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USA: For Brown Girls Founder Karyn Washington Commits Suicide

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Karyn Washington, founder of influential self-esteem projects for women of color, including For Brown Girls and the Dark Skin, Red Lips Project has died at 22. The young woman reportedly took her own life.

Karyn launched the Dark Skin, Red Lips Project to display the beauty in women with darker complexions wearing red lipstick, after reading Harlem rapper A$AP Rocky’s comments during an interview that sun-kissed women of color should stay away from shades reserved for fair-skinned women. The rapper’s notion was quickly shattered through the images posted to social media using #DarkSkinRedLipProject.

The young advocate carried the torch For Brown Girls to appreciate their beauty from inside and out, while accenting their outer beauty with makeup. Her website is a cause of celebration of “the beauty of dark skin while combating colorism and promoting self love,” she wrote in the website’s mission statement.

Washington’s friend and fellow blogger Aliyah posted a stirring dedication to her friend on April 9. In another post, a friend shared that like many everywhere, Karyn was in the trenches of working through feelings of depression brought on by her mother’s passing.

I identify with Washington’s encouragement for those struggling with acceptance in having a darker complexion to love and embrace the skin they are in. In Karyn’s unexpected transition, there’s a lesson to be learned. We all, regardless of the shade of our skin, are seeking a loving and supportive system in a community still struggling to accept a variety of skin-tones. Colorism is promoted by media outlets force feeding images of one-dimensional beauty for men and women. People everywhere can continue fostering and laying the bricks For Brown Girls struggling to find self-love and acceptance in their skin by uplifting and supporting one another through projects such as Washington’s.

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