretty or beautiful is my character and values. How I treat the next individual and what type of example I am presenting.
Most importantly, I make sure to feed young generations with positive affirmations. To give them what the world will not. I look at my niece and nephew and make sure to tell them that they are loved, smart and both a beautiful black girl and a beautiful black boy. Children need that in the home first, so the world won’t stand a chance in attempting to demean and belittle them. Encourage them to be whatever it is they wish to be. That the color of their skin sets no boundaries or limitations on who they can become.
Today when I see that family member who called me those ugly and nasty names, I look at them and smile because they don’t know the strength that they gave me when they were trying to break me. I used the fuel of negativity to motorize the joy and peace that I have today.
To the little girl in the video, I was once you and felt the same things you felt. I often looked at myself and the color of my skin as ugly from listening to the world. I hope you can find this post later in life or someone reads this to you and to let you know that you are beautiful. From your beauty will stem great things to come in your life that will ultimately inspire more chocolate girls that look just like you. Let your smile shine bright on the darkness that people will try to project on you.
You are beautiful.
Chanel Davis is a Contributing Writer for the Pedestal Project, LLC. Chanel is the creator and operator of the Diary Of A Chocolate Girl podcast aiming to connect with chocolate girls all over through personal experiences and opinions with mild humor and a spiritual flare. Be sure to connect on IG and Facebook @DiaryofaChocolateGirl.