The Bluest Eye written by Toni Morrison explains the struggle of a young black girl named Pecola who wishes for blue eyes and beauty every chance she gets. In the novel, Pecola has been mocked and judged by many people for her ugliness and from that, she has developed an intense jealousy and fascination with white girls with blue eyes and blond hair. Pecola has a very deep desire to have blue eyes so that she can see the world in a different perspective and she wants the world to see her in a new perspective as well. In her struggle to find her own self- worth and beauty she discovers that her own life is crumbling around her. After Pecola's dad rapes her and everyone finds out that she's pregnant with his baby everyone in the town talks about it and some women said that her baby should just die because it would be so ugly one of the women states "can't help but be. Ought to be a law: two ugly people doubling up like that to make more ugly. Be better off in the ground." Pecola finds a man named Soaphead church and he is in charge of getting rid of everyone's bad luck and granting their wishes. When she finds him she asks him to give her blue eyes and eventually he "does". In the last section of the book, Pecola now believes that she has beautiful blue eyes and she is in a conversation with someone who seems to be an imaginary friend and she constantly asks him/her if she has bluer eyes than someone else and then she tells him/her to look at everyone's eyes to see if they are bluer than hers, but the imaginary friend says no and she states "Please. If there is somebody with bluer eyes than mine, then maybe there is somebody with the bluest eyes. The bluest eyes in the whole world." These quotes show that Pecola is still being judged by other people for being really ugly and they even would rather have Pecola's baby die than look like her and even when she finally got what she always wanted which is blue eyes and became "beautiful" she became worried and cautious that there was someone out there who has bluer eyes who was more beautiful than her. In this novel, Pecola has not developed a sense of self-love or self-worth since she has always been judged for her appearance and envied the things that she did not have, but others did. This novel really tells a tale of people's self-hatred and their opinions of what beauty is and the people who embody that idea.
Awol Erizku is a 29-year-old African American artist who has created many art pieces representing the minority communities( people of color). The artwork on his website shows many African American people being the center of attention in his art pieces. According to artsy.net Awol said " “There are not that many colored people in the galleries that I went to [growing up] or the museums that I went to. I was just like, when I become an artist I have to put my two cents in this world.” Since Awol noticed that colored people were not the focus in famous art pieces that he saw he decided to take historical pieces of art that normally had a white person as the model and replaced them with African American models in order to make a difference. This shows self- love because Awol wanted to represent the people that are not always represented in the best light or represented at all and give them the opportunity to shine as powerful figures in his art pieces to convey empowering messages to those who are looking.
The popular phrase and movement "Black Girl Magic" created by CaShawn Thompson was an attempt to battle the negative messages made about Black girls and show that black girls are beautiful. CaShawn says that the "First thing I envisioned is women who are black women specifically, just making a way out of no way, by coming into their own, being self-sufficient, extraordinarily so. And just being amazing under all circumstances and any circumstances, anything you can possibly think of a black woman has been able to do it and do it in a way makes people take note." In this video, Black women were asked what black girl magic means and they each have said something similar like it means black women that are confident who represent their history/culture, who represent their true selves and are just awesome. Also in the video, it showed many happy black women who showed their black girl pride wearing their hair natural and showing their unique fashion showing the love they have for themselves. This video encourages the uplifting message of black girl magic which says that black girls are beautiful just the way they are and that they should love themselves no matter what the media says about them.
In India Arie's "video" music video India talks about loving herself even though she is different from all the other girls in music videos. One of the lyrics in her song is " I'm not the average girl from your video and I ain't built like a supermodel, but I learned to love myself unconditionally because I am a queen." Another line from her song is " I am not the average girl from your video my worth is not determined by the price of my clothes no matter what I'm wearing I will always be India. Arie." This shows that India Arie is staying true to herself and she will love herself no matter what other people think about her. Based on the content of her song she is spreading the message of self-worth and self-love for other people to follow.
In the novel, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Ifemelu is told by one of her friends Wambui that she should let her hair go natural after Ifemelu says that her hair has been falling out at her temples due to all the relaxer she has used. When Wambui cuts Ifemelu's hair she doesn't like it and ends up not wanting to go to work or even leave her apartment because she doesn't like her new hair. After Ifemelu finally decides to go back to work and show everyone her hair she gets a lot of comments from her co-workers. While she is in the supermarket with her boyfriend, Curt someone says "you ever wonder why he likes you looking all jungle like that?" which makes her very upset and insecure about her hair. After this is said Ifemelu goes to the beauty supply store to buy silky straight weaves, but she remembers a post made by someone named by Jamilah on the website that Wambui suggested to her which said "I love the sistas who love their straight weaves, but I'm never putting horse hair on my head again." This makes Ifemelu very anxious to reply back and she says "Jamilah's words made me remember that there is nothing more beautiful than what God gave me." By the end of the excerpt Ifemelu finally ends up liking her hair it states in the excerpt "... she looked in the mirror, sank her fingers into her hair, dense and spongy and glorious, and could not imagine it any other way. That simply, she fell in love with her hair." To sum up the excerpt of this novel Ifemelu felt very insecure and uncomfortable about her hair and she received negative comments that made her question herself, but she finally came to realize that her hair is amazing and that she will love it no matter what other people say or think.
The poem Still I Rise written by Maya Angelou explains the power of getting back up when people knock you down and treat you badly. In the poem Maya Angelou says "You may write me down in history with your twisted, bitter lies, you may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I'll rise" This is a continued theme throughout the poem the idea of rising up when people mistreat you and not letting it get to you. She ends the poem by saying that she is no longer afraid and she quotes "I am the dream and hope of the slave. I rise, I rise, I rise." This poem written by Maya Angelou demonstrates the theme of self-love by using the empowering lines present in her work to show that like her people should rise up against challenges and obstacles that bring them down.