I have grown to love my features, not because the whims of fleeting trends tell me that I am allowed to, but because wishing to be anything different is an affront to who I am. Because there is something beautiful in the curves and hues that contribute to the woman I see in the mirror.
As more white women turn to bronzers, lip injections, butt implants and the like, black women are still forced to maintain more conservative images in public to counteract stereotypes based on these features.
At women's professional groups, I am frustrated by the lack of women of color represented and the sea of sameness among their ranks. I am tired of Vogue magazine and now the New York Times insisting that only a European woman's shape is beautiful.
I applaud the publication on its endeavor to begin the conversation on natural beauty. "Pretty" goes beyond European style features and Brazilian imported tresses; it starts with a Black woman's kinks sprouting from her roots and raw individuality.
For many black women, their preference for straight hair is driven by bad childhood memories of being teased and tormented at school about their natural hair, or being made to feel insecure by parents who insisted on the hot comb or hair relaxer.
As I drove past the cemetery that Saturday morning, where Michael Jackson now rests, I thought about the lyrics to his song, I'll Be There "I'll be there to protect you, with an unselfish love I respect you, Just call my name and I"ll be there."