by Sylvia Ford-George
African Americans have known it all along, Black Is Beautiful. And finally the rest of the world is catching on. People Magazine’s recent naming of Lupita Nyong’o as the “Most Beautiful Woman of 2014” has us chocolate girls smiling. People placed the same honor on Halle Berry in 2003 and Beyonce in 2012. However this recent naming goes a long way towards showcasing our spectacular range of hues and natural beauty. It’s not as if no ones ever noticed. It’s just that the statement has been made.
I remember talking to my mom many, many years ago about my dream of becoming the first black Miss America, and her telling me how impossible it was. Yes, Black girls were on the covers of Ebony and Jet and that was something to be proud of, but “America” just wasn’t ready to fully accept us. I’ll never forget her words during the conversation. She was careful and cautious, while wanting to be hopeful, protective and realistic to the times we were living in. She said, “There will never be a Black Miss America”. Inside of me I didn’t want to accept the word “never”. Fast forward a decade later and Vanessa Williams walks away with the crown, leaving me and a lot of other chocolate girls smiling.
Truth be told, little girls just need to know that their life is full of potential and opportunity—no matter what their color. They need to know that anything is possible. That the dreams we dream are necessary, doable and real. That we should never give up hope. Little girls should cheer each other on and help one another along, knowing that one girl’s victory opens the door for another. We don’t need anybody to sell us on our own beauty, or to give us value and worth. We just need to believe what’s inside of us and smile.