Note: My intention isn’t to degrade or belittle Black beauty bloggers. I respect their beauty, hustle, grace, and craft tremendously. I just realized I have a different vision—and it isn’t all about tutorials.
Who am I? What do I want to bring to the table? I thought I could answer this in a minute. Nah, I had to take a two month hiatus from my blog to figure that out.
Like any twenty-year old blogger starting out, I wanted to fit in and do what was popular. I went from never wearing makeup (not to mention I grew up in a no-makeup household) to attending YouTube University to learn how to apply makeup. My makeup game went up and I was hype! But after bingeing myself of countless videos of my peers, I became nauseous. Putting foundation on isn’t rocket science, yet I see every blogger go through their foundation routine for every video. The repetition became mundane. I started gagging because I started wishing to be like another woman—I wanted someone’s hair, someone’s facial attributes, or someone’s perfect skin (and I love myself so this was problematic). Worst of all, I could never find it in myself to put out a video because I felt like I was losing my authenticity and my unapologetic voice. That’s when I drew the line.
Black girls deserve more than tutorials. I love watching my makeup videos, but how am I becoming a better woman? How would I be challenging the misconceptions the world has of Black women? How would I share my experiences in a way that could inspire others or make them think? How would I help other Black women to feel more accepted in the world? Sadly, I couldn’t see how I could tackle any of those larger and broader issues that I hold to my heart.
So if I’m not chasing after the popular option of becoming a beauty or hair blogger, then who am I in this space? I’m a Black girl who shaved my head completely at 15 so I could find love within myself. I’m a Black girl who has had up-to-midnight conversations in dormitories with my Black girlfriends about our worth. I’m a Black girl who has seen other Black girls not only struggle with their confidence but also feel unaccepted by society—and even the Black community. I’m a Black girl who aspires to be an entrepreneur one day. I’m a Black girl who will become a Black woman, and it wouldn’t make sense for me if I flattened and discarded all of these pieces of myself. Why not make the path towards womanhood happier and enlightening.
I had to think–what can I bring to the table that allows me to stay true to my virtues? It took a lot of thinking and re-thinking. Nonetheless I decided I want to start a series in my blog called Dear Black Girl. The purpose of the series is to put out uplifting notes and perhaps videos that will remind Black girls of the power they possess. But, this isn’t about telling the world about Dear Black Girl—this is about sharing my experience about finding my voice amid the whirlwind of noise and popularity contests. This is about choosing myself and my vision in a space where many people aspires to be like someone else.
To every blogger and non-blogger, sometimes the best thing to do in life is stop. You have to stop what you are doing so you can re-map your life and put it into context. Time goes by but your purpose will wait for you as you reflect and figure things out. After that you can create the beautiful things that only you are supposed to make.
Michelene is a 20-year-old blogger and college student that is determined to present more positive images of black women in the media. Straddling between Boston and San Francisco, Michelene shares her journey over on her blog. Show her some love by following her on Facebook or YouTube.