When you think of your skin tone, what comes to mind? When I think of mine, I see rich chocolate skin that shimmers when the sun hits it. Skin that has its own natural highlight and with the sun serving as bronzer. Today, I am proud of my complexion. Unfortunately that feeling hasn’t always been familiar to me. I grew up being one of the darker people in my family. I was constantly told, “You’re pretty for a brown skin girl.” It left me wondering what was wrong with all of the other girls if I was the exception. Still, I went through my teenage years realizing that my slightly darker skin set me aside from my fair-skin counterparts. When I realized who Marsha B. was, I realized that my color is one of a queen. Not because of the degree of melanin, but because the melanin tells a story of strength, no matter the shade. Our complexion tells a historic tale of trials, tribulations and triumphs. Brown skin wasn’t always the popular choice until one day, women of color everywhere woke up and decided, “My brown skin is poppin!”
Tori Elizabeth and Victory Jones joined forces to birth The Colored Girl Campaign. The primary focus behind TCG is to highlight the beauty and features of the brown color wheel. Mainstream media may frown on our complexion and features, but this campaign works to empower and unite women of color based on their unique physical attributes. Each model was handpicked by Tori and Victory with the intention of accentuating the features that media finds abnormal or weird yet are emulated and celebrated on other women. Tori explained, “There are moments where I feel everyone loves us and wants to be us and have our features. But then there are the moments when I feel it’s not okay for us to have it but it’s okay for the masses to have it. So as a brown girl I feel sometimes it’s not okay to be who you are. Whether it’s in media or social media. I’m from the south, where being a brown girl isn’t something that people necessarily worship or praise. I want the next generation (and our generation) to look at this campaign and feel like it’s okay to be a brown girl, outside of media. In real life.”
The process for picking the models for TCG was simple. “(I looked for) Different girls of different shades. I was looking at facial features that didn’t really match the other, but complimented one another. I looked at hair that they had whether it was locks, braids, weaves or afros. I looked at the skin tone. From the lightest skin to the darkest, beautiful skin. I didn’t want it to be commercial and conventional; I didn’t want every girl to have the same body type, I wanted to show different aspects of a woman,” she said.
The unique undertone of TCG campaign is that everyone is dressed in neutrals, a symbolic way to express comfort, rawness and vulnerability. “I wanted to dress the girls in neutrals as far as browns, nudes, and skin tones; in doing that, I think it shows we are comfortable in our own skin,” she stated.
Being a woman of color in today’s society can be challenging and empowering at the same time. We’ve all seen that meme that describes it as being part of an elite, powerful gang. The term black girl magic was created to highlight those magical ‘winning’ moments or to simply celebrate a group of fly women giving their best smize in a photo. Let’s not limit it to just that. Black Girl Magic happens whenever a positive group of women step in the room. There is no denying the power we can create together. This campaign isn’t anti-anything or anyone. The sole purpose is to unite, embrace and empower women all over the world, all shades of brown and all of their gorgeous features. Let’s continue to ignite that powerful Black Girl Magic spark!
Check the gallery for more photos from The Color Girl Campaign. Follow the campaign, @thecgirlinc.