Black beauty can be dated back as early as Ancient Egyptian dynasties and Nok civilizations. To the dapper threads of former enslaved Afro-Caribbean and well known dandy lion, Julius Soubise and the beauty of the Black Creole women who flipped the Louisiana Tignon law on its head in the late 1700s. To the early 1900s Black entrepreneurial boom of the hair care industry thanks to the likes of Annie Turbo Malone, Madame CJ Walker, and Garrett Morgan. To the permanently relaxed tresses of the 1950s and the Afros of the 1960-70s glistening with sheen and styled with a pick; Black beauty is as diverse and rich as society itself.
However, Black beauty has been plagued for centuries by colonization and discrimination. The forced assimilation that Black people across the globe endured post abolishment and still today, restricts the freedom to just be authentically Black. What I mean by that is, Black beauty is continually policed by non-Blacks as well as by Blacks who still suffer the repercussions of centuries of brainwashing.
What can we do as a society? Allow for authenticity in all cultures and ethnicities. Stop impeding our thoughts on the cultural beauty of others and give them space to just be in their beautiful glory; however they see fit. Our world would be a better place if we could display respect for all forms of beauty.
Juneteenth is a celebration of the liberation of Black enslaved peoples in the United States of America. Our bodies may be physically free, but our mind and spirits are in many ways still enslaved. How we define beauty is still enslaved. How Black people show up in the world is still restricted by the guidelines of the white standard of beauty. This beauty enslavement impacts Blacks in the workplace, in schools, in familial relationships, in romantic relationships, and lest we not forget the relationship Black people have with themselves and their own identity.
Freedom equals authenticity which has a direct link to inner and outer love for one’s self and others. Today let’s proclaim freedom for Black beauty around the world… in order to form a more perfect union.