For students, messages about their blackness were everywhere.
Seventh-grader Tamirah Brown opens Snapchat and sees videos from “team dark skin.” Classmate Mariama Kaikai’s aunt once regularly used skin-bleaching creams.
And Michayia Howard, whose mother affectionately calls the 14-year-old “chocolate drop,” recently heard a classmate at Helen Y. Davis Leadership Academy in Dorchester say: “I don’t like dark-skins or brown-skins. … I would only choose white skins.”
The girls’ teacher, Lovely Hoffman, watched female students internalize these messages. She saw skin color, hair texture, and facial features influence her students’ sense of self. So she decided to act by writing “My Black is Beautiful,” a song that explores stereotypes and idealized beauty standards.
A dozen of Hoffman’s students star in the music video, which was filmed and released this school year. But before they had their moment under the lights, the girls and Hoffman took an introspective moment — several actually — to talk …