When I was an editor at Parenting magazine, I spent an inordinate amount of time over in the art department, begging and pleading the staff designers and photo editors to include pics of brown babies in the pages. Not the brown kids typically chosen for the cover and feature stories, mind you—the ones with ambiguous skin, physical characteristics and hair that made them morph into “other.” I was talking about the kids who look like my girlpies—the black Black babies with kinky hair and pig tails and cornrows with beads that click-clack in the wind, and ebony eyes and chocolate skin that’s much darker than a paper bag, even in the winter when the sun is at a reserve.
It’s not that the powers-that-be at Parenting didn’t think Black children are beautiful; they just didn’t think about it at all until I started in with the hard sell for more chocolate in the pages. But even when they were paying attention, finding dark-skinned kid models was, they told me, akin to searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack: no one, it seemed, thought the chocolate babies were beautiful enough to grace magazine pages, billboards, commercials and the like in mainstream mediums.
Of course, I found this to be utter foolishness. One needed only, I explained, to look in the choir pews of a Black church, or at the swings in an urban playground, or in a kindergarten class, like, anywhere to find good looking Black kids. And that was 10 years ago, before Instagram, Facebook and Twitter; now, it’s easier than ever to find beautiful brown babies.
Still, like I pointed out in yesterday’s post about the Giuliana Rancic smack down over comments the Fashion Police host made about Zendaya’s hair, true representation of Black people in general and Black children in particular in mainstream media is practically non-existent, and it’s up to us to support those who celebrate our beauty and culture—us—authentically and without apology.
Of course, this is something to which I’ve dedicated the MyBrownBaby space. For more than six years, MyBrownBaby has used smart, confident, fresh discourse to lift the voices of Black parents looking for the 411/advice/a high-five on everything from pregnancy, childrearing and motherhood to sex, relationships and pop culture—all filtered through a colorful lens. We know that Black thought matters. But so, too, do our images.
To that end, I’ve launched MyBrownBaby_Fresh, my new Instagram page that will, through its posts, celebrate beautiful Black children and the things they love. Look for pics of the juiciest babies, kids and families of color, plus our pics of the best books, toys, clothes and products that honor our culture and that we just plain like.
I invite you to follow MyBrownBaby_Fresh to see beautiful pics of brown babies—photos that’ll make you squeal and giggle and want to pinch your computer/phone screen. What’s more, if you tag your beautiful pics with #MBBFresh, you’ll have a chance to have your sweetie pie featured on MyBrownBaby_Fresh. How dope is that?
Let’s celebrate beautiful Black children and families together on MyBrownBaby_Fresh!
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.