When I come across young black girls, especially ones under the age of about 10, I make it a point to address her as a "pretty girl" no matter her appearance. I don't know the effect that this simple statement will have on these girls long term, but I truly hope its a lasting one. Whether her hair is neatly coiffed or as shabby as Meek's mugshot she is a future Queen. I want to prepare her for her impending crown.
My mom passed away when I was 3 so I by default became a daddy's girl. I remember being teased early on for being super dark skinned. This continued into junior high school. I vividly remember it always being older men who would appreciate my "beauty" all while kids my age were downright cruel. I remember going to my dad one day, under our jojo tree and saying to him "Why couldn't you pick a Puerto Rican or Santo Domingan to be my mom? Why did I have to be so black?" to which he replied,
"I love black women. And I've always wanted a black daughter, so I had you..."
"...I should take you to Kingshill (the cemetery where my mom is buried) so YOU can tell Jennifer she wasn't good enough! " I'll never forget that talk for as long as I live. Little black girls need that kind of reassurance from all the people around them because this world can be so unforgiving. In this age of likes and retweets it's so hard to love yourself the way you were created, but it's our job to do just that.
Be the light you want to see in the world.