From the Media Capital, to the Global Ethiopian Community
Saturday November 18th 2017

Loving Black Until it Loves Me Back

Born in Sudan, Alek Wek has broken barriers in the fashion world. She was the first African model to appear on the cover of Elle and remains one of fashion's top models.

I don’t know about you but every time I see black I get excited.  My black boots, black leather jacket, my jet-black hair, and black people!

The color black has always represented beauty, power, and resilience to me.  This mentality has helped to boost my self-confidence but it has also hurt my relationship with other Ethiopians.

Loving black means loving myself because that’s the color I indentify myself as.  However, most Ethiopians don’t consider themselves black.  Blame it on the media and the many negative portrayals of black people, but for some reason most Ethiopians shun away from that word.

For the majority of my life I’ve had to hide this love of mine for all things black.  If I wore all black my mother would reprimand me.  Unless someone passed away, one shouldn’t dress in black.  In addition, there has always been something ominous attached to the color that I have an obsession for.

Then college came and while my newfound black friends didn’t seem to bother my Ethiopian family, the man in my life was causing more chaos than I thought possible.

He was tall, dark, and handsome.  Instantly there was a connection between us that I could not deny and instead of being bashful, when the time was right, I introduced him to my family.

My parents did not accept him initially but started to come around as time went by.  I wish I could say the same about my Ethiopian community.

So many times I was given a certain look that I never wanted to get used to.  A look that said, ‘why are you with him, can’t you stick to your own kind?’  I know it wasn’t just me overreacting because he also felt that vibe.

It wore me out having to explain to him constantly why other Ethiopians wouldn’t look at him as they stopped us in the street and why they always spoke to me in Amharic.

Soon I discovered that our relationship was bigger than us, it symbolized something way more important than we could ever conceive: the right to be with whomever we want, free of all prejudice.

So, whether it’s my clothes, make-up, or the man in my life, I will continue loving black and hope for that day to come when we are no longer judgmental and can see past colors.


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