BLACK VOICES
12/09/2014 09:55 am ET Updated Dec 10, 2014

This 'Beyond Classically Beautiful' Photo Project Celebrates Black Women Of All Shades

I don't think any of us can forget when a New York Times writer referred to actress Viola Davis as "darker-skinned and less classically beautiful than" other black women in Hollywood like Kerry Washington and Halle Berry.

Those words definitely hit a nerve amongst black women -- and rightfully so. The not-so-subtle insult prompted both outrage and the hashtag #LessClassicallyBeautiful, which encouraged black women to display their unique and diverse beauty across social media. Abi Ishola, a New York City based multi-media journalist, was one of those women.

Ishola is taking that exercise in self acceptance a step further by launching the photo project "Beyond Classically Beautiful" on her style blog Scripts & Sightings. She has gathered a group of beautiful brown women -- including our very own Dana Oliver, Executive Fashion & Beauty Editor at HuffPost Style -- to be photographed by her husband Kunle Ayodeji.

The women represent a spectrum of skin colors and personal style as they don a t-shirt designed by Ishola that aptly reads "Beyond Classically Beautiful." The shirts are also available for purchase for those wishing to make their own statement.

In the short video that's also included in the project (see above), Ishola explains that there is a hidden message within the project, which is simply to be classic.

"When you consider the definition of classic, which means 'of the highest standard' -- how can we say we are not that? Be that if that's what you feel in your spirit. Be beyond classically beautiful."

Here's a look at a few of the stunning photographs from the project and make sure to click here to see more.

PHOTO GALLERY
Beyond Classically Beautiful: A Photo Story
HuffPost

BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
A Few Beautiful Black Women Of Hollywood
CONVERSATIONS