Available at keshajo.bigcartel.com
Color Me Natural was created to influence the way our young girls see beauty, from the hair’s natural curl pattern to the various shades of brown skin tones. Overall, promoting a higher esteem that gives them the confidence to achieve and further explore their passions.
CMN is one of my passion projects that was started out of a need. As an African American woman, a mother of a teenage daughter, and a former educator of thirteen years I have experienced and observed the lack of pride in one’s natural hair and the poor narrative in the entertainment sector that exemplifies black beauty, as it is.
Starting with our young girls, our standard of what is beautiful, is established and solidified at a very young age. Every image that we set before our children shapes their beliefs and attitudes about themselves. They should look at a doll and see a reflection of themselves, not feel oddly different, intimidated, or under-represented in mainstream beauty. Unfortunately, they are. There’s a rarity of beautiful shades of brown and natural curl patterns that range from extremely coily to wavy directly targeting our adolescent age group in the form of entertainment.
As a woman, I’m very much aware of how our hair can shape our attitude and influence the way we feel about and how we treat ourselves. Although the natural hair movement in our community has gained some momentum and more social acceptance within the past few years, we need to compliment it with influential mainstays to ensure that it is a long-standing norm in our culture and not another trend we hashtag. We need to replace the relaxer rite of passage that myself, along with many other African American women went through as young girls, with a more profound experience that celebrates us as we are, rather than what we wish to be at the cost of our health.
I created eight characters. Each one is different, but together possess a mutual fondness for being natural. The main character, Marley, tells the story (briefly) of how she became natural and then introduces her “curl friends”. They have a sisterhood, that bonds them sans the competitive nature we sometimes find overly-hyped and sensationalized on television. Each character has a unique gift or interest that makes them likable and relative to the plethora of experiences many young girls have as adolescents. Typically, as we get older, we abandon this passion for what we love, to adapt to the socially-charged expectation of finding a job versus living in one’s purpose. I plan to present the possibility of a different expectation with the Color Me Natural brand. Encouraging young girls to focus on their passions while learning, rather than treat them as a hobby with an adult expiration date.
With this brand, I also intend to magnify the esteem of young girls who have yet to discover their relevance on the shelves of toy stores, on bookshelves, and on their television screen. Our world is changing, and we need to promote this newfound courage to be ourselves. Lets play a role in shifting the paradigm that keeps us bound to a negative narrative of who we truly are and empower the messaging that celebrates us, just as we naturally are.
BUY COLOR ME NATURAL for any young girl that you think could benefit from getting to know other young girls who are different in a real way. *A free sticker is included in the first 100 issues as a thank you for your support*