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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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  • @ Darlene and Passing by:

    Like the page on tumblr called winefinedarkchicks said “Uplifting dark-skinned women to be seen as equally beautiful as their lighter counterparts is NOT synonymous with hating or forgetting light skinned women.”

    As a mahogany hued woman that comes from a honey hued mother, I appreciated the affirmations and self-love that my mom gave and taught me (respectively). She understood her privilege as a lighter shade woman and made sure that I KNEW I was beautiful despite what the media portrays about the darker hued women. Ain’t nobody pitting nobody against each other. This page is just the simple act of uplifting those that are always downed, over looked and or forgotten.

    • StopHating

      I’m a honey colored mother who have a beautiful chocolate daughter. I taught her that she isn’t her complexion. She has been light and darken over the years. I have been light and have darken.. black is black. I notice that dark black women have a problem with biracial and white looks. And tend to cowardly USE light skin blacks (blacks from two black parents)to address that issue. Me and my dark sister can’t celebrated at the same website, its some bull. Black women matters.

  • Honestly

    Why can’t we have one site for both? As if we need further black girl divisions! I am amazed everyone is ok with this.

  • Ms. Vee

    To the first photo: BAM! She looks like she could be Bria Myles. And as for the adorable chocolate baby…you will one day see me in the news for kidnap.

  • when blacks get an organization whites ask the same questions “why do you need this? why can’t it just be for everyone?” and blacks get all offended because it is pretty darn OBVIOUS that the black community could use the benefits the organization brings. whites only think of how they don’t have it as good as people think, how blacks are always doing this yet if they did it things would be a big fuss, and they never consider their privilege.

    i see the same thing here. “why do dark people needs this? why not just one for all black women?” as long as this organization isn’t putting down light women, if you are pro-black you shouldn’t have an issue for it. if in the future colorism against dark people is gone, then this organization is 100% unnecessary and divisive. however, we are not at that point.

  • Jade M.

    I want to support this, I really do and I applaud any woman who feels the need to make sure her beauty is seen. However, I can’t get on board. By the way, full disclosure: I am a dark skinned woman. I am like Angie Stone dark, maybe even a little darker. I had healthy and loving parents who did not use negative language around me. I was also adopted so I think my parents went out of their way to make sure I knew I was special. Anyway, I think all we need is to make sure we always check any black women’s site for total inclusion. However, it saddens me that some sisters will be reading one website and other sisters another. My sisters, my sisters, no! No, no and no. We can’t separate. We are one. We are Nina Simone beautiful, Lena Horne beautiful, Aretha Franklyn beautiful, Whitney Houston beautiful, Vanessa Williams beautiful and Cicely Tyson beautiful. I feel like this is as if someone came into my play yard and said I want one group of you sisters to go on the swings and the other on the see-saw and neither of you can play together. Please sisters, let’s fix this. Let’s have a dialogue about how we portray each other and then we can fix this. No separate sites. Please, no. If we separate, white people will always win. Always.