About a decade ago, the standard for beauty was light-skinned, a phenomenon that wasn’t so much a function of race but of colourism. Light skinned was the only form of beauty that was acknowledged and while we had white privilege to contend with, we also had light skin privileges also referred to as skin tone stratification.
As the years went by, dark-skinned females started getting some “recognition”, however, it came with a clause. Rather than simply ‘you are beautiful’, we heard people say things like ‘you’re beautiful for a dark-skinned girl’ or ‘you’d look way better if you were lighter’. Why did the compliments have to come with clauses?
To combat this act of colour shaming, people became more vocal about loving your melanin through images and accompanying messages aimed at shattering stereotypes about beauty. This led to a number of beauty campaigns around Black Girl Magic, Melanin Poppin’ and My Black is Beautiful.
Photographer, Femi Alabede also decided to spread the message of self-love in his recent beauty editorial, An Ode To Melanin. The shoot celebrates the dark-skinned girl and is accompanied by a poem dedicated to her. Each image also has a short message that reinforces her beauty.
An Ode to Melanin – Celebrating the Dark-skinned Girl.
“Dear dark-skinned girl,
You are beautiful,
The color of coffee with no cream,
Dark like the bittersweet chocolate,
Caramel-coated coquette, honey dipped.
Full of vigor, full lipped and full bodied
Full dark-skinned and exquisite majestic even with your brown-black self!
From the tint in your skin, to the thickness of your hair, you are perfect.
You are Melanin perfect”
Photography – Femi Alabede
Models – Omowunmi Williams and Eniola Lawal
Make up – Eniola Lawal for Aphrodite beauty Hub