Black is beautiful is a cultural movement with the stated aim of empowering individuals of African descent across the diaspora. South African author Steve Biko’s book Black Consciousness pushed the movement to prominence. Arguably, James Brown’s “I’m Black and I’m Proud” is the signature song of the movement. The movement is often associated with the Black Nationalist Movement.
Many may argue that the assertion that black is beautiful is problematic and racist. I take issue with that. Saying black is beautiful is NOT like saying White Power. No sir! The Black is Beautiful movement was meant to combat the years of brainwashing and propaganda that told black people everything –from their skin color to hair texture– ugly. The movement was meant to consciously reject mainstream culture ideas of beauty and undo the dysfunctional relationship that black people have developed with themselves and members of their communities.
Black is Beautiful is still needed. Black and brown communities are still plagued by issuses of colorism. Deeply rooted societal beliefs –within black communities and larger society– have not only negatively impacted the self-esteem and self-worth of black women, but they have also significantly impacted the complicated history of black women’s economy and social history. For example, dark-skinned women and girls face well documented prejudices, and it is widely believed that light-skinned women have unearned privileges.
We often associate beauty with physical appearance; however, it also has to do with the beauty of one’s spirit, mind and body, and most of all the beauty of one’s ability to resist and survive.
Photo credit –AfroPunk