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BOBBI ELLE: BROWN SKIN GIRL…BLACK GIRL MAGIC

Brown skin girl
Your skin just like pearls
The best thing in the world
Never trade you for anybody else
Singin’ brown skin girl
Your skin just like pearls
The best thing in the world
I never trade you for anybody else, singin’…


This song has been on repeat in my home since Beyoncé dropped her album for The Lion King. Hearing the lyrics drives me to tears and makes me happy all at once. Watching my daughter, Bobbi Elle dance around the house while belting the lyrics of the song, brings me joy. The other day I asked her if she knew what the song meant.  “Yes mommy…it means my brown skin is beautiful.”

At 2 years and 3 years old, Bobbi would come home asking for her hair to be straight and long like her pre-school friends. She would ask why she couldn’t be “vanilla.” She would play with her white Barbies and call her black dolls “dirty.” Crazy part is…I used to hear other moms talk about this – but never expected to hear those words from my own child…and at such a young age.

I knew that she was in a pre-school where she was one of one. While she developed the best relationships and friendships that she still has til this day – it clearly affected her to not see other girls like her. She just wanted to be…what she saw.

By the time she was 4 years old, I knew we needed to balance out what she was seeing on a daily basis…and since she loved to dance – I found an African-American ballet studio near where we lived, Be Dance Studios.   I took her by to get her registered – and she looked at the roster of girls and said…“wow…they’re all chocolate.”

Her first few weeks into the program…I would watch her watch the other girls getting ready for ballet class…in awe. Her face told me that this was something new and she was intrigued by it all. I’ll never forget her looking at the girls – all different shades of chocolate…in amazement. It was a pretty telling moment for me.  And I knew we had made the right move.

In her first few weeks in kindergarten – she came home with a school project where she had to write her bio…”About Me.” Her dad had been doing morning affirmations telling her to repeat…“I am smart…My skin is beautiful….I am Kind…I am Special.” So it was only right when she had to fill out “I am special because….” She wrote…

“My skin.”

When I read that…I was so happy…and then I cringed.

This “About Me” bio was going to be put up in the walls of the classroom in time for Back to School Night. What would the other parents think? If I read a white child’s bio that stated they were special because of their skin…I would feel a certain kind of way and that child AND parent would get the side eye from me.

I started to erase her answer that I helped her write…and then…I stopped myself.

I thought about all the times she came home wishing she was “vanilla.” Asking why her hair could not be long and straight like her friends. I thought of the times she called her black dolls dirty.

And I pushed her bio away…looked at her and said…”what do you mean you’re special because of your skin?”

“Because my skin is brown…and its beautiful.”

That was all I needed to hear.

All I could say was “I love that answer, Bobbi” and watched her color in that section of her box…brown.

Everything we said and did in the past year to help her embrace her skin color, her hair and who she was – had kicked in.  And I was not about to unravel that.  She had pride…She was confident.  And she had no shame owning it.  And so should I. We fought too hard and too long to be in 2019 fearful or worried about how others will view of us…for loving ourselves…and loving the skin we are in.  And if we’re honest – we’re still fighting.  But that’s another blog post for another day.

Bobbi Elle: Brown skin girl..Black Girl Magic..One Balanced Mama blog

Black Girl Magic Photo Shoot

When Bobbi turned 6….as its our tradion…it was time to do our annual birthday photo shoot. I wanted it to be something that celebrated her and who she was at that moment in time…Black Girl Magic….A Warrior Princess. The Bantu Knots was her idea. She went from wanting “vanilla” to all black everything! I called my friend and hairdresser, Jade Davis…and she went to work. Between Jade and Toni Lowe who styled her and Erica Melissa behind the lens…we captured who she is….BLACK GIRL MAGIC…

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6 Comments

  1. Naomi JEANTY-HIGGINS
    Oh my! She is growing so beautifully! What a gorgeous photo shoot! I'm already a fan of Bobbie as soon as she said doctor and scientist. 🤗🤗🤗😊😊😊
  2. Valerie
    Beautiful
  3. Carline Plaisume
    I just love everything I just read although I don’t have a daughter but my two black sons age 13 and 10 have ask when they were much smaller they wish they had a lighter skin. So thank you for writing this blog !

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