Black Women: Journey Back to Queenhood presented by Denique Dennis

Wayne Kelly (Defiance, OH)

At the Defiance College Honors Symposium that took place on April 8, 2016, many students, and faculty gathered to observe presentations from some of the best and brightest individuals on campus. Sophomore student, Denique Dennis, was among this distinguished group of McMaster Symposium presenters. “I wanted to address a cultural issue that affects women of color” said Dennis of her presentation which focused around black female hair and body images.

Denique’s passionate display began with explaining the context of certain issues relating to hair and body image that affect black women like herself on a daily basis. She went into potent detail about the political and social status that wearing her hair in its natural form could convey to society. Dennis shared that “becoming personally and socially aware of how image affects every woman whom I share similar background with is substantially important to me.”

During the PowerPoint display of her presentation Denique Dennis showed quotes from women of color who expressed their desire to engage in skin bleaching or at least knew someone who has done it. Skin bleaching is practiced by some women of darker skin complexions usually due to low self-esteem and a poor image of self in order to make themselves become lighter. The skin bleaching phenomenon has been a correlating result of longstanding Eurocentric beauty standards. This harmful technique can become a cause of death in the most extreme cases.

The underlying purpose of this remarkable presentation at the Honors Symposium was to shed light on the inner challenges women of color face as well as the societal barriers in large part due to their aesthetic features. As a result of her research Denique shared that there has been a revolutionary “black hair movement” where black women are beginning to embrace their natural hairstyles once again by ceasing to use harmful chemical relaxers. To keep up with this trending movement you can search the social media hashtags #BlackGirlMagic and #MelaninOnFleek to witness the “journey back to queenhood.”

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