This Detroit mom of five, Joy Mohammed, who was once heavily ridiculed for her dark complexion, is the new inspiration for a Black-owned beauty brand.
Black female entrepreneurs launched The Lip Bar, a make-up brand, in 2012. To promote the release of the brand’s latest foundation shade, 6’04 Warm Red Ebony, the company solicited the services of actor and activist Sanaa Lathan (who is known for her support of Mohammed).
“I was completely overwhelmed to be asked — absolutely blown away,” she told Daily Mail.
“I couldn’t get over the fact I was tapped to represent a foundation shade that was unavailable when I was in need of make-up for senior photos and dance recitals, because my skin tone was so “undesirable” to the masses,” she added.
Since she was a child, Mohammed has struggled with the ill repercussions of colorism, she said. Her skin tone was described as “blackety-black” because she was the darkest kid in her classrooms.
“I remember putting on make-up and trying to make it work [even though it was too light],” the 31-year-old law student reminisced. “I looked horrible, ghastly.”
Mohammed found it difficult to navigate the drugstore aisles in search of the proper foundation shade. She claimed the deepest shade was from Covergirl’s Queen Latifah collection at the time. She didn’t feel comfortable in her own flesh until she came across The Lip Bar, which is also based in Detroit.
“I was drawn to this brand not only because it was also Detroit-owned, black-owned, and women-owned, but because it worked so well and showed up on my skin so well,” she said.
Mohammed was invited to the Lip Bar’s make-up studio as a model for their new shade by product development Kori Fields. Mohammed was overjoyed at the prospect of being the face of dark-skinned females like her, and she brought her 5-year-old daughter, Adaline, along for the valuable experience.
“I took Adaline because I wanted her to see that what we consider beauty diversity to be normal for her, and that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. I didn’t want to tell her about it or show her pictures, I wanted her to see it,” Mohammed said.
Fields, who has become good friends with Mohammed, agrees that The Lip Bar’s objective to accurately express the beauty of Black women and women of color is crucial.
“We want everyone to feel like they have a home with us,” she said warmly. “Joy is one of our number one fans; we always reach out to her when we can because she’s always excited and helpful. We have to support those who support us, she’s always been great,” she continued.
This feature is a reminder that regardless of our race, color, gender, etc. we are all beautiful and we must forever celebrate unity in diversity. We should never see ourselves as ugly or non-fitting to the standards of the society, because what matters the most is how we look at ourselves and see the beauty in us.