Have you ever had someone make offensive comments about your skin tone? After being asked by a young woman at a lecture how she “grew out” of “wanting to be light-skinned with long hair,” Dr. Yaba Blay knew that beautiful Black women needed on outlet–needed a visual platform to appreciate their own deep, dark beauty. That’s where her amazing Tumblr, “Pretty. Period.” came from. The site’s tag line gallantly states, “A visual tribute to brown skin. A visional testament to Black beauty. A vision board for healing.”
This site offers three main sections, filled with beautiful images of Black women of every shade:
- I AM: (You are Here) offers information about the project and its collaborators.
- YOU ARE : features photos submitted by women who see themselves as part of this movement.
- WE ARE: a features official project photographs captured by contributing photographers
And then, there’s “The Journal,” where Dr. Blay will offer a few musings, but “only a few” because she wants to focus on the “Period.” of her site’s namesake and offer no defense, no explanations, just pretty images of brown women.
Check out the site’s creator, Dr. Yaba Blay’s statement about Pretty. Period:
I’ve spent many years researching and writing about Black body politics, particularly as it relates to skin tone i.e. colorism and skin color politics. For the most part, when we talk about skin color politics, we focus primarily on the sociopolitical DISadvantages that come with being dark-skinned in a society that continues to privilege and prioritize White/Western standards of beauty. Take for example, Bill Duke’s documentary, Dark Girls. Although it was a necessary documentary and indeed resonated with *some* my own experiences, something about what I saw in the documentary bothered me. Not because it wasn’t true, but because it was the ONLY truth I have long seen discussed.
As an academic, I could have simply written about it (which I did) or discussed it in my classrooms (which I do), but after doing this work for what feels like my entire life, I’m at a point where I would much rather create than to critique.
Enter ‘Pretty. Period,’ a (soon to be) transmedia project created as a visual missive in reaction to the oh-so-popular, yet oh-so-offensive “compliment” – “You’re pretty for a dark-skinned girl.” Our collective response is, “No, we’re pretty. PERIOD.”
Showcasing girls and women of brown-to-dark complexions in the truth of their beauty, ‘Pretty. Period’ emerges as a visual tribute to brown skin, a visional testament to Black beauty, and a vision board for healing – both ours and yours.
With backhanded compliments like, ”You’re so pretty, for a dark-skinned girl,” frequently flying around, it’s fine time that Black women have a place to go where they can just be pretty and feel appreciated. This site warms my soul. Check it out and tell us what you think about it.
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