Beautiful Flowers

by — Dec 5, 2008

I can’t get out of my mind a post written earlier this week by my new friend over at A Thorn Among Roses. She and her husband are the proud parents of four beautiful girls, including two they adopted–an adorable little chocolate girlpie named Jada, and a vanilla sugar cookie named Brooke. In her post, Sadness, ATAR recounts how Jada told her the other day that she doesn’t like her brown skin and she wants “peach skin like Brookie.” Of course, this totally freaked ATAR out because the last thing she wants is for her African American daughter to hate the skin she’s in. This, indeed, is a common struggle for all of us moms charged with ushering chocolate girlpies into adulthood with their self-esteem intact–particularly in a society that puts such incredible stock in perpetuating unrealistic beauty standards that never, ever seem to embrace the wonders of brown girls. We’ve got our work cut out for us, that’s for sure.

I’m so happy that ATAR instinctively understood how important it is to make sure that Jada appreciates her beautiful chocolate self (and equally impressed that Brooke insisted that God got Jada’s coloring right the first time!). The video I’ve posted here, of India Arie singing an acoustic version of her song “Beautiful Flower,” is dedicated to little Jada and all the little chocolate girlpies who should know what I make a point of telling my daughters every single day:

You are beautiful like a flower
More valuable than a diamond
You are powerful like a fire
You can heal the world with your mind
There is nothing in the world that you can not do
When you believe in you.

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  1. Beautyful! And on the continent of Africa, there are still those brilliantly mahogany women who waste money on Ambi and such products, as a response to the same perpetuation of unrealistic beauty standards.

    Love the song, thanks for starting my Saturday eve so beautifully.

  2. I visited “A Thorn Among Roses” The post brought tears to my eyes. Such powerful words used by a child.

  3. Thanks, Denene. This was a perfect gift to me, too. Needed to hear this for some bouying.

  4. u r sooo sweet! thanks for posting this. i love this song and how powerful it is! ur support and kind words this week, well, it was such a blessing! having 4 girls in a world that makes each of them feel underrated and not pretty is hard…but having others around supporting my fam, well, that’s priceless!

  5. MBB Founder and Editor Denene Millner

    Aw, I’m glad you like it! I should note that the actual song was written by India Aire for the students of Oprah’s all-girls school in South Africa. I bought it off iTunes a year or so ago; the proceeds at the time were going toward the care of the students. In this video, India changes the words a bit so that they apply to grown women, but the iTunes version is written specifically for little girls, with a second verse that talks about beauty and the struggle black girls have with balancing beauty and intelligence. I encourage each of you to check it out… I croak, er, sing this song to my girls often, and play it most days when we’re down in the kitchen cooking together or just hanging out. They know the words now, and I only pray that they take them to heart when they start grappling with the black girl beauty mess.

  6. The Arthur Clan

    Out of the mouths of babes…”Jada, God made you and He loves you. He does it all right the very first time.”

    I’m with LaTonya on this one…definitely have tears in my eyes.

    Isn’t it amazing all the beautiful people you can meet through blogging?

  7. Thank you so much for this post. I visited ATAR too. Very moving post. I’ve forwarded both to my girlfriend who has a seven month old.

  8. Jennae @ Green Your Decor

    That is a beautiful message — but India.Arie is good for that. Another empowering song from India is “Brown Skin.” Technically she’s singing to her man, but the words can apply to anyone you love. I sing it to my daughter all the time 🙂

    Brown skin, You know I love your brown skin
    I can’t tell where yours begins
    I can’t tell where mine ends
    Brown skin, Up against my brown skin
    Need some every now and then


  9. ChocolateOrchid

    Thanks for posting this and providing the link. It brought back memories (& tears) of struggling to get my daughter to love her dark chocolate skin. It took some time w/alot of references to beautiful dark skin women but she finally got it. Now she's a little diva.

    Thanks for sharing!

  10. Hello, I'm visiting from ATAR and so glad I did. This is a beautiful song, I love India Arie. I'm going to download it for my little dumplin. ATAR is such a wonderful Mom and an inspiration to me. I have an {almost} 3 year old son, and one year old twins – a son & a daughter. I have a different sense of responsibilty towards my daughter than I do my sons. I want her to love herself, be strong, and accepting. I know she is only one, but its never too early for all of that right?

    So glad I visited your lovely blog. Have a great weekend!

  11. What a beautiful song. I think most girls…heck women too…doubt their beauty…or hold themselves up to ridiculous examples of what beauty is. I hope that my daughters will always concentrate on the beauty within. I wish that for women everywhere!

  12. Christie-A Work In Progress

    Absolutely beautiful! Your blog never ceases to amaze me!

  13. “Jada, God made you and He loves you. He does it all right the very first time.”
    Perfect response to such a tough topic. This is exactly why I love this blog. We are really more the same than we are different!

  14. This was one of my biggest worries. Having a beautiful brown baby, who is growing up in a neighborhood, while diverse, still lacks an abundance of others who look like her. To my surprise and relief, she truly does love everything about herself. She knows how to admire the beauty of others while loving “the skin she’s in”.

    She doesn’t really recognize different shades of “brown” yet, so when I once told her that she was light brown and that I am dark brown, she told me that she wishes that she was dark brown like me. That always makes me smile.

  15. Ok, I love this song. I’ve never heard it before. So many of India Arie’s songs bring me to tears. I have four kids, 3 girls and a boy. Autumn (her nickname happens to be Arie), Jalen, Nia-Skye and Aryn 3 have really light skin. But my second daughter, Nia Skye came out a beautiful warm cocoa brown just like me. 🙂 This may sound negative but I cannot help wondering if she will experience some problems being my only brown child. So many of my friends had this problem growing up. I don’t think she will because at almost two, she acts like she knows she is beautiful. But just in case, I will be armed with what to do and say.

  16. I just love flowers… Those are really beautiful!!

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