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The Beauty of Being a Dark-skin Girl

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I never really considered myself beautiful. Taking compliments from other people was rather hard, as they were mostly backhanded compliments such as, “ you’re pretty for a dark skin girl”. I was always fully aware that because of my dark skin tone there were rules to be followed, with the most important, and of course my personal favorite, no red lipstick. This was the hardest of these societal rules to follow, especially being an eight-year-old with curiosity creeping over me like weeds on the edge of the yard. Playing in my mother’s makeup, and soon learning to despise the red lipstick in her makeup bag. The thought of rubbing it against my lips was thrown to the back of my mind. Summers would come and go and I would always think about the blazing sun and what it did to me, how it added a new coat of black to my skin like a fresh paint job. The thought of getting darker flooded my thoughts so much it became all I thought about.

In high school, my ninth grade year, I was given the uninvited nickname of Hutu, after our class watched the devastating film Rwanda. I mean, who else to give this nickname to but the Dark skin girl? Jokes were thrown around constantly, only I didn’t find humor in their words, only annoyance. I contemplated, what was with this obsession with my skin? What was so wrong with being dark? Boys in school joked that they would never have kids with dark-skinned girls. Self-consciousness crawled in as if I needed anything more to diminish my confidence as a teenager. It didn’t help that there were beliefs that echoed in the media that outcast me. Having a super large smile with a gap in the middle of my teeth, a rather big nose, and my darker skin, I was not seen as a beauty queen. I noticed that in popular movies and tv shows the “token black” character was almost never my shade, but lighter on the “spectrum of blackness”. For a long time, I aspired to achieve standards of white beauty.

There were no dark-skinned black women that I could look up to and say, yes she is beautiful on her own accord. This idea was nonexistent until I started to see actresses such as Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o, Emmy Award Winner Viola Davis, and supermodel Nyakim Gatwech celebrated. Gorgeous, dark-skinned black women who rock their beauty with flawlessness. I started to see more of myself everywhere I turned, such as makeup ads where dark-skinned women rocked the red lipstick that was so forbidden, on runways where their skin glowed under the dimmed lighting, and in commercials where their white teeth sparkled against their chocolate skin. 

Overall, my black is beautiful. I have accepted my dark melanin. I am a dark-skinned goddess, I have allowed their words of hate to roll off my back like a marble on wood. I am no longer “pretty for a dark skin girl”, I get to be beautiful, I will not fade away into the background of society’s standards of beauty.  

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The Beauty of Being a Dark-Skin Girl. (2022, August 30). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 31, 2023, from
“The Beauty of Being a Dark-Skin Girl.” GradesFixer, 30 Aug. 2022,
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