Karyn Washington: For Brown Girls When The Rainbow Is Not Enuff


There are moments (not a lot, but some) when I regret not having a child, especially a little girl. For instance, I’ll never have the opportunity to look down at a sweet, innocent little brown face and know instinctively that I would do everything in my power to keep her safe, happy and strong. It would have been my single mission in life to make certain that she was equipped to handle herself in a world that could be nightmarish and a dream-come-true, all in a wonderful lifetime.

And it was to that extent, probably, that I never had kids. I knew the inevitability of her having the need to strike out on her own or the other inevitability: that I would die, leaving her alone to fend for herself against the world,without me. I know I have a latent ‘possessive gene’ in me and the idea of creating such a beautiful, precious being and then having to let her go… would literally tear me apart.

Consequently, however, I was some woman’s daughter and have experienced that anguish in reverse, when my mother died from cancer.  My heart was, and still is, broken in places that could never be healed by anyone or anything.

So, It took me awhile, after having learned about this sad story from a friend, to sit down and write about this brown skin girl, 22 y.o. Karyn Washington, the popular creator of ForBrownGirls.com, who committed suicide at her home on April 8, after having struggled with depression brought on by the loss of her mother to cancer. I could associate so much with her heartache on way too many levels to be comfortable enough to write about her earlier. How incredibly sad and lonely she must have felt to have done this.

This talented, inspiring, beautiful young lady created her website as a way to celebrate the beauty of young African-American women, particularly dark-skinned girls. Her manifesto was:

 “As humans, regardless of color, age, socio-economic status, gender, and other characteristics, we MUST build each other up rather than tear each other down in order to change the world and create a better place for our children and future generations. As women, it is imperative as well as our duty to love ourselves unconditionally, smile and laugh often, and NEVER allow ANYONE to steal our joy.”

She helmed the hashtag #DarkSkinRedLipProject after rapper A$AP Rocky stupidly stated during an interview with The Coveteur, that dark-skinned women shouldn’t wear red lipstick, sparking  thousands of dark skin women to post stunning photos of themselves in red lipstick on her website, thus shattering the validity of the rapper’s statement.

Yeah, my little daughter would have been a lot like Karyn, but if the Universe is kind (and I do believe It is), Karyn’s with her own Momma now.

Rest In Peace Little Girl.


If you or someone you know needs help, or just someone to talk to, go to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.


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