Black women are made out of brown sugar, cocoa, honey and gold. And the strength of ten thousand moons”. ~ Unknown

We have to accept who we are in order to understand our place and our importance in this world.
The Caribbean is heavily influenced by the Western culture and this can be good and bad.  Through cable television, the internet including social media and the average Jamaican’s access to the privilege of travelling…farrin is not so far away anymore.  This can be good, because exposure to new ways of living can be beneficial, especially for the new generation.  However on the flip side, it can be bad, because as Caribbean women, sometimes we get so caught up in the western society’s definition of beauty that we tend to forget our own.

I mean, let’s get real here for a second…it was not until very recently that we started seeing diversity in beauty campaigns.  Up until a few years ago, you could not find a commercial or campaign for a beauty product that included a black model, even if the beauty product was for all skin tones.  The female with blonde hair, blue eyes and athletic features was preferred by the entertainment industry and in some cases, this is still a fact.  Recently, society has begun to accept a few plus size women in entertainment however their curves have to be in the ‘right’ places.  It is based on this biased depiction of beauty that we, as descendants of Africans, tend to compare ourselves.

We strive to achieve unrealistic body goals in the hope of being accepted or fitting into a society that never favoured our look in the first place.  We compare our bodies, our hair and our skin with the ideals of the western world and when we do not ‘size up’ or we ‘fall short’ then we become frustrated and we question our beauty and sometimes our place in society.  If you look back in history, African women have always been BIG (for lack of a better term).  The body of an African woman was seen as both a blessing and a curse.  A blessing because, our big arms became a place of refuge for our men and they also formed a cradle for our children.  Our breast provided comfort and food, our thighs, our hips and everything about our body was essentially the magic that kept our men alive and our families together.  But then our bodies were also seen as a curse because we were both physically and sexually attractive to slave owners and so women were abused, tortured and torn from their families.  Our bodies made us into nurturers as well as fighters.  Therefore, we must not forget where we should be looking for examples or validation of our beauty.

Model: Sasha Edwards
Image courtesy of MRR Imaging

Our ancestors left us with a legacy of strength and resilience; this means we should be looking within for validation.  Our beauty stems from our motherland.  Genetically, we are darker in complexion, we have coils or kinky hair and we are naturally curvy with fuller breasts, thighs, arms, tummies and hips.  It will be difficult for us to find similarities when we compare ourselves to what the Western culture defines as beautiful because we are not from the Western world!  We are not being fair to ourselves when we compare our beauty or seek validation from a culture we were forced to accept.  We have as much, if not more, to offer to the world.  We are so beautiful and colourful that it is hard to trace our heritage or our genes back to ONE specific place.  Our ancestors were powerful and strong.  Our beauty came from what we could do for each other and how much we were able to fight for each other rather than what we looked like physically.  So before you speak another negative word about your body or another black woman’s body; bear in mind the magic you hold inside you and that the women who fought for your freedom would never call you anything but beautiful.

Tell me some of the most beautiful things about you?

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