04 Sep Project Embrace – helping us love ourselves
Lekie Lee, image activist, mother and empowerment speaker, founded the Project Embrace Billboard Campaign … here’s why.
When children are born, they are not born with an idea of beauty, so they enjoy their reflection in a mirror but unfortunately by time they get to primary school age and older they become susceptible to other people’s impression of them and the messages pushed at them no matter how subtle.
That happened to me and for too long a time, I accepted I had undesirable features and should just learn to live with it. This assumption affected my choices in life – and no prizes for guessing those choices didn’t serve me well.
When I had my daughter Siira, I didn't want her feeling like I did. I didn't want her losing her childlike wonder and love for herself. So when the only black women she complimented all had straight hair I knew that was the beginning of losing her unconditional self-love for herself.
When I had my daughter Siira, I didn’t want her feeling like I did. I didn’t want her losing her childlike wonder and love for herself. So when the only black women she complimented all had straight hair I knew that was the beginning of losing her unconditional self-love for herself. If she saw straight hair as the only hair that is worthy of compliments then it would only be a matter of time before she would wish that her hair was straight and how far would it go – wanting someone else’s body, lips, eyes, eyelashes, talent, charisma? The list is endless and can be endless.
This is what makes it so important to teach our daughters to embrace their uniqueness and love every aspect of their image.
So Project Embrace was born because out of all the features that women have issues with the negative messages around afro hair go largely unopposed.
Every woman and girl deserves to feel beautiful without feeling the need to alter her physical self. Unfortunately, this is not the case and as a result of the continued ‘bad press’ that afro texture hair has received over the centuries, many women (and girls) don’t feel beautiful or even just acceptable in their natural hair texture.
We believe that discriminating against anyone based on their physical form in any kind of way is unacceptable. Diversity is natural and no one should be made to suffer or be punished for it.
Acknowledging beauty on the outside is as important as acknowledging beauty on the inside. Encouraging women to embrace their outer beauty, to look in the mirror and love what they see is not superficial as some might think, on the contrary it demonstrates complete self-worth.
Boosting a girl’s self esteem so that she is empowered by her unique beauty will give her the confidence to embrace herself and believe in her talents to achieve greatness.