Project Chocolate | “Oh you're so pretty for a darkskin girl!”

PROJECT CHOCOLATE
Check out the Experiences of these Beautie Brownies , we hope that you will be inspired.
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What prompted you to create Project Chocolate?
What's interesting is that I grew up in Indiana, and for a majority of my life, in certain circles, I had heard various forms of "harmless" slander. "Oh you're so pretty for a darkskin girl" "Oh wow. Is that a wig? Your hair is so long for a dark-skinned girl" "Now I wouldn't normally date your complexion , but you're so beautiful" and these are micro aggressions. Things that are meant to be compliments, but left me feeling worse than before. Then I came to an HBCU and realized that it really DOESNT matter. Humans are humans. People are people. And black is black. And in that realization, it came to me that I had to uplift other girls and women who might not know that their beauty is just as magnificent as our lighter skinned counterparts. The process of self acceptance can be slow. I wanted to expedite that.  A photo-shoot with direction. A day of bonding an mentoring can do a lot for a freshman who didn't realize she was stunning. That's the idea behind projectchocolate. - Areisa Peters


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Have you or any of the other ladies in Project Chocolate experienced any difficulties being "Beautie Brownies"?
It is sad to say that racism and discrimination still exist in our world today,  the beauty of Project Chocolate is that all of us young African American Queens come from all over the nation and have found common ground at OU and with that are able to unity & testify based off of hardship and trials we have faced in the melanin of our skin.
When I was a little younger I have had friends that were fare skinned tell me, "I would NEVER want to be dark skinned", implying that it is negative or a flaw. I have been told by a guy if I were light skinned I would be pretty. - Dionne Monroe
I remember sitting in my predominantly white class in Southern California being 1 of 2 black students cringing anytime we would open up our history books hoping and praying we wouldn't be on the topic of civil rights or slavery.  I didn't feel like being stared at that day. But lucky me my pigment gave away my hiding place behind my book. It was inevitable,  I was indifferent from the rest.
It was never deemed as a compliment when the white girl or Mexican dude would say"  your pretty...for a black girl." Or "your pretty,  for a dark skinned girl"  .
I used to dream , literally go to sleep and play out my dreams in my head  of being lighter skinned, because  that's what the boys liked and when I was complimented I took it very seriously because nobody likes a dark skinned girl...I thought.
Being a Beautie Brownie is not about being superior to any other skin tone.  But being a Beautie Brownie means that I too can love myself for who I am . I thank God for the extra melanin in my skin.  It has taken me a while. 
But despite this new found discover I too can minister to others facing the same defeat.  I hope these pictures don't offend anyone,  that was never the intent... I was asked (thanks guuuurrrrl) & I joined because the motive behind the photos spoke to me. I hope these photos speak life into those struggling to see that  their is beauty within the skin their in. - Sarah Gikonyo
Difficulties include being considered "not dark enough" to be considered a representative of the beautiful darker women. Aside from the racist white men and women that are still out there- Jasmyne Martin
Out of my mother's 3 children, I am the only girl as well as the darkest skinned. I used to tell me friends, "hey look there's my brother" then they would proceed to tell me, "that’s not your brother. He’s too light to be your brother. You must be adopted." Those words hurt. I used to go home and stare in the mirror, wondering why God gave me such dark skin. I didn't fit in with my family. Why was I so different? My parents, seeing this would often explain to me that I was beautiful. God blessed me with a little more pigment and that’s quite alright...and for a while that worked. Then I reached high school, you would think by then, I would have been comfortable in my skin..and honestly so did I, but I wasn't. It often pained me to hear that dark skins aren’t as attractive as the "lighter skins". And at some point I believed. Although people would often compliment my complexion, I never believed them. There was no way I was deemed beautiful, after all, I was dark. The "compliment", "you're cute for a dark skinned girl" meant so much to me. I felt like, I’m one of the prettiest out of all the darkies. Hahaha. I’m not that ugly. As I look back to that, I feel so ashamed. I too was ignorant.
Yes, it's been a struggle growing up with darker skin especially being raised in s predominant Jewish neighborhood (queens,NY) I always felt obligated to be an over achiever just to be on the same level as everyone else. I've also suffered emotionally being that I was the darkest in my family. I was always asked if I was sure my parents and sister were really related to me and so I grew to hate who I was not how I looked. I've experienced racism in elementary school and the early years of junior high – Adrienne
It wasn't much of an issue with people bullying me in a sense, it's more so as what's portrayed as beautiful and trying to live up tot hat standard. The main verbal thing I experienced was the phrase, and I still do experience this actually, "Oh you're pretty for a dark skin girl." To me that sets off a flag. It puts an automatic lower standard of pretty because they've given me a sort of handicap or set back by saying "for a dark skin girl" - Minnie Tangasi
My junior year is when I decided that I wasn't going to take those side ways compliments anymore. As i studied for my bible bowl competition I kept re-reading the text that reads, "man was made in Gods image and God said it was good" (paraphrase). I realized God made me perfect just the way I am. Then I read about the story with Zipporah (Moses'Wife) & Miriam (Moses' Sister). I read how Miriam teased Zipporah for her skin complexion. Then I imagined she was this beautiful dark chocolate lady. God punished Miriam for making fun of his creation. I felt that I was the modern day Zipporah, fearfully and wonderfully made. Those that tease me, God will take care of, BUT I must learn and appreciate the skin I am in. Since then, junior year, I made up my mind that I was beautiful and dark. Dark chocolate is GREAT, Honey. I count it a BLESSING that God gave me an extra dose of melanin. –Dajah Swinton
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What advice would you and the other ladies of Project Chocolate give to other "Beautie Brownies"?
To the young ladies that struggle with loving their smooth, dark pigmented skin, KNOW that you are blessed. Smile, you are BEAUTIFUL inside and out. God made us ALL different; therefore creating a beautiful world. Stay true to who you are. If others tease you, do not stoop to their level, as "pretty is what pretty does". Being dark skin, doesn't make you any less than anyone else. It also doesn’t make you greater than anyone else. Keep God first, a smile on your face, and your head held high. & Never Ever forget that you are a gift from God, and a blessing to those around you. Love Always. - Dajah Swinton
To my Beautie Brownies, look at yourself in the mirror EVERY SINGLE DAY and say to yourself "I’m beautiful" even if you don't believe it.  Pray to God and thank him for the gift he has given you and the roots of your history. Being brown is not a flaw, it's a blessing, and when you continually feed yourself that positivity, you may believe it. - Dionne Monroe
The advice I would give to other Beautie Brownies is to claim your beauty. And realize that your beauty is NOT anyone else's beauty. Beauty is not comparable. You have to find all the qualities that make you amazing and tap into that. Take up a skill. Find an outlet to shine. It'll remind you of how awesome you are. Remember you are multifaceted. So you're not just sexy OR smart OR artsy. You can be all three. Or more. Just shine. - Areisa Peters
The best advice I have is to embrace whatever skin that wraps the gift of your body!! Too many black girls and women are ashamed of their hair/body/skin tone and it's been driven in us that it's not beautiful unless it's acknowledged by a blog or article. Being natural, black and beautiful is not just a trend hats going around, it's who WE are and ALWAYS will be so embrace it! Let them know we embody beautiful as well. - Jasmyne Martin
Advice.  Many can give it.  But that doesn't mean all will receive.   For those struggling know that you are alone.  Let this picture depict that.  No two of the girls photographed are from a state a like... meaning YOU are not alone.  Know that you must start by embracing the most minuscule thing you love about yourself and run with that, that is what worked for me. Maybe it's your bottaaay  or your eye shape. Find something you Love about yourself.
To deal with it. Honestly, you have to love yourself which can be hard . But ignore the standard or norm and be the exception - Minnie Tangasi
You are not defined by your skin complexion. The pigment of your skin doesn't automatically determine the type of woman you are and although it may become Detrimental to your success in certain societies you should never allow it to alter your goals and dreams. Embrace your color and the skin you're in. Cherish the sisterhood and practice self-love - Adrienne
Build your confidence knowing that you are fearfully and wonderfully made.  Know that there will be people you meet that don't like you for your skin color.    But that is life and to believe or wish you were something that you are NOT is a waste of time.  Don't waste time on what is not your reality. Trust me. Embrace the extra melanin it is beautiful. - Sarah Gikonyo
If someone is interested in being a part of Project Chocolate how can they contact you?  Do you have a blog?
For someone interested in being in Project Chocolate, they could contact me via email or use the hashtag #projectchocolate. It started off as a small movement at my HBCU and now it's expanding and a blog is in the works but until then, we will be collecting submissions to launch the site ! – Areisa Peters
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