#28DaysOfBlackness: From Black Barbie Dolls To ‘Flexin My Melanin’

Kheris Rogers is so many goals. So. Many. Goals.

Get into this backstory taken from CNBC:

“…Taylor Pollard remembers when her younger sister, Kheris Rogers, was in the first grade, she once asked to stay in the bathtub longer — she hoped it would make her skin lighter.

“That’s when I realized that the bullying that was going on at her school at the first grade was really taking a toll on her,” Pollard, 23, tells CNBC Make It. Kids were making fun of Rogers’ dark complexion.

The students in Rogers’ class in Los Angeles were primarily white, recall the sisters. There were four other African-Americans, but Rogers’ skin was darker than everyone else’s. Rogers, now 11, remembers being asked to draw a picture of herself; the teacher gave her a black crayon while the other African-American students were given brown ones.

… So in the spring of 2017, Taylor Pollard tweeted a photo of Rogers with the hashtag, “#FlexinInHerComplexion,” an expression the sisters’ grandmother, Bettie Pollard, who grew up in Louisiana, used frequently to encourage the girls to feel beautiful.

How to hush a hater.
Exhibit 1: Kheris.
Exhibit 2: Flex on ’em.

I am of the age where I remember the first Barbie doll I ever got was white. I remember my mother and godmother had to hunt to get a Black Barbie doll. I remember growing up among all the other Black girls in countless classrooms, the bulk us played with white Barbie dolls; thinking these dolls were pretty. Thinking that being light-skinned and long hair would always make us pretty.

The goal was always to be pretty. Being pretty would then bring confidence and all other trappings of popularity.

I remember the darker skinned girls in my class always being treated differently than the lighter skinned girls. I remember how ‘bad’ it was to be ‘dark’ and how that was (somehow) ugly. I remember how being a dark skinned girl was something at the time, I never wanted to be. Yet, I have a sister whom would be classified as a dark skinned Black girl. I remember up until high school, I would try to minimize my time outside. Why? Because I didn’t want to be darker than what I was.

The fact that Kheris’s mother saw her daughter hurting, and had her harness it is monumental! The society does not make gassing up the confidence of little Black girls its regular practice. Sometimes, we have to gas up one another! Sometimes we must turn the light on one another to remind us that we are seen! If we are seen, we can be confident in what we see in the mirror. We can then take that same energy out into the world.

If helping a little Black girl realize her beauty, her confidence and her power is a simple as a hashtag? Fine.

If to make her realize what she houses, her very color, is what people tan to get? Throw full support behind it!

If we rescue the self-image of Black women and girls from the jaws of carnivorous self-hatred? We need to so that everyday (Yet another reason The Ideal Firestarter exists.).

When this company started by a Black elementary school girl was brought to my attention last year, I was in disbelief! Not because she started the company, but of how awesome the message was and that Kheris is one less Black girl with lightening cream. With caustic scrubs to her face. Buying lighter foundation to pile on to make it seem that she’s lighter than what she is.

She is one more little Black girl who won’t hate herself.

That in itself, is beautiful.

Happy Black Future Month, Kheris.

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