Teacher, Peers Make A Girl Who Felt Insecure About Dark Skin Feel Beautiful


A group of young Southwest Baltimore Charter students comforted one of their peers after she told them she never felt beautiful because of her dark skin.

In a now-viral Jan. 29 video, the eighth-grade student identified only as Janiyah said that she has always been told she wasn’t beautiful because of her complexion.

“I thought light-skinned girls were pretty because I was always the Black ugly girl,” Janiyah says in the short clip. “You can look at all the light-skinned complexions and everybody is in love with them and their face and everything. And it’s like dang, is it because I’m dark skinned I’m not pretty? I’m not. I always thought I wasn’t because that is what people told me.”

After her courageous confession, 9-year veteran teacher, Valencia Clay, jumped in and told the students to give Janiyah “10 seconds of compliments.” The young girl covered her face as her peers showered her with kind words about everything from her skin to her personality and smile.

At one point, Clay chimed in adding, “I love your voice. I love your brilliance. I love your creativity. I love when you sing. I love how caring you are.”

Clay told ABC News that the video was taken during a morning discussion on life skills. In the past, her students revealed that they have had trouble giving and receiving compliments. So now, Clay has encouraged her students to compliment one another and lift each other up.

“Like, [giving compliments] really does work and we have to uplift each other,” she told ABC News. “It was powerful.” Since the video’s release, Janiyah has taken it upon herself to “help other girls who used to feel like her.”

“She said, ‘Those comments were everything, Ms. Clay,'” Clay recalled. “I’m so grateful for everybody that took a moment out of the day to compliment [me].”

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