Why #PrettyLipsPeriod Matters
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Why #PrettyLipsPeriod Matters

Black women clap back at racism with love.

Why #PrettyLipsPeriod Matters

We like to believe that the media and what is portrayed in the media don't affect the way we think. We like to assert that we aren't robots and nothing could control us that effortlessly. As a black woman, however, I have seen that this is just not the case. People believe what they want to believe and some people just don't care enough to learn anything more than what their television feeds to them. So people continue to take media portrayals as fact, and never ask another question about it. Often black women are portrayed as sassy, sapphire broads, as sultry, sex goddesses, and as ghetto fabulous, lip-smacking, hand-clapping women. The "angry black woman" and the "sassy best friend" are one-sided portrayals of the diverse and ever changing minds and behaviors of black women. It is insulting for this to be the only thing that people see when it comes to black women, so when I came across the #PrettyLipsPeriod hashtag, my heart did a little happy dance. Not because I'd never seen black women uplifting each other, but because it was such a quiet yet powerful stance against those who chose to spew ignorance and hate. #PrettyLipsPeriod was a way for black women to band together and say three very important things. One, that we reject your disgusting unwarranted criticism of black women. Two, that we will not remain silent as you degrade our people. Three, we will not wait for you to love us; we love ourselves.

This is Aamito Stacie Lagum. Remember her name.

Aamito Lagum is an established 23-year-old Ugandan model. She won the first season of "Africa's Next Top Model" and has since been signed with DNA Model Management, been featured in magazines like Vouge and Vanity Fair, and walked in shows for big fashion names like Marc by Marc Jacobs, Lacoste and J. Mendel.

Recently, as part of MAC Cosmetics' campaign to market their “Royal Romance” lipstick, MAC showcased Lagum's lush lips rocking a bold shade.

But, as the universe would have it, the racist trolls couldn't leave well enough alone. MAC's picture of Lagum's lips began to get slammed with disgusting comments. For the lips that Kendall Jenner is praised for buying, Lagum was ridiculed for having naturally.

Comments under Lagum's MAC photo

Even with growing diversity in the fashion industry, comments referring to her lips as "ni** lips" and "fish lips" filled the make-up company's photo. The stark reality that many black women, and men, face all the time came to rear its ugly head.

Comments saying that "black women will never be as beautiful as white women" and "Holy s*** I thought this was Jay Z" showed the disgusting underbelly of not just America's racial bigotry but of the world's. Unfortunately, it's no surprise to me when I see this blatant, cowardly racism. Racism exists, and it is something that we face every single day, but it's the black clap-back that gave me so much life and so much hope. And it is the black clap back and support of one another that should be getting all the media focus and all the praise.

Lagum's response to the disgusting comments was tasteful and elegant. Everything that I would have expected from this Ugandan beauty. There was no mistaking, however, that she was not here for the haters or the racism. She made it abundantly clear that she was giving no weight to those who dared to spew odious words at her and that she was stronger than anything the trolls had to say.

In response to the haters she posted on her Instagram:

My lips giving you sleepless nights. On @maccosmetics IG. Thankyou @maccosmetics for this killer color and to that makeup artist .ama get me 3 of these.
A photo posted by Aamito Stacie Lagum (@aamito_lagum) on

This is where the love, uplift and support started to pour in, making my heart jump for joy and my black pride swell. When MAC didn't address the issue, Dr. Yaba Blay, Professor of Political Science at North Carolina Central University, and Thembisa Mshaka, a producer and filmmaker, joined forces to give us the gift that became the #prettylipsperiod hashtag.

This is the magic that ensued:

Women began pouring out their support and sported their most bold lip in the most beautiful way. Black women said "eff your beauty standards!" to those racist trolls. They shifted the negative energy and instead showed solidarity with Lagum by sharing, posting, loving and joining the hashtag #prettylipsperiod to showcase just how magical black women are.

MAC even went on to show it's solidarity by posting this photo:

All I have left to say is, BLESS YOU ALL, and to give a standing slow clap to the women who just supported and loved each other when it was needed. While there is still so much work to be done in the fashion industry alone regarding diversification, colorism and racism, love was in the air and I can't stop smiling. This is what this world needs and I'm so happy to see it being passed around in my community.f

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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