Being “dark-skinned” in America is an issue that stems from the days of slavery. It was the traditions of slavery and the plantation society that placed lighter skinned slaves at the top of the ladder, in the “house” with their slave-owners, while the darker skinned slaves were placed at the bottom of the ladder, doing back-breaking labor.
While the physical chains of bondage may be broken, for many African Americans, “dark skin” and “light skin” is still a psychological prison of self-loathing and envy.
Growing up for Khoudia Diop wasn’t easy. Even in France where she started to expeience the same psychological prison. She struggled to think that she was beautiful as she was often teased about her skin color.
Originally from Senegal, Diop moved to France when she was 15. She shared with The Daily Mail that bullies would call her “darkie” and “daughter of the night”.
In the beginning, Khoudia would confront her bullies head on. Eventually, she decided to ignore them and direct that energy toward loving herself.
Bullies use to come with all kind of names thinking I’ll feel bad about my color well guess what I loved them all and showed them how much I didn’t care about what they think. [sic]
Referred to as “darkie” by some of her haters, she decided to give herself a nickname that highlighted her skin in a positive way. She decided to nickname herself, “Melanin Goddess”.
The rationale behind the nickname is to reference the pigment that gives people their skin tone and to encourage people to be confident in themselves.
Because of my dark, melanin rich complexion and because I want to inspire young girls and let them know that we are all goddesses inside and out. The message I have for my sisters is that how you look doesn’t matter as long as you feel beautiful inside, she said.
At the age of 17, Khoudia began modeling with the goal of adding more diversity to the catwalk and encouraging women of all colors to be confident.
Managed by The Colored Girl Inc., Khoudia hopes to empower women to believe they are beautiful. Now, 2 years later, she lives in New York city and she recently reached 220,000 followers on Instagram.
When she first began modeling, she had 10 followers but now people all over the world are mesmerized by the rare beauty.
I want to inspire other young women of color and empower them. I want them to know that they can do and be anything they dream of.