For the State of Black Beauty, ELLE.com chatted with six Black icons to hear how they define Black beauty and how they see themselves in the space—in their own words.
Black beauty, what it means to me is Maya Angelou’s poem, “Phenomenal Woman.” It’s loving your hips, your nose, your hair. It’s embracing all of the cultural attributes that are in your faith, in your voice, in your mannerisms, in your past, and what makes you different from everyone else. It’s also making peace with the parts of you that are strong, confident, but also vulnerable and the parts of you that sometimes need help. It’s all of it. It’s embracing fully, absolutely, who you are.
I wish I knew that who and what I am was enough—that who I am is just perfect. If someone would have told me back then, I would’ve maybe thought that was