Have you ever heard the phrase, “You’re pretty for a dark skinned girl?”

That backward compliment is far too common for many of our darker-hued sisters, many of whom have grown up being told that their shade of brown is less than beautiful.

In a world that often covets Whiteness and holds it up as the standard, Black women have been finding ways to showcase our sheer magnificence since the beginning of time. But 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 more work needed to be done.

Her response? The collaborative blog Pretty Period, which shares images and experiences from dark skin beauties from across the diaspora.

Pretty Period’s mission is clear: “To visually demonstrate the sheer abundance of dark-skinned beauty. We are indeed everywhere. We stand as the rule, not the exception.”

Meloni - Philadelphia, PA -Photo Credit: Ann Blake Photography

Meloni – Philadelphia, PA -Photo Credit: Ann Blake Photography

Pretty Period is collaborating with photographers from around the world that will share what they think being “Pretty Period” means. So far, Pretty Period has featured the work of Sabriya Simon of Kingston, Jamaica; danielle miles of New Orleans, Louisiana; and Roni Nicole of Atlanta, Georgia. The site is also working with photographers in Accra, Ghana as well.

In a time when Black women often find ourselves at the wrong end of a joke or the subject of seemingly unforgiving criticism, it’s comforting to see so many sisters reshaping the narratives about Black women on our own terms.

Visit the Pretty Period blog to see the striking images and submit your own.

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  • vintage3000

    @ Megan ATL–

    You can be dismayed all you like. I am not frothing at the mouth upset because a website exists that does not celebrate my skin color, and I am not sure where I’ve ever stated I need your applause?

    Apparently there are people who are distraught over the concept of Pretty.Period, and they have several options: don’t read it, accept it, or yes, get.a.tan if they feel their exclusion from a site like this disturbs them so badly. They should ask themselves the REAL reasons why a site dedicated to darker women upsets them, and trust it’s not the ‘Black women solidarity’ bs. Because that sisterhood never shows up when people like Kevin Hart are spewing their ignorance.

    And as for the “other” websites, I’m sure it’s difficult for you to believe but there are dark skinned women who are not traumatized by that kind of adulation. Shocking, right? There are Black people who truly think only light skin is attractive, and I only know one Black person like this in real life (an ignorant, middle aged, dark Black woman who actually becomes enraged when she sees women with Lupita’s complexion complimented for their beauty-go figure). So it is not an issue that has affected my self esteem, sorry to disappoint you. My complexion is similar to the baby in the pic above, and have always had my color described as food objects (chocolate, cocoa, cinnamon-lol), always flattering terms. My oldest sister was very light with hazel eyes, absolutely gorgeous color and I’ve always been told my color is also. So I don’t care how many times you may have watched Dark Girls and need to believe this is an issue for all of us. I brought up this colorism as an example of the hypocrisy with that other chick. I am sure there are even more websites that extol the virtues of women who look like Paula Patton, apparently those don’t get her knickers in a twist the way dark skinned women getting praise does.
    If you can find any posts of me whining and crying about those types of websites praising those women, then we can talk.

    In the interim, you and the other one can converse and console each other with your straw man arguments. You have infected this thread enough with your feigned outrage.

    • Too much nonsensee

      Girl you infected this thread when you told another black woman they need to get a Tan. Your long rants are exhausting. Own your negativity, apologize and move on. Nobody’s fault somebody didn’t tell you your dark skin was beautiful when you were 6. Get a shrink.

    Why do I sing Praises of your Beautiful, Black, ebony,velvet skin,”Blacker than the sky at midnight”{1},your full mushroomed mouth, your beautiful broad nose, your generous “Congo hips” {2}and full-flowered backside? Because for too long many of the Black Race have abused, dishonored you, degraded and denied you your crown, Queen of Queens,Queen Mother of the Black Race, Black Beauty Supreme! From you all the beauty of the Black Race springs forth.In fact all the world’s beauty springs from you,Mother of all beauty of all the races of the world! Your Black midnight,licorice,dark black chocolate,beauty, is Blackness concentrated in your beautiful “Black-blueberry”{3} face!
    First in the order of creation is always given respect by Afrikan tradition. The 1st wife, the 1st elder, the 1st kingdom, the 1st original inhabitants, of the earth-all are considered with honor. So it should be with Black Beauty-our darkest -skinned Sisters are the 1st Mothers of the Universe-Black as a color came before all the many tones of brown,red,yellow and white. But for too long our Dark-skinned Queens have not been given the respect and place of honor they deserve. IN FACT THE WHITE BOY HAS INTIATED the cycle of reversing the true order of things by turning upside down the pyramid of Beauty, and placing white-light on top and relegating the most beautiful Black-skinned Beauties to rock bottom!
    So Black people have been taught well how to deny our most
    beautiful one her crown, taught how to reject our Blackest, most Afrikan features, full lips and nose and mouth and woollest hair, for the weaker characteristics of the white race. Shame on Black people! When will we wake up to this Black Beauty concentrated, from whence all our lesser beauty comes. When will we give the crown of crowns,the throne of thrones, to the Blackest Queen of Queens?
    Most of us who suffer from”mulatto-mentality” and “yellow fever”, as Fela, our great Nigerian Musician calls it, will go on and on about what about us lighter queens-aren’t we/they beautiful too, yet you/we should be aware that such queens have gotten all the play in the past and that even in Black Egypt one of the reasons for its downfall was the allowing the lighter ones of the race, to place themselves above the rest of us in the name of lightness and pride of light-closer/to/whiteness.
    So if we’re yellow,to light brown/red, then we should give respect where respect is due and not live off of the artificial white thrill of having “white features” as if it is an advantage. Where would you be without your BLACKEST great Grandmother? We should honor the Blackest part of ourselves, thus giving us true pride of Blackness, not verbal signifyin’ but real testifyin’ that BLACK is beautiful! If the Blackest, most Afrikan-featured Sister isn’t respected as the Supreme Beauty of the Race,the Black woman’s beauty is not really respected at all for what it really is(only in terms of how closer to white we look). We all reflect the strengths of this concentrated beauty in ourselves, all the manifestations of how Blackness can present itself are seen in our faces. Down to the milk-lightest of us, our Blackness is what dominates us whether physically or mentally. But the Mother is greater than the child and so the Blackest is greater than all the other tones of the Black Race. If we don’t respect our Blackest Queen, we don’t respect our True Black selves. We must have a Black value for BLACKNESS in features and skin tone. We must have a Black Standard of Beauty based on the Black-skinned woman. ALL PRAISES DUE TO OUR BLACK-SKINNED QUEEN-MOTHERS!
    Sister Yeye Akilimali Funua Olade
    @COPYRIGHT 1981,Lagos,Nigeria
    BLACK NOTES: Let me give tribute to Brother Damu,House of Umoja(San Francisco) for{1}
    {2}Brother O.O. Gabugan in the poem “Black Queen For a Day”,{3}Sister Sonia Sanchez in her poem “,Queens of the Universe”,for the quoted words used in the first part of this article.