I am sad to only be learning of this tremendous activist for women of color after reading memorials celebrating her advocacy, but I can do my part in spreading awareness of her struggles—the one she fought on the outside and the one she fought within herself. Karyn Washington, who founded the website For Brown Girls and leader of the #DarkSkinRedLip project, reportedly took her own life at the young age of 22.
The young woman launched her website in order to celebrate the beauty of black women who don’t always feel the love out here, and pushed the project #DarkSkinRedLip to encourage black women of all shades to embrace wearing red lipstick after rapper A$AP Rocky said that women of darker complexions shouldn’t rock it. That project, like For Brown Girls, was about empowering. That’s what Washington was all about.
Let’s honor Karyn’s memory and continue the work that she started, and take it a step farther. Let’s not just tell black girls and women they are beautiful and worthy. Let’s also tell them that it’s okay to fall back, seek help, and heal.