Massachusetts teacher and singer Lovely Hoffman heard some of the female students at her predominantly black middle school bemoan their appearance. Aware of the damaging impact of constantly trying to measure up to European beauty standards, Hoffman created a music video titled “My Black Is Beautiful.”
Hoffman made the song as a testament to the beauty of young girls of color, who are sometimes insecure about their hair, weight and skin tone.
The video, which includes Hoffman and her actual students from Helen Y. Davis Leadership Academy in Dorchester, follows a young girl who doubts her beauty as Hoffman sings words of affirmation:
Who are you to say that I’m not beautiful
It’s your own insecurity
Because I know and believe
My black is beautiful
In one of the video’s most poignant scenes, the young girl is seen looking at an OK! Magazine cover with mostly white celebrities. But a thoughtful peer hands her an issue of Essence magazine featuring Viola Davis on the cover.
By the end of the video, all of the young ladies are evidently more self-confident and are shown embracing one another.
In a press release for the music video, which came out this January but has only recently been making headlines, Hoffman said a student’s self-esteem can impact their academic performance.
“There is a strong correlation between self-esteem and student achievement,” Hoffman said. “As an educator, I believe it is my duty to not only ensure students are reaching their potential academically, but that they are also comfortable and confident in their own skin. It’s about educating the whole child.”