I was browsing through social media and I was saddened to see viral videos of little black girls as young as 4 years old crying because they are battling insecurities with their looks, skin color, and afro hair.
As I watched the videos of these girls, I was reminded of the memories of my own experiences and the experiences of my fellow black female friends growing up and how we felt. I realised it is the same narrative, just a different year and something must change.
Growing up as a young dark skin girl I lacked confidence and self-esteem and it held me back for many years, I didn’t have the confidence or belief to live my life to its full potential.
As an adult, I was fortunate enough to have very supportive family and friends, good positive black women around me. Social media was also great for showing me pages dedicated to black women, encouraging them to love their hair and skin, etc. It helped me develop a strong black identity and I worked hard to overcome insecurities and barriers that previously held me back.
If a child slips through the cracks and hasn’t developed a strong black identity or self-worth from age eight, this can carry on throughout their life. It can often take years even decades if ever to develop self-worth as a black woman.
I wanted to make it my mission to ensure black girls are encouraged to feel loved, have self-confidence and self-esteem so they can reach their full potential from a young age. I want them to be able to freely express their needs and become the best version of themselves.
That’s when I came up with the idea of The Melanin Magic Club. I wanted to create a brand that will have a lasting impact and a positive effect.
I understood the challenges and difficulties of creating a successful long-term business and brand, so I sought advice and guidance from a team of creatives and entrepreneurs to develop what we have today.
It was very important for us to come up with a product that is fun and allows children to be creative and free because studies show racism and bias deny black girls of their childhood.
The Black Girl Story
A government study found that 24% of girls are clinically depressed by the time they turn 14, compared to 9% of boys. When you add barriers of race on top of gender, you can imagine the amount of pressure our young black girls are facing.
In their first year’s young black girls face barriers and prejudice that relate to both gender and race. This can have a lasting effect on their success, achievements and outcomes in life.
Adolescent black girls have the pressures of growing up with a lack of representation and are often victims of adultification (which means they are viewed as older and less innocent because of long-standing black female stereotypes that date back to slavery). They have to carry the weight of unfair stereotypes as well as facing hair discrimination and institutional racism in the education system.
“Many Black girls grow up feeling ugly, inferior, and unwanted. It’s not uncommon to feel shame about our dark skin tones or our coily locs which look nothing like the straight, silky European-textured hair we see in the media” (Representation for Black Women Is More Than a Request, It’s a Necessity, 2020)
Celebrity Rochelle Humes, openly shared on her Instagram how heartbroken she was when her daughter, Alaia first started school and told her she didn’t like her natural, tight curly hair because she didn’t look like a princess.
Ruby Williams from London was told her hair breached school policy, she was sent home from school several times because she was told her natural afro was too distracting. Ruby developed signs of depression and felt anxious about going to school because of this. These are just some of the many cases.
The Science Behind It
When it comes to child development, between the ages of 0-8 are the programming years. Our children will spend most of their time in the Alpha and Theta brainwave cycles. In the Alpha brainwave cycle around the ages of 5-8 children start to interpret and draw conclusions from their environment. That’s why our gift sets are targeted for girls in this age group. After the child has passed 8 years old, their thoughts and feelings about how they interpret themselves and their environment become hardwired.
As they grow older it can become increasingly challenging to change the negative beliefs they developed during the ages of 0-8. Although building self-esteem is an ongoing process, it is crucial we start building it from young. This is when we will have the most influence. By allowing black girls to have access to tools and materials that positively develop their self-esteem, self-worth, and identity we can shape the way they interpret what is around them and help fuel positive emotions and feelings. It will help them grow into confident young adults that are more secure and happy with a growth mindset.
When young children of other races are not exposed to diversity in toys, television, entertainment and education they can grow up with a lack of understanding about race and could end up adopting racist attitudes. Numerous scientific studies have shown that young children can see racial differences in people and can show racial biases at ages as young as 4.
Our dream is to build self-esteem in our children by utilising powerful black children's characters and normalising them. We plan that one day we will be at a point where it is natural for all children to embrace diversity.
By starting the learning process young and helping children understand diversity, we hope that division and lack of understanding about movements revolving around black lives will no longer be a problem.
What is the Melanin Magic Club?
The Melanin Magic Club will have an array of activity gift sets, toys, and branded items for both fun and learning. They are designed to empower black girls and cultivate their self-esteem, self-worth, and self-identity for ages 4-9. The idea is that they can be used as a bonding tool between parent and child as well as activities the child can do by themselves.
The Melanin Magic Club is here to help diversify kids learning and play, with the goal that all children from all races will find joy and education from our brand.
Within the Melanin Magic Club are the Melanin Magic Kids. Think Peppa pig, think Paw Patrol. The five melanated characters all have special gifts and qualities that reflect on the ideas of self-identity that children can relate to. The Melanin Magic kids will be the animations and storyline that runs through all of our products.
The Gift Sets
Our 1st gift set will include a bespoke activity book based on the main character Esi The Elephant. It will include crosswords, word searches, affirmations, a gratitude journal, colouring pages, and other fun activities. The Melanin Magic Club brand and Melanin Magic Kids will specifically encourage children to love brown skin, African hairstyles, and features.
The 1st gift set will also include a Melanin Magic branded notebook, a pen, and colouring pencils to encourage them to express themselves creatively, whether it will be through drawings or words.
They will also receive a free vision board with instructions, designed to help the girls attract what they want in their lives.
Each item in the gift set will be available to purchase individually as well as other toys, activities, and games.
Meet the Melanin Magic Kids (5 Characters):
- Esi the elephant
Esi the elephant is special because she has 5 magical gifts and all the other kids have 3. This makes her the most powerful.
1. She has a special inner voice
2. She is full of love
3. She has visions
4. She is a leader
5. She can fly
- Goma the Goat
What makes Goma so magical?
3. Good at sports
- Baya the Butterfly
What makes Baya so magical?
2. She is beautiful
3. Good at business
- Lozza the Lemur
What makes Lozza the lemur so magical?
3. Singing and dancing
- Atay the Ant
What makes Atay the ant so magical?
The vision is to create a household name within children’s learning and play that consists of black animated characters.
Although we are starting off specifically with girl’s gift sets. This will soon develop and cater to our young boys. We want to create a movement. The Melanin Magic Club will be a home, a family, a safe place, and a community.
How would this look?
We would have workshops situated in different locations around the country that have activities specially formulated to highlight self-love and purpose.
When our young children come home troubled with complaints about their skin, hair, or looks, The Melanin Magic Club will be a place they can find support, love, and encouragement.
We will also have Esi The Elephant and Melanin Magic Kids themed parties.
Where will the money go?
One of the main things we wanted to ensure is that we are not making the gift sets for the sake of it and under deliver with what's inside. Our aim is to compete, in terms of brand identity with the likes of Peppa pig. Therefore, all of the gift items will be branded. All our activity books will be bespoke.
The money will be used to source quality branded items allowing us to launch at scale and to create a significant cultural impact.
We will use the money to develop our website and content for social media.
We will utilise modern-day marketing techniques and establish an influencer marketing campaign that will help develop familiarity and large-scale awareness. As well as influencer marketing we will of course engage in a traditional digital ad campaign.