In the last couple of weeks I’ve been thinking about this subject a lot and wishing, as I do with most complicated things in life, that there was an instruction manual to help me figure things out. How do I reconcile my body, my journey to body positivity, and my blackness in a climate that is predominantly the antithesis of who I am? My body and my blackness cannot always be defined. They don’t always fit into the visuals we see for body positivity and they’re not always acceptable or easily understood. I know that I can easily make a list of body positive babes who are setting incredible examples of bopo glory, but it’s true that the list for bopo people of colour, especially here in the UK, is a lot smaller.
There are even less within my own industry which is still so trapped within a Caucasian, middle class, and petite business model for leads, love interests and everyday people. We’re in desperate need for the narratives being told to be diverse and representative of the world we live in so we can better understand each others struggles and spectrums. Every black girl has a seemingly individual journey when it comes to their bodies. Historically we are working with hundreds of years of oppression, discrimination and stereotype. The insecurities, fears and doubts that we are faced with aren’t just the things we develop in our own hearts and minds, or just societal pressures, but systematic and institutionalised racism.
There is a movement that has been picking up speed bit by painful bit, so that Black women across the world are on a journey not only to accept their bodies but to claim it back from everything and everyone else. We’re having vastly different experiences and have some vastly different perspectives. Our body positivity is wrapped so tightly in our blackness, our pasts and our ancestors. Understanding it for ourselves is a beast of its own let alone explaining it to others. Heritage, discolouration, accent, wigs and weaves, education, friends, love, sexuality, satin scarves, music, gender, pop culture, predictive text corrections, lotions, politics and the list goes on for things where our blackness and our bodies merge into one volcanic eruption.
So how do we have our voices be part of the movement and do our own healing? How do I find my way when I feel like I’m maybe working in the dark? Find a light of course.
Here are some lights.
Photographer and entrepreneurial goddess. In an industry that is predominantly white and male, Jade is taking strides to make her mark. I stumbled on her work on a couple of weeks ago and it’s bringing me nothing but hope, joy, and the fire to keep pushing and smash ceilings. The work she presents is heartfelt, diverse, and a celebration of our differences.
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Plus size style and lifestyle blogger, Stephanie, is honest, open, fierce, and fabulous. Unafraid to tackle some of the toughest and most personal issues, Stephanie’s lion heart for an unapologetic way of living is the kind of example we needed as little black girls.
Dennetta is a Curve model and fashion and lifestyle blogger. Her blog Livin’ Phat – Livin’ Large is one incredible slay, she represents everything important and special about needing diverse black bodies in the plus size community.
Writer, blogger, and all around vintage vixen. There is something so special about both her style and her work. If you told me she was the reincarnation of every MGM black Hollywood starlet I would scream yes! Isha is true to herself and her loves in every way, and an honest to goodness example that we are more than one thing. That our blackness and our experiences are varied and special.
Social media manager and lifestyle blogger. If you’re not obsessed with Chloe, you need to be. This nubian queen is everything fierce and fabulous, and I honestly can’t look at her posts without having a big old smile on my face. Her blog posts are bold, full of melanin, and adventure!