Tiara Willis Profile picture
Apr 18, 2018 18 tweets 3 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
I had an interview with the Director of Communications in my school district for their newsletter. I always love doing interviews, but opening up about my school was a very personal experience for me
I always struggled in school. Not for academics, but mostly with identity & self esteem. I go to a majorly white school in a well-off neighborhood, and being one of the few black girls there was difficult emotionally
That middle school era is always awkward, but you don’t realize the difficulty of it fr a black student until you’re thrown against a stark white background. At a young age, I was forced to do a lot of soul searching in order to define who I was
Kids would make racist comments here & there. But I think the most impactful was the idea of black not being beautiful. The boys in my school always had a preference for white girls instead of black girls. They were called cute, while we were called ratchet, sassy & ghetto.
I kept striving for validation & acceptance that I was never going to get. The confidence I have now is from ME. I did that all by myself. By the time I got to high school, I was ready because the emotional anguish I endured prepared me.
When I pick up my brother from elementary school, there’s young black girls always running up to me to say hello. And I just cannot help but think about all of things they’re going through internally, because I was once them.
Now I’m a role model to young black girls, whether I want to be or not. But I know it’s a blessing to be an example for others, because I didn’t have one. If I had a black role model who told me that they understood and that they believe in me, it would’ve saved me from a lot.
During the interview with my school, I opened up about that. I really hope they include it in the article because I know there’s countless students right now going through the same thing. I hope someone learns from my story, because I wouldn’t wish what I went through on anyone.
I just wanted to share this with you all because I know plenty of black girls struggle with identity. I understand your pain, and you will get through it. You are beautiful, smart and you WILL succeed. & If you’ve been through it already, become a mentor to someone else.
I’m grateful now that through social media blackness is being embraced more. Having natural hair & dark skin wasn’t as celebrated as it is now. Deny it if you want, but there’s definitely been a shift.
Ages 8-13 I went through IT. I would always dread the race & diversity units in school because I was so ashamed of being black. I didn’t want people recognizing me for it.
You could’ve called me pretty, funny, smart — but don’t you dare call me black. I was constantly feeling isolated for my face, and despised anyone pointing out it’s significance.
I always thought that I was a cute girl, but I would look better if I wasn’t black. That is FALSE confidence. In order to love yourself fully, your blackness has to be included in the equation.
There are black girls who have their identity & esteem issues consume them. The problem can extend from school into the work field, from childhood to adulthood. I’m grateful to be of those who made it out, but it’s important to remember those who never did. Please help eachother.
Q: How old were you when you started loving being black? How many years ago was that? I think I was 13/14, I’m 16 now.
The Black Lives Matter movement on social media was what woke me up. I understood more what being black in America was really like, and how to still love myself for it. I hate that it had to happen that way.
We don’t all believe that we have #BlackGirlMagic, despite how much it’s promoted. Don’t let yourself create a façade of confidence, because plenty of black girls are still insecure. Become self aware for YOURSELF, not for a “trend.”

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More from @thetiarawillis

Jul 6, 2018
I ditched primer, I layer my moisturizer instead because that means I can use more powder. But if you want a long lasting matte primer, BECCA Ever Matte is great.
Instead of primer, I spray my face with setting spray for the summer. I recommend @UrbanDecay All Nighter, @MEHRONmakeupNYC Barrier Spray (intense theatre makeup) or @SKINDINAVIA Bridal Spray.
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If you already have a foundation that matches you, check out findation.com — You upload a foundation shade that matches you & it shows matches in other foundations!
When swatching foundations, pick 3 shades that seem closes to you. Swatch them, blend them out a tad, and see which one disappears into your skin.
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