Black is beautiful. That statement sounds a bit antiquated all these decades after the “black is beautiful” movement of the 60s, but it is one of those things that seems to have never really sunk in. Let me tell you why I say that…

Several months ago I found myself kind of pissed of at the radio. A popular on air radio personality from a morning show originating in the New York City area said to the hundreds of thousands of teenage listeners the show boasts that he thinks that Alek Wek and Naomi Campbell are ugly. He himself is a black father with a young daughter, so I was shocked that with such seriousness he told his impressionable listeners that those beautiful black women were ugly. Even if that is his opinion at what point do you hold off for the sake of the emotional well-being of our children? What was the 15 year old dark skinned black girl that already questions her own beauty and self-worth thinking at that moment? She has very little representation on television and in magazines as it is and probably wonders why. Rappers and R&B singers seem to hold casting calls for beautiful women of all races except black, and here he was telling the male and female youth of the city those two supermodels are ugly. I think that kind of self-hate is sad and should be addressed at a young age. Us black people possess many different shades, facial features, and hair types, and all these things together should be embraced and cherished.

If you are the father of a young girl tell her that she is beautiful. Remind her that what makes her beautiful is her smile, the special shape of her nose, the positive way she looks at life, how much she loves her friends and family, the shade of brown skin that she was blessed with. Basically any and all the things that you can think of that a dad should notice. Odds are sooner or later she’ll have some pubescent boy telling her many superficial things about her beauty, which is an entirely different topic, but for now daddy’s little girl is beautiful simply because she is.

That brings me to boys. We must teach our little guys to respect and honor their black women. I remember a comedian, I think it was Mike Epps, that said it best “It’s not your booty, it’s your beauty.” (Or was it vice versa?) A bit crass I know, but it sums it up. Physical attributes are secondary to all the others. We must teach our sons that a woman’s beauty comes from her humor, her joy, her strength, her kind heart, her brilliance. The shade of her skin or texture of her hair should never be what a young man uses to decide whether or not someone is beautiful. And, by the way, you have my support in grounding your son’s for life if they use the B-word in reference to any woman, ever. Start from young.