Growing up, many commented on my darker skin. Having lighter skin is always something that is triumphed – especially within the South Asian community. Our culture is so rich in the arts and coming from a creative family, our houses always have artwork or sculptures. I’ve noticed that even in these pieces, dated decades and centuries ago, you would only ever see lighter skinned women. As a result of India’s history of colonialism, I believe fairer skin was deemed more powerful, thus, more beautiful. I remember being told to use specific “remedies” to clean and help lighten my skin. I was never taught to love my skin, but to always scrutinize it – to keep away from the sun, to avoid wearing specific colours so that I don’t look darker. It’s so interesting how some social media apps feature filters that make you browner or fairer. We’re surrounded by things that make us question ourselves and who we are.
In fact, it’s only now – in my twenties – that I realise how beautiful my skin really is. That the sun kisses my complexion making it glow. Overtime, I realised this is me and to move forward I have to accept who I am. So that’s what I did. I really want to let those who connect with my story to know that their brown skin is beautiful. This is you. This is yours. No one else’s. You are a golden treasure. Big up yourself!
Jasmin Sehra, a Graphic and Media Design graduate of the London College of Communication, is a London-based artist, passionate about the arts, fashion and hip hop. Her clients include the GAP, MTV and Lazy Oaf and she runs a blog and brand called Paradise Girl. She is deeply interested in encouraging young girls especially within her community, to pursue the arts, as it’s something that isn’t encouraged or deemed acceptable by many.