This teen made a meme to remind black children that their features are beautiful. Now it's viral.
If you scroll through 19-year-old Jacinda's Instagram account, where she has more than 11,000 followers, you'll see flawless selfies and outfit appreciations, but interspersed among them are honest revelations she's had on her own journey to loving every part of herself.
"I love how now I'm slowly discovering every flaw I once disliked and slowly loving it," she wrote in May.
Indeed, for years she struggled to love various parts of her — from her body to her lips — partly because she simply never saw black beauty being celebrated.
Now she wants to ensure that no other black children go through what she went through, thinking they aren't worthy or beautiful. And since it's 2017, Jacinda's using Instagram – and memes.
In May, she posted a meme that read "It took me a while to love my beautiful natural lips for the longest."
That one got more than 60,000 likes.
Over the weekend, she posted another that read "When you realize having big lips is a trend but it took you a while to love your natural ones..."
And that one's now gone viral, with 120,000 likes and counting.
"I wanted people to be aware that black children grow up living in a world where the media and society constantly reminds them that black beauty isn't beautiful," Jacinda said in an email. "Black children need to be surrounded and see representation on various types of black people when it comes to skin, hair type, appearance, etc. Not just one."
For Jacinda especially, people finally appreciating bigger lips not when they're just on white women like Kylie Jenner, is a major step in people understanding that there's more than one (very white) definition of beauty. As she reminded us, when MAC Cosmetics showed model Maryse Kye wearing their lipstick, she got called horrendous, racist names.
Jacinda doesn't want that to happen again, so these memes and encouraging posts may be a step in the right direction.
"When I woke up and realized my post had gone viral, I was really shocked," Jacinda said. "I was baffled that over a million people had viewed my post. I believe some people loved it because they could relate."
But still, even in trying to promote a more diverse definition of beauty, Jacinda has gotten hate similar to that of Kye.
"Not everyone agreed with what I was putting out there and trying to shed light on," Jacinda said. "You still had disrespectful people calling my lips racial slurs, inappropriate names, telling me my insecurities about my lips are fake because now I love my lips now. Just in general people were making horrible assumptions about me."
Obviously, there's work to do. But in the face of all that, she remains resilient, and only hopes that more people understand that not only is the journey to loving yourself a long one, but a necessary one too.
"I hope they understand that self-love in general is a journey that takes patience," Jacinda said. "Because you start discovering yourself and uncovering these layers of hatred you had for yourself for so long time, and realize the thing you've been hating for awhile is the thing that turns out to be your missing puzzle piece to your self-worth. The biggest weapon you can use against those who feel obligated to comment something negative about you is your confidence. Because trust me, they find it intimidating finding someone not self-loathing and letting people's judgement not get to them."
You can hear more of what Jacinda has to say about her lips and her journey here: