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Black History Month: An ode to black beauty

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Illustration by: Birmy Michelle | Staff Illustrator

Every now and then, we are lucky enough to stumble across moments of true beauty, and I experience this every time I attend a black event, party or church service—we’re just so damn beautiful.

Melanin can range from the palest of the pale—skin that shines like pure moonlight—to an ebony so pure and untainted it appears smooth to the touch. Our skin tones are so beautiful and delicious-looking that others cannot help but compare them to sweets.

This is for you my chocolate sisters, toffee brothers and honey-colored cousins. You are beyond beautiful.

Hair that coils up toward the heavens is one of the most mystical and divine powers of the black folk. The ability to channel our hair into our personalities and aspirations is something to be admired. Box braids, weaves, relaxers and natural hair are just a few of the many hairstyles at our fingertips.

There is no end to the beautiful complexity and uniqueness of black hair. You are beyond beautiful.

The curves, or sometimes lack thereof, that black women are born with are marvelous. Every aspect of our bodies reflects continuity in the circle of life—the curve of an ample bosom or the fullness of lips—cannot be contained, much like our spirit. You are beyond beautiful.

There are so many variations to black beauty, that we are each our own archetype. Some of us may choose to embrace our natural state, to commune with nature and the beauty of being human. Others may choose to embrace the hardness, loyalty and fierceness that comes with being black in America—and boy do they rock it well.

From the bouncin’ and behavin’ sister with relaxed strands to the Erykah Badu-inspired soul goddess, there is nothing more beautiful to me than a group of black people coming together in fellowship.

No one will understand the inner struggle of trying to accept beauty amongst the blonde hair, blue-eyed masses.

My hair is short and coily, not long and flowing. My eyes are brown, not blue or green. My nose is not small and slope-shaped, but flat and wide like the Nile River. I don’t wear a size two, no matter how much I wish.

My skin is honey-colored and kissed by the sun, whether I want it to be or not, and there is unspeakable beauty in the genes of the motherland painted across my body.

So when I attend a black event, and am in fellowship with people that look like me and experience things that I do, it means so much to have someone turn and say, “You are beyond beautiful.”

To my fellow black folk, I look like you and you look like me, even though we don’t resemble each other at all. It is up to us to recognize the beauty in our brothers and sisters because our features are often seen as parts that can be cut and pasted onto others.

My brother, you are more than your muscles and your brawn. My sister, you are more than your hips and your thighs. We are beyond beautiful, inside and out.