Former Destiny’s Child member, Kelly Rowland, recently revealed her past issues with her skin color during the 2013 Essence Black Women In Hollywood luncheon. She reportedly hadn’t embraced her “chocolatiness” until a heart to heart with Beyonce’s mother and her own. One Detroit mom witnessed her own daughter’s suffering with issues surrounding their own self-image and decided to make a change through what is now known as the Pretty Brown Girl Movement.
After Sheri and Corey Crowley moved to a predominately white neighborhood outside of Detroit with their five and six-year-old daughters, Aliya and Laila, they noticed a difference in Laila’s self-esteem, as she was the only African-American student in her class. After she expressed her issues with her mom asking her to buy her certain hair products hoping it would make her hair more like her white classmates’, the concerned parents decided to create a doll; they called it “Pretty Brown Girl Doll” based on a nickname Corey had given the girls when they were born.
While the dolls were being made, the Crowleys created a t-shirt line bearing the slogan, “Pretty Brown Girl Movement” followed by an event involving over 500 girls to discuss self-love. Its success brought on a movement supported by 60-percent of women, many of whom wished they would have had something like this when they were growing up.
Sheri Crowley noted, “That’s when we could see the need… there really is no formal platform that exists that addresses skin tone and self-esteem, particularly to girls.”
Today, the Pretty Brown Girl Foundation uses their dolls, t-shirts, and programs to create a place where girls can discuss living as brown girls and women in America. The first ever “International Pretty Brown Girl Day,” sponsored by General Motors, took place this past February 23.
“For girls everywhere to know that they were created perfectly in the image of God. And for them to celebrate and love the skin they’re in. To really understand that she is special and that she doesn’t need to look like anyone but herself. When you’re comfortable in the skin you’re in and you can go throughout your day and feel that power,” is what Crowley hopes young girls will learn from the movement.
BMWK — How did having or not having dolls that looked like you when you were younger impact your self-image of yourself? What will your daughter’s first doll be?