My Black Is Beautiful: The Women Behind the Movement
The women of My Black Is Beautiful share their personal stories and perspectives on racial bias and social injustice — and their inspiration and vision for brand-building.
Since 2006, My Black Is Beautiful has empowered, celebrated and ignited meaningful dialogue around the topics of racial bias, Black culture and Black beauty. But more conversation and action are needed to advance equality for all people — especially, right now, for Black Americans who face racism, bias and brutality.
To make a difference and create a better world for all, we need to listen and learn from Black voices. Read on to hear what the women behind My Black Is Beautiful have to say about their personal journeys and why it’s important to speak out against racial injustice now more than ever.
Why is it important for Black-founded brands to speak out against racial injustice right now?
Racial injustice is an issue that Black people face every day. Companies and brands have a social responsibility to promote equality in the world. As a Black woman working on the brand, it is impossible to separate my experiences outside of work from those of the community we serve. I bring those experiences to the brand work and use the collective power of the community and the company to push for progress. Lending a brand or corporate voice draws attention to racial injustice in ways that can achieve broad reach and help drive meaningful change.
How has being a Black woman affected and shaped your career? Have you experienced discrimination or overcome stereotypes? What challenges have you faced, and what experiences have made you stronger?
Stereotypes and discrimination related to race are often subtle and invisible. When I feel it happen, I struggle to attribute the feeling to race versus other identifiers — is it because I am a woman? Is it because of my age? Is it because I am a mom? Is it because I am overweight? Is it because of how I talk? I have encountered all of these forms of discrimination, and their intersection with race is often unextractable and exhausting to combat.
I tend to address issues directly and immediately, but when I am caught off guard by repeated patterns of discrimination, I look for allies to help address the toxic culture. I feel strongest when I am advocating on behalf of a group and driving broad systemic change.
How is My Black Is Beautiful responding to the recent racial injustice protests occurring across North America?
We’ve been really focused on driving solutions to effect change. In June, we launched our Two Evils campaign to stand with the Black community and advocate alongside partners serving on the front lines to join the fight against racism. We are leading the charge by facilitating candid conversations with organizations and industry leaders to create solutions for the disparities that affect the Black community, including police brutality. We are also supporting the community through direct funding, resource routing and driving awareness of the recommended actions to take.
In what ways do your personal experiences as a Black woman influence the work you do for MBIB?
It heightens my sense of responsibility and urgency, because not only am I driven by the professional responsibility, but also by the social and personal responsibility. The stakes are just higher for me, period.
What My Black Is Beautiful campaigns or initiatives make you the proudest?
The Talk. It started a national conversation and raised awareness of a significant issue in the Black community. We used the conversations it started to drive awareness, empathy and change. It paved the way for similar P&G campaigns that came after. But unfortunately, it is still relevant today.
Also, the partnership we have with Healthy Roots dolls. We partnered with the founder, Yelitsa, to bring her dolls to more little girls, complete with a My Black Is Beautiful T-shirt for the girl and her doll. The testimonials from the little girls who received dolls have been absolutely amazing and make me very proud to be associated with My Black Is Beautiful, knowing that I am using my position and influence as a Force for Good.
Where would you like to see My Black Is Beautiful in the next five years?
As a thriving platform that continues to be a trailblazer in celebrating all that is great about Black culture and beauty. We are empowering and uplifting a new generation of young people. Hopefully, we won’t have as many areas of bias to spotlight as we’ve had in the past. Here’s to hoping the current environment drives sustained change.
How can My Black Is Beautiful continue to shape people’s perception of Black people and Black beauty?
My Black Is Beautiful can redefine what it means to be beautiful. Too many girls grow up seeing the definition of beauty as ivory skin, and it’s reinforced throughout their childhood with media, education and social media. As a girl grows up, just the simple act of saying, ‘My Black is Beautiful’ every day can have a huge impact on her self-perception and confidence.
What role does a brand like My Black Is Beautiful play in helping non-Black people better understand the struggles and injustices Black people are still experiencing?
My Black Is Beautiful was created to celebrate and uplift Black culture, but also to challenge the biases associated with Black culture. Our role is to provide a platform to have these conversations unapologetically. My Black Is Beautiful’s purpose is to continue to educate by exposing the injustices and biases Black people face, and also to provide a safe space to discuss solutions and drive change.
What advice can you share for young Black women just starting their careers?
Be yourself! You have a unique perspective that your other co-workers don’t have. Don’t shy away from that. Historically, as African Americans we sometimes have been encouraged to not appear too outspoken or combative, and to blend into the majority corporate culture. But company diversity isn’t just about hiring Black faces to assimilate; it’s about tapping into different ideas, cultures and perspectives to make our work stronger. Use your voice and don’t be afraid to ask questions and diplomatically challenge ideas that don’t feel right. Your experiences are what make you unique and valuable to a company.
What My Black Is Beautiful campaigns or initiatives make you the proudest?
I am most proud of our most recent campaign, “How We Win, Fight, Cope and Survive.” Our community is in a state of emergency right now. COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting us, and we’re also experiencing the resurgence of racial tension and the deaths of Black people at the hands of those meant to protect and serve. We have to act swiftly to protect our loved ones and ourselves. Campaigns like “How We Win, Fight, Cope and Survive” do more than just bring attention to these issues; they equip our community members with tools and information to fight back. Through this series, we armed ourselves with information and resources we can implement to get involved in local elections and improve our mental and physical health through self-care techniques. We can then share out this information with our family members and friends to strengthen our village.
In what ways do your personal experiences as a Black woman influence the work you do for My Black Is Beautiful?
We work hard on this team, and even when I am exhausted, working on a team created to serve and uplift Black women gives me the extra burst of energy to keep on going. I have a strong vested personal interest in my community, and I get to show up each day and work toward that purpose, and that reinvigorates and energizes me.
Take on Race: Advancing Racial Equity Together
Racial inequality is an inescapable reality. It didn’t begin with us, but it can end with us — if we choose to act. Learn more about how P&G and our brands are stepping up our ongoing efforts to advance equality for all people. Visit Take on Race.