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Bold Black Beauties – “What does Black Beauty Mean to you?”

After our recent collaboration with  Ulta beauty, the MUSE 100, the campaign initiative to highlight Black voices who have made Black beauty in the world possible, I wanted to highlight a special program on our SUNY Oswego campus that is dedicated to uplifting and motivating Black voices. Meet the Bold Black Beauties! An organization here on campus that is devoted to creating a space for Black women and non-men to celebrate themselves everyday. 

Earlier this week, I’ve gotten the opportunity to learn more about these women and their personal takes on what they believe Black beauty means to them. As Black women who navigate today’s society, it is indeed different for us. Here’s more about what some of the beauties have shared.

Cyniah Wynn, Treasurer, Bold Black Beauties

Q: What does Black beauty mean to you? 

“Black beauty is a means of expressing yourself and feeling comfortable within your Blackness. Personally, I love being Black. I would not want to be any other race. I can express myself with my hair, the way I dress, and overall my aura.”

Q: How do you embrace your Black beauty?

“I express myself with my hair. I used to do a lot of styles but right now, I am currently locking my hair. So that in itself is the ultimate expression of Black hair and how our hair can get how it curls up, there’s many different looks to locs and I think that’s beautiful in itself. My clothing choices? The bamboo hoops — you know there are so many things that we do that show that we are the blueprint and we have really solidified our place in fashion.” 

It was the last quote for me. I had to chime in and say “Always and Forever.” Black women are indeed the blueprint, trendsetters,  and just all around —  amazing!

Q: How does BBB use their platform to discuss beauty, trends, and other important topics about Black women?

“We use our platform to have discussions with fellow Black women and our men on campus.”

Because YES, this organization embraces Black men as well!

“We provide a place for our group of people to feel comfortable. With talking about tough subjects sometimes we get into trauma specifically– Black trauma, and things we go through. Even though it may be heavy, sometimes it’s important to have those conversations with each other so that we can learn to get through these situations. We uplift each other, post each other, we always have fun in meetings. I love the vibe overall at every meeting because I can meet more people and know that we make each other feel more comfortable in our space.”

Monet Jackson and Alexa Cox, Directors of Programming, Bold Black Beauties

Q: How do you embrace your Black Beauty?

(Alexa) “I embrace my Black beauty by being unapologetically myself. I know as Black women we are constantly stereotyped or labeled as sassy or aggressive and all of these other labels. So I’m like at this point if people are going to label me anyway, I’m not going to give two whatevers and I’m just going to be me!”

(Monet) “Helping other Black beauties embrace their own beauties. Joining together in a community is more beautiful than anything”. 

Q: How does BBB discuss beauty standards, trends, for Black women within the community? 

(Alexa) “As DOPS, we have to keep our eye out on the current trends. Through listening to our peers, hearing what they are talking about, and also what we see on social media. We also discuss a lot of current events in programs and we keep up with beauty trends by making sure to listen to our peers and creating programs that relate to what they want to talk about here.”

(Monet) “We help showcase it through the programs and communicating with not just the Black women, but Black men as well.”

Q: What does Black beauty mean to you? 

(Monet) “Black beauty, to me, means, being able to want to learn about yourself, learning about your community… and you know.. just staying true to yourself and staying true to the people around you.”

Jaylin Sutherland, President, Bold Black Beauties 

Q: As the president, how do you enforce and discuss Black beauty?

“A lot of the time, we try to uplift all of our members. We don’t allow self-deprecation, we uplift. If you feel that you look bad, I reassure them and let them know,“Trust me, you do not.”We never let you feel that you don’t look good. Because as a Black woman, you always look good. Making sure that we are all doing well mentally, because I don’t want any Black woman around  me to feel exhausted or that they cannot take a break… because we can. I encourage it. I even take my own breaks. Lastly, putting ourselves out there as an organization so that other Black women and men on this campus know that they have a space that they can come to, where they will be uplifted and empowered.”

Q: What does Black Beauty mean to you?

Embracing your Blackness, uplifting other Black women, and realizing there’s beauty in all Blackness.” 

Q: How do you embrace your Black beauty?

“I embrace my Black beauty by doing things that highlight my Blackness. Having our melanin popping, period! Edges? It is a thin line for me, because we should be able to appreciate when they are not done because our hair is beautiful. My hair is locked, but even with the wigs I wear, it’s still natural hair. Just embracing those factors of ourselves.” 

Q: What is your favorite feature?

“For Black women in general, it’s definitely our skin. The skin in the sun? Especially when the lighting from the sun is reflecting?! Oou! Such a nice sight.”

Yes! I can relate! I second that!

“For myself…probably my face! My whole face. I enjoy it. I enjoy my nose, my lips, cheekbones, eyes, all of it! I have two nose piercings so that embraces this beautiful Black nose of mine.”

All in all, these beauties have shown the pride and embracement of being a Black woman. They represent the true foundation of a sisterhood, togetherness, and looking out for one another. As a Black woman myself, I couldn’t help but feel the passion and comfort I felt speaking to these women when sharing their answers. 

To learn more about this empowering group, follow them on their Instagram @bbb.oswego. 

The Bold Black Beauties hold programs every Friday, at 5pm at MCC room 225! 

Briana K. Boateng is a section writer for Her Campus Magazine! She is senior with a major in Broadcasting and Mass Communications. She aspires to become an on-air talent, so anywhere that ranges from hosting, interviewing, anchoring, etc. Some of Briana's hobbies include eating out, watching interviews, as well as reading lifestyle articles. Being a part of Her Campus magazine enables her to enhance her experience as a broadcast journalist, expand her skills in writing, and as well as sharing, connecting, and inspiring her woman peers on the SUNY Oswego campus. Essentially, this is the purpose of this magazine: To empower other woman!