The Spectrum

” You can love what you see in the mirror, but you can’t self esteem your way out of the way the world sees you.”

-Gabrielle Union

“Ugh, I bet she thinks she’s all that!” “Oh she’s pretty for a dark skin girl!” From slavery, to Jim Crow, to the Civil rights movement, to present day these familiar phrases have violently been woven into a common language amongst communities of color, specifically black women. Admiration, wrapped in sarcasm and self loathing. Acceptance bundled with self hatred.

While African American history is rich in themes that collectively allow us to vibrate on higher levels together (shared experiences, spirituality, culture), there are some undeniable factors that contribute to our demise and failure to move forward as a unit such as colorism. Colorism is defined as prejudice or discrimination of individuals of darker complexion, usually amongst people of the same ethnicity. Far too often comparison of our physical attributes keeps us on the proverbial hamster wheel.

Women of lighter complexions represent a group of women that are highly misunderstood. Frequently judged by their outward appearance, and very seldom given the opportunity to change the narrative of their personal experience. Their westernized Eurocentric features derived from the diabolical behavior of our slave masters. From the brown paper bag test to the doll study, systems have been established to create a gap in our spectrum so that we cant see our sisters for who they really are.

Hard, angry, aggressive, brash are terms repeatedly used to describe the disposition of the dark skinned black woman. History tells a story of a women that is mocked, brow beaten, pushed beyond natural limits of pain. Used a science experiments to test theories that we don’t experience pain like out fair skinned counter parts. Dark skin women are femine yet strong, delicated but unyielding, assertive yet forgiving.

The x-factor for being a person of color is that our depths can simply not be weighed by skin color alone. Yes, the spectrum of our beauty is vast but our commonalties are greater than the natural eye can see. My goal with this project is that we allow ourselves to reconnect. Reconnect to the idea of sisterhood, self loving, and uplifting each other. No matter our journeys we are all beautiful #worksofkolor

Models: Ta”Neile Simmons
Creative Director: Megan Buchanan
MUA: Megan Buchanan
Photographer: Miguel Hampton/ @photosbymiguel
Model: Kenyatta Willis
Creative Director: Megan Buchanan/ Works Of Kolor
Assistant MUA: Alicia Williams @Palished Beauty
Models: Ta’Neile Simmons; Kenyatta Willis
@tanielefaye/ @knottybynature
Creative Director: Megan Buchanan
Assistant MUA: Alicia Williams @palishedbeauty
Photographer: Miguel Hampton
@photosbymiguel @intheinkspot

The Spectrum: History of Colorism
Kenyatta Willis
Ta’Neile Simmons

Ayana Croff