Medellín, Colombia is famous for so many things – Pablo Escobar, city of Eternal Spring, surrounding coffee growing regions, amazing mountain top views… And it’s latest arrival – Afro~Vibes!
Staying true to my mission to highlight the often unseen ‘Blackness’ of Colombia, a stop over in Medellín gave me an opportunity to interview Marian Valoyes Chaverra – the 22 year old Afro-Colombian entrepreneur and Law student behind the clothing brand making a bold fashion statement!
Marian’s t-shirt reads; “Mi Color de piel No es Una Amenaza, un Arma ni un Crimen | My skin colour isnt a threat, a weapon, or a crime”
“I was trying to find different ways to express the struggles and all our resistance, and decided to use t-shirts for putting these discussions on the streets… Afro~Vibes is a good way to express that Afro-Colombian people are here. We are important for Colombian history and also for Colombian development.” Marian shared during our interview.
Does My Dark Skin Offend You?
Of all the powerful statement-making t-shirts Afro~Vibes offers, the one which resonated with the most with me is the one which directly questions society’s perception of my skin colour, especially as dark skin black woman. Since posting pictures wearing my new Afro~Vibes “Does my Dark Skin Offend You?” t-shirt, I’ve received lots of comments across my social media platforms… However, this isn’t just about looking cute in a cropped t-shirt, so here’s the down-low.
As flattering as it is to receive comments from white people saying ‘no your skin doesn’t offend me‘, this t-shirt isn’t just about me, ‘the acceptable black girl’. It’s about black skin in society in general. Those who look like me who are discriminated against, subject to racism and conscious/unconscious bias on a daily basis just because of the skin they’re in.
If dark skin really doesn’t offend you, take a look around and see where it’s lacking within your circle of friends, networks, the work place (and I’m talking decision-makers too, not just the cleaner, receptionist or token person of colour in the office!) – and if you can’t see it, be an ally – question it – question yourself – call it out!
‘I don’t care‘ part at the back of the t-shirt is just as powerful as the front, meaning that us (black people/people of colour) are creating our own lane – our own opportunities due to discrimination… Your loss (society in general) for not including us!
So I ask you again, “Does my Dark Skin Offend You?“…
Look out for my full interview with Afro~Vibes founder, and more from my Colombia trip!
Find out more about Afro~Vibes Colombia on Instagram at @afrovibesColombia
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