Beauty can be found in all beauty. Beauty is not meant to be compared, it is meant to be celebrated and appreciated. The proclamation of a particular race's beauty is not meant to be seen as the devaluing of another race. With all of that being said, there is no substitute for the beauty that women of color possess.
Throughout the entire history of this country, women of color have been degraded by those "in charge." When your circumstances are as such, it's hard to find a reason to smile. One of the things I hear from a lot of women—specifically black women—is how much they hate hearing the phrase "you know, you really should smile more," or "you're prettier when you smile," but when you put into perspective the way that the system is set up (with its foot firmly on their necks), it makes it hard for them to smile. So these phrases suddenly become the seed of anger instead of an innocent quip. Rather than taking the time to tell a woman what she should be doing more of, why not just focus on finding a way to brighten up her day. Women of color, you deserve love and a lot of it.
On some level I know this may be a bit "preachy," but I really felt the need to write about this, especially with the purpose of this post in mind. This past summer I had the opportunity to attend Curlfest, and I was surrounded by so much beauty and love. It was amazing to be in a space where women of color were free to show one another love and be themselves. To not be weighed down by society's standards of what beauty "should be," and to just be the beautiful queens they truly are day in and out. In all my life I've never felt like I was in a more safe space, and I could see it on the faces of the women there, they felt it and appreciated it too. I realized that there is a desperate need for more events like Curlfest. It is definitely needed and not something that should be overlooked any longer.
There's something that is simply indescribable about being in a space with hundreds of absolutely beautiful curly queens and kings. Each smile I saw was bigger than the last. The outfits, the swagger in their walk, the beauty of their skin—it was clear that everyone was there to feel the joy of being in a space where they didn't have to hold back and could be who they truly are. They didn't have to worry about conforming to what society considers to be "acceptable" or "professional," they could just be themselves. I've never been anywhere with so much genuine love and grace in the air, it was intoxicating. I hope to be a space like this again soon.
Please share this with friends or anyone you know that may need encouragement.