That #Melanin Though: A Hashtag That Unifies Black Women

by Meagan Faison
Let’s talks social media, specifically hashtags. I’m not a big fan of hashtags, but every once in awhile there’s a good one that pops up. Without a doubt, my favorite hashtag to take over social media right now is #Melanin. 

The hashtag pays homage to the beauty of the black woman (or man!). It celebrates everything from our rich-brown skin, to our full lips and curls.

The word melanin is defined in the good old Webster as a dark brown or black substance that is a natural part of people's skin, hair, and eyes. It’s basically what gives us humans our pigment and complexion, and we as black and brown people are obviously blessed with an abundance of it. Aside from giving us a beautiful glow, melanin has several medical properties. *Puts on doctor hat* Our pigmented skin is specially created to be able to absorb all of the natural nutrients from the sun. The melanin also protects us from overexposure to the sun which causes medical issues such as skin cancer. Melanin has even been proven to slow our skin’s aging process. So if you wonder why #BlackDontCrack, now you know.

The great thing about the Melanin hashtag is that it is finally something that brings black women (all women of color really) together. 

Dating back to the days of slavery and Jim Crow, people have tried to divide the African-American community by their skin complexion. There have been the house slaves and field slaves, then light-skin and dark-skin, yellow-bones, red-bones, brown-bones...it goes on and on. As a former go hard member of Team-Light-Skin-Red-Bone-Caramel-Delight, I’m happy to give that up and just celebrate being a beautiful black woman. The color-complex is still a deeply rooted problem in our community, but Melanin and other hashtags like #BlackGirlMagic and #MyBlackIsBeautiful are definitely a step in the right direction.

17-year-old Young actress Amandla Stenberg (Rue from the Hunger Games) has become known for sprinkling black girl magic everywhere she goes. She has been actively outspoken on topics such as sexuality, gender identity, feminism and has also clapped back against cultural appropriation (she very eloquently informed Kylie Jenner that she did not invent cornrows). Amandla made one of her most empowering quotes at the Black Girls Rock! Awards show a couple weeks ago.
 
I feel like we’re on this fabulous wave of self-love and appreciation for our culture. Summer is right around the corner, so I expect the melanin to be in full effect. Don’t hide from the sun, embrace it. Keep that melanin poppin! 

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