The shaded narrative

Mel·a·nin
noun
A dark brown to black pigment occurring in the hair, skin, and iris of the eye in man and animals.

Steven Onoja

The purpose of a man’s skin is to protect him from pathogens and substances that may harm him internally; It is the body’s first line of defense keeping the bad stuff out and the good stuff in. Ironically, that same very thing that is supposed to protect him, endangers him. For centuries people have been harassed, tortured and murdered because their skin made them a target.

Steven OnojaSteven OnojaSteven Onoja

They say, too much of anything is bad for you and from experience, I know that is true. Being dark skin is a symptom of having too much melanin. Too much melanin which renders you to too much discrimination, too much prejudice, and too few opportunities.
When you are black, your are born with one strike against you in this world, that you’re constantly trying to erase.

Steven Onoja
Steven Onoja

I am proud of my dark skin and even wish it was darker. You see my black shell protected my ancestors when they had to toil in fields. And even though it was pierced with weapons and whipped, our skin is smooth, and lacking blemish or blister. My melanin is tailored for me and is the best suit I’ve ever worn.

Steven OnojaSteven Onoja

In the early 1800s, the word “colored” began to surface referring to people of the African diaspora. For some reason the term colored always stuck with me. Not in a derogatory way but in a celebratory fashion. Being an artist I love experimenting with colors and textures. The way I see it, our creator used his paintbrush on us a little longer, taking time to create masterpieces. He used different blends to create our skin and features which are unique to us. Being colored means that we are vibrant, bold and rich. Imagine how dull and one dimensional a world without color would be.

Steven Onoja

Art & Creative Directors: @StevenOnoja
Photographer: @Alhareth
Models:
@stevenonoja
@mominatu
Wardrobe Styling: @StevenOnoja
Hair: @africancreature
MUA: @lilymoralesmakeup

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