Editor’s Note: Student Cecil Robinson interviewed track athlete Kemoy Anderson on the challenges of defining beauty in today’s society.
To know her is to love her, but to get to know her is just as better. Kemoy Anderson is more than just a student-athlete at Shorter University. The track and field athlete is redefining what it means to be a dark skin woman while standing against society’s beauty standard.
The 20-year-old Newnan, Ga., native has overcome the hardships of bullying and lack of self-confidence in hopes of reaching a career to uplift those facing similar circumstances. Through the support of her mother and the guidance of God she believes that she can prevail through all of life’s hardships. Here, she talks about the misconception people have towards dark skin women, how she has had to overcome the pressures of being a dark skin woman and what she wants to say to young dark skin women.
How are you able to overcome the pressures and anxieties regarding being a dark skin woman in a typically white woman dominated environment?
I tell myself that I am my own person and that God created me the way I am for a reason. Being a dark skin woman is especially hard because it seems like now days everyone wants to be black until you actually have to be black. There are times where I think to myself well ‘I wish this was better about me or that I didn’t do that as much,’ but I know that pressure builds diamonds and someday I’m going to sprout into a more beautiful diamond than I already am. (LOL)
Who or what motivates you to embrace your beauty?
My mom is by far the one who motivates me! She taught me early to love myself, especially when others couldn’t see me for my beauty. Throughout all of my life it has mostly just been me and her and she taught me the importance of self-love and how to stand on my own two feet. This has really helped me in track especially when I got hurt because it taught me that I shouldn’t lean on my troubled thoughts but that I should look back on what my mom had raised me to believe.
Do you ever find yourself comparing your beauty to that of celebrities such the Kardashians?
Of course not! Haha nothing about them is real. They have a beautifully family, but none of that matters when you’re living a miserable life and you can tell they are miserable by how they look when they are all together. I am Kemoy and Kemoy alone. I don’t compare myself to no man and especially no other woman.
What are some things you wish you tell yourself in order to stay committed?
I tell myself that better days are coming and that one day I will be helping so many babies with a career as a pediatric anesthesiologist. My overall goal in life has been to help people and to give back. Mixed with my love for science and giving back, it is a great reminder to keep going. I hope that by using my platform in the future, I can help everyone to some degree.
What are some beauty standards that you think society implements on women of color specifically dark skin women?
I think it’s the idea that we need to resemble our light skin counterparts. Our eyes should be lighter instead of darker, our hair should not be short or “rough” but instead it should long and curly. It’s a sad to say that a lot of the hate doesn’t even come from white people, but a lot of the times it comes from members of our own community. Every way you can think a woman of color should be they (society) thinks otherwise.
Why do you think society has such a negative connotation of dark skin women?
The negative image of black women started long ago and has stuck ever since. Even though the year is 2017, people still try and label us all the same and that’s not right. No matter if someone is prettier than someone else or smarter than someone else, no one has the right to determine someone based on how they perceive them without knowing them.
What are some things you wish you could tell younger dark skin girls?
You are all queens!! There are no exclusions in my eyes. As someone who was bullied and still to this day goes through some troubling times, I think it’s high time we start encouraging one another rather than tearing each other down. When you feel yourself getting down, just remember that you are uniquely made.