Jayna. LA, USA

I’ve been told by several different people that I’m ‘pretty for a black girl’. And this was in Los Angeles! I used to think that meant I wasn’t pretty enough but now I understand that is just their opinion and that’s totally fine. 

 

I am half Korean and half black. Even though it was a huge part of my upbringing I was never around people with a similar story. I’ve gone to school with other African American kids but there was no one else who was mixed like me. It was really tough for me because I felt like I didn’t fit in anywhere. I didn’t know if I wanted my hair to be straight like Korean people or curly like black people. I didn’t know if I wanted my skin to be lighter or darker. I was mortified by my nose when I was little. I felt like I wasn’t being fully accepted in either the black or the Korean communities because I didn’t look like them.

 

Since then I’m so lucky I’ve made some friends from Korea who say I’m no less Korean than they are. They welcomed me into their community with open arms, when I thought they would see me as an abomination. I also have friends who have helped me understand my relationship with being a black woman. And I’m really thankful for my friends who will talk to me about anything that I’m struggling with. They will always speak the truth with me and for it to be raw. Because of that I’m now I’m at this place where I’m really proud of who I am. 

 

I did receive a lot of negative comments at school about how I looked at I’m okay with criticisms. I mean I’m an artist - I make stuff and I live for critiques and having other people tell me what they think and that goes a little bit beyond my art. I can listen to what other people think about me. I can see their perspective too, outside of mine. But that doesn’t make me question my integrity ever. 

 

There is nothing wrong with me so if someone has a problem with me I know they’re the ones that need to grow, not me. I think it's really awesome to be in that place. It makes me feel completely free.