Our Thoughts on Being Brown and Beautiful

Our Thoughts on Being Brown and Beautiful
If 2020 has shown us anything, it’s the power of community. The importance of coming together in the spirit of unity and working to support one another. 

It’s also shown us how vital it is to have what some may consider the ‘difficult’ or ‘uncomfortable’ conversations. To explore topics that have a real impact on the ones we love, if not ourselves directly.

Take for example, the Black Lives Matter movement.

During the July school holidays, a good friend of ours came to stay with us. And whilst we were doing the dishes and having a general catch up after a long time apart, he asked how I (Bon) felt about the BLM movement now that I have kids.

And to be honest, I’m still thinking about how to answer that question. 
Bon and the girls
You see, Ivy has skin like caramel and Maia’s is like a latte. They both have dark brown eyes and features they get from Push. Their last name is Singh.

Whilst they are not stereotypically ‘black’, they do have a much darker skin tone than me and a surname that associates them with a certain race.

As their mum, I have pretty strong feelings about protecting them from any kind of discrimination and being hurt in any way. It’s true that I now understand what drives a lioness to protect her cubs with such ferocity! My point is, regardless of skin colour, race and everything else on the outside, I want to raise my girls so they are proud of who they are, their roots and their differences, whatever they may grow to be.

And one way I wanted to demonstrate this to my girls was through Bonpinda itself. It was a large part of why Push and I were so excited and so determined to partner with the Exhale Label and add their ‘Brown and Beautiful’ tee to our range.

We should celebrate diversity and teach kindness, respecting all individuals regardless of their ethnicity, orientation or background.

Everybody should feel empowered to love themselves.

This tee-shirt is for them... and anyone else who identifies with it... because EVERYONE IS BEAUTIFUL!
Bon and the girlsPush in Brown and Beautiful tee
Leading on from Bon’s thoughts on the ‘Brown and Beautiful’ tees…

Even though these tees were made for women, I (Push) have kept one for myself. Partly, it was because of how super comfy they are, but really it was because I fell in love with these tees as soon as I saw them.

Growing up in northern India in the 90s, I was surrounded by TV ads, marketing banners and a society with a strong view that being fair was more beautiful. There were (and still are) endless facial products which guaranteed that you would get fairer skin after applying a cream to your face for a particular amount of time.

One of the most popular of those products was called 'Fair & Lovely'... yeah, the implication there wasn’t exactly subtle.

But there are 2 specific incidents which really stick in my memory, for a number of reasons…

The first was when I visited India for the first time after having lived in Northern Territory for a year or so. My mum was so surprised to see my colour more brown/dark and actually said to me that she didn't like me living up north because I was so dark now. I remember laughing and saying it was still my colour!

The second incident was during our time working remotely in the NT. One of the older ladies said to me, "Are you a white fella or a black fella?"

I said I'm a brown fella and she said there is no such thing as a brown fella and that you're either white or black… eventually I became quite good friends with that old lady and I ended up showing her Bollywood movie clips to show some more brown fellas.

She was fascinated and I had to order in a stack of DVDs full of Bollywood dance scenes for her - she loved them!
Bonpinda and the girls
Please don’t misunderstand me... when reflecting on these memories, I do consider these incidents funny. But when I saw the statement on these tees… ‘Brown and Beautiful’… those words hit me deeply. 

I’d never seen a statement like this displayed so proudly on a t-shirt before, and it was only afterwards that I really questioned… well, why not?

Why wasn’t the message being shared more widely? Why don’t more people openly celebrate being brown?

We’ve come (I hope) a long way from slathering ‘Fair & Lovely’ onto our faces, and for Maia and Ivy, I want them to grow up proud of their heritage, comfortable and confident in their skin. And just as the Exhale Label states about this tee, I want them to feel brave and powerful.

They deserve to wholeheartedly and unreservedly embrace who they are. No one should ever make them feel otherwise.

And I hope that by adding this particular design to the Bonpinda collection, we are sending a message to individuals across Australia - heck, around the world - that we see them for who they truly are.

Brown. And Beautiful.