Will You Be Celebrating National Pretty Brown Girl Day This Weekend?
Not another Hallmark Holiday, but something meaningful
Can instilling self-esteem be as simple as declaring a day to love yourselves? To Michigan couple Sheri and Corey Crawley, they certainly believe it's a start.
They declared Saturday, February 25, to be National Pretty Brown Girl Day in the hopes of getting more black girls to embrace themselves for who they are. The Crawleys are the creators of the organization, Pretty Brown Girl, whose mission is to encourage girls to celebrate the beautiful shades of Brown all over the world while inspiring positive self esteem and confidence.
We sat down with Sheri to see what her organization hopes to accomplish with National Pretty Brown Girl Day and beyond.
Loop21: What inspired you to create Pretty Brown Girl?
Corey Crawley: First, my daughter turned four and wanted to go to the American Girl store. We had brunch there and the girls got to pick their dolls off the wall, so they could eat with us. All of the girls chose white dolls. I'm standing there like, "What's wrong with the pretty brown dolls?" And it was surprising because they were surrounded by positive role models, they know their history. But when given a choice, they didn't pick the dolls that looked like them.
Then we moved to a suburb of Detroit and my daughter was the only African-American girl in her school. I could immediately tell her personality was changing. She felt alienated. Then the comments started. My daughter would ask, "Mommy, can you buy me that shampoo so my hair can look like hers [the white classmate]?"
It was so surprising because my husband always calls our children "pretty brown girls." They know they're loved just the way they are.
So it got me thinking. We've been running businesses for a while now and I began to ask God to give us a way to use our talents to inspire others. And one day it just popped up. I went online to see if the domain www.prettybrowngirl.com was available. And it was. I had to buy it. We're putting out a very deliberate message that brown is beautiful.
Loop21: What about when you were growing up? Did you struggle with self-esteem?
Crawley: I think we all do. I don't think you can go through this world as a person of color and not go through something. But I grew up knowing who I was. I went to a HBCU but in high school I knew I could handle myself. But as a kindergarten, kids can't really handle that. It's important that we have these discussions at an early age, when they're looking for love and validation about who they are. We're trying to make it easy, simplistic, fun. We want all races to acknowledge the pretty brown girl — those words being said together are powerful for everyone.
Loop21: What's the goal of Pretty Brown Girl Day?
Crawley: To be able to extend our own experience with others. "Pretty brown girl" is a part of my daughter's [ages 7 and 5] vocabulary. They don't separate those words and I think that's really cool to have them be proud of who they are.
Words have so much power. We're all about girls being leaders. We tell them they can impact their communities and all that has to start with a healthy foundation. We're just hoping to impact as many people as positively as possible.
[Also Read: In My Skin: I Love Being A Black Woman]
Loop21: Why is Pretty Brown Girl Day so crucial at this point in our society?
Crawley: It's a call to action. Sometimes we just need to be reminded. We may take for granted that our children know the things that are in our hearts. I recently had a workshop with sixth and seventh graders and we just talked. They loved it. Just having a conversation about the pressures of looking like a celebrity in seventh grade or what people are saying about you on Facebook — all these expectations are being put on our girls right now and they need to know we're listening. Having the day on the calendar will allow us to create these conversations that need to be taking place in our homes.
Loop21: Future plans for the organization?
Crawley: We are dreaming big. We see this as a global brand — Africa, India, etc. There's pretty brown girls everywhere!
To learn more about National Pretty Brown Girl Day, visit www.prettybrowngirl.com.