Got Melanin?

By Daniela Cacho

February represents Black History Month. Black History Month embraces the recognition of the achievements and work African Americans have done across the world. This year, Black History Month presents the theme “African Americans in Times of War.” 100 years has passed since The First World War. Communities around the nation are reflecting on historical events that prized African Americans during The First World War, and continue to do so.

Society continues to display pride and commitment to keep the remembrance of African American history and modern accomplishments strong. A Cuyahoga Community College Student has also taken a role to express African American pride, with a modern twist. Jacee Miles is a Tri-C student who released her clothing line on Instagram this month called, Simply Divine.

Miles has come to realizing the how common dark-skinned people are buying high amounts of bleach to lighten their skin. She has been witnessing people taking strong, physical action to completely change their image. Miles recognizes this outlook that people are claiming light skin is what mainly gets accepted in society.

Her clothing line consist of shirts that express one main goal, boosting confidence in dark-skinned people. “It’s been in the making, in my mind for like the last year.” says Miles. Simply Divine started with strong intentions, that came together naturally.

“I walked through the mall one day and I was talking to this lady who owned a shirt store and I was pitching her my ideas. She was like, ‘I think this is a really good idea. Let’s start making some shirts.’ And I’m like, ‘okay!’ So, I ordered 20 shirts and that night. I got the shirts at 6 o’clock. At 11 o’clock I had four shirts left. They were just gone. I was really excited because I didn’t think everyone was gonna take to the idea the way they did because it does take some explaining if you don’t understand what it is.” says Miles.

The first Simply Divine design was a plain black shirt with words “got melanin?” in white letters, influenced by the memorable “got milk?” slogan for the California Milk Processor Board. Melanin is the body’s natural pigment that results in presentation of dark skin, hair, and eyes.

Miles recognizes how widely image is affecting those across the globe. “In Jamaica, and in America too, dark people are bleaching their skin because somehow, they associate it being lighter or being white with beauty and wealth. So, Simply Divine is just trying to get people to understand that you have to embrace your melanin and be gentle with it,” Miles says.

Also, those of star status have explored the scene of skin bleaching. Mile says, “You can look at it too in the celebrity stand point, it does kind of put you in the mindset that you have to be lighter skinned to succeed. It kind of gives a misrepresentation to little girls who are my skin complexion. Like, they feel that they aren’ good enough or they aren’t pretty enough because they aren’t light. That is not true. You are feeding these kids misguided things, it is not right.”

Simply Divine will continue to educate those who are dark-skinned to embrace their natural self. Currently, the clothing company has three shirts designs and plans to expand their fashion shirts in fused with confident-movement mottos. You can find Simply Divine on Instagram at @__SimplyDivine

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