Black is beautiful  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Black is beautiful is a cultural movement that was started in the United States in the 1960s by African Americans. It later spread beyond the United States, most prominently in the writings of the Black Consciousness Movement of Steve Biko in South Africa. Black is beautiful got its roots from the Négritude movement of the 1930s. Negritude argued for the importance of a Pan-African racial identity among people of African descent worldwide.

It aims to dispel the racist notion that black people's natural features such as skin color, facial features and hair are inherently ugly. John Rock was long thought to be the first person to coin the phrase "black is beautiful" — during a speech in 1858—but historical records indicate that he never actually used the specific phrase on that day. The movement also encouraged men and women to stop trying to eliminate African-identified traits by straightening their hair and attempting to lighten or bleach their skin. Bill Allen, a freelance writer for advertising agencies, claimed he coined the phrase in the 1950s.

This movement began in an effort to counteract the racist notion in American culture that features typical of Blacks were less attractive or desirable than those of Whites. Research indicates that the idea of blackness being ugly is highly damaging to the psyche of African Americans, manifesting itself as internalized racism. This idea made its way into black communities themselves and led to practices such as paper bag parties: social events which discriminated against dark-skinned African-Americans by only admitting lighter-skinned individuals.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Black is beautiful" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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