When I was little, my grandmother and I would do these things called affirmations. Every morning, we would look in the mirror and say positive things about ourselves. “I am beautiful. I am smart. I am creative.”
My grandmother was always trying to boost my confidence, especially when others would make me question my value. Her favorite expression was “you’re flexin’ in your complexion,” which basically means, “you look awesome in your skin.”
Still, I struggled with my self-esteem, and my big sister Taylor noticed. She would take photos of me to try to show me that I was beautiful. When I was 10, she tweeted one of them with the hashtag #FlexinInHerComplexion—and we were amazed by what happened next.
Within hours, the tweet went viral. People all over the world were saying that they loved my skin and my hair—the very things kids had teased me about! Others shared their own experiences of colorism, which helped me understand how widespread and serious the problem is.