April 1, 2020


A few days ago, I posted a video on Instagram about my experience dealing with racism. I tried to make my video as brief and personal as possible because racism is a very serious issue that can’t be addressed in a video; not even a day, week, month or year is enough. And my encounters? Too numerous to mention.

Nonetheless, I decided to start by talking about growing up as a dark-skinned girl in Nigeria. Funny, right? I felt there was a need to mention that because not every girl or woman that looks like me will get to encounter racism directly but most, if not all, will be victims of colourism in their lifetimes.

Millions of young girls and women have low self-esteem as a result of colourism. They are made to believe they are ugly and unattractive.

I’ve had conversations with many young girls and women in Nigeria and Africa at large. The stories are very similar. The hard working graduate that couldn’t land the marketing job because she was too “black”. The aspiring actress that never got a big break because movie producers wanted more “Oyibo” lead characters. If not at home, then in school. If not in school, then at the mall, restaurant or some other public place. You literally have to put in extra effort to be noticed or acknowledged.

I had to deal with this for many years. I always felt ugly and not good enough, because of something I had absolutely no control over. I finally had to learn to live with this reality and embrace myself for who I am. I began to tell myself those things that I thought I’d hear from people other than my family and friends – you are beautiful, you are gorgeous etc. It was at that point that I started seeing some positive changes.

I taught myself to pay little to no attention to what others said about my skin or how I looked. I reminded myself that responding to them would only make them more relevant than they actually were (definitely not a day’s job). In fact, I was a little mad at myself for letting them influence the way I saw myself for many years. I was also mad that it took me so long to get to the point of loving and caring for myself. But that’s okay, these things take time.

And for anytime anyone made a comment relating to my complexion, I usually responded with, “how is an Average African meant to look like?”

I’m now honestly asking, if we don’t feel loved, accepted and normal here in Africa, where else would we feel so? Those who make one feel bad for being dark-skinned are same people who mock the other for bleaching her skin. It really baffles me.

Nobody should feel inferior because of how they look. No one is any better than the other. The way we believe no race is superior to another is same way we should believe that no skin color is superior to another.

Black is indeed, beautiful!

Mirabelle Morah of BlankPaperz


  1. Wadi Ben Hirki Daniel says:

    I know exactly what u mean. I am a guy and I happen to be the darkest person in my family. I was called “the black sheep”… I can’t deny being a very little bit stigmatized by my uncle, till I decided to make it a thing of pride. I began to love being something they can’t be … a Black Boy .

    • Wadi Ben Hirki says:

      Wow, thanks for sharing. Black is beautiful

      • Wadi Ben Hirki Nandom LeRoy Pogwan says:

        The most valuable skin on the planet is the dark coloured skin. You can’t buy it. You can decide to bleach or use some drug to become light skinned but nothing can make you black skinned. When they call me black, I tell them, it’s priceless or I just call them white, albino, or hundred naira Caro white. And then we laugh. For those who go further, I tell them God made me. Or this is the most expensive skin on Earth, you can’t beat that. Like what you’re doing Wadi. God bless you my black beauty. Kisses.

  2. Wadi Ben Hirki Waddss says:

    I can completely relate to this. I’m glad that you’ve begun this advocacy and awareness on the essence of accepting and owning your skin tone for what it is. It’s completely something you have no control about . For this reason , be unapologetic about it. And to those of you who engage in profiling based on skin tone , please stop it. You completely have no idea the mental stress/trauma you’re causing the individual at the receiving end.

    Love, wadds

    • Wadi Ben Hirki Ijafiada says:

      This is straight out of the heart, it’s honestly the struggle a lot of people go through and in this part of the world we ‘bone face’. But it’s high time this reality stops being our reality, it’s time. . .

    • Wadi Ben Hirki says:

      Thank you so much sis. This message is very important.
      Love you!

  3. Wadi Ben Hirki Ijapari says:

    Absolutely love this piece! Yes black is beautiful and we either own it or get lost in the misery that racism comes with! Hopefully the issue of racism becomes a thing of the past soon! But until then… we keep owning it!

  4. Wadi Ben Hirki Juanita says:

    Thank you for this! Black is beautiful ❤️

  5. Wadi Ben Hirki Tega Irhivwoba says:

    Wow deep.

  6. Wadi Ben Hirki Chidinma Ibemere says:

    Thank you so much Wadi for this. In March this year, I was given the opportunity to organize a pageantry competition where I teach, as an activity for the Commonwealth Day.

    When announcements were made for students who were interested to meet for auditioning, a certain girl in SS1 met me and said she would love to participate, although she is not sure her dark skin color would let her win but she was willing to try.

    I was touched and decided to pay special interest in building the confidence of the participants by reminding them of success stories of the Reigning Miss Universe and Agbani Darego.
    It helped a great deal.

    Thank you for this powerful article. Once school resumes, I will share with my students.

    • Wadi Ben Hirki says:

      Wow! Thank you for sharing. It’s a privilege to be an inspiration to others. We need to change the narrative.

  7. Wadi Ben Hirki Eniola says:

    Very relatable, thanks for sharing your story!

  8. Wadi Ben Hirki Fiyin Gambo says:

    Thank you for being a voice of many . You are beautiful Wadi

  9. Wadi Ben Hirki Shamsuddeen says:

    Wooooooow. Wadi I never knew there was a term “colourism”. This is so insightful and thought provoking. Thank you for being a voice of hope to the voiceless. You are awesome!

  10. Wadi Ben Hirki Shamma says:

    Black is beautiful! Thank you for letting others not to think otherwise. It is high time this issue is tackled!

  11. Wadi Ben Hirki Godiya Zambwa says:

    Thank you Wadi! Thanks for being a voice to the voiceless! Black is Beautiful, years back I met a man (stranger) he laughed and mocked at me because I’m darked skinned. Lol. At first it pained me but after giving it a thought, I felt my skin colour is unique, I’ve got lots of compliments, people telling me to maintain it etc. Few minutes later I concluded that the man doesn’t worth my people barely change their skin colour to dark skinned which makes it outstanding… Love You Wadi! I love the insight!

    • Wadi Ben Hirki says:

      Thank you so much for sharing. I’m happy to know that you know you are beautiful and unique. Love you too girl

  12. Wadi Ben Hirki Hawa Ben Hirki says:

    Am Black and I take pride in my unique colour and beauty.
    Am Intelligent and stand out wherever.
    I refuse to be intimidated!
    Use your brains and prove them wrong!

  13. Wadi Ben Hirki Blessed nuhu says:

    Lol good question: “what is an average African meant to look like?”. We are all African and skin tone shouldn’t be something that divides us! Great read!

    • Wadi Ben Hirki says:

      Awww thank you

      • Wadi Ben Hirki Blessing Eleojo Haruna says:

        As if racism wasn’t enough, among the blacks we now have colorism. Some job description even comes with color tone can you imagine? Thank you Wadi, this awareness is timely. If only people know that the black skin is priceless, I personally tell people not to call me fair, I love black. And so when I post a picture on social media and tag it “black is beautiful” I warn my viewers not to say I’m not black. I’m black, I love black!

        • Wadi Ben Hirki says:

          Wow, lovely comment. Thank you
          I’m glad that you are proud to be black because black is indeed, beautiful.

  14. Wadi Ben Hirki Olunmaa says:

    I need to read this to a room full of young girls with Beyoncé’s ‘Brown Skin Girl’ playing softly in the background. Thank you for preaching self-love, Wadi!

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