Photo credits: Kheris Rogers/Instagram
An elementary school girl who was harassed and picked on for being dark-skinned at her previous school launched a t-shirt brand that encourages confidence.
Kheris Rodgers (pictured), 10, is the founder of a business and clothing brand called “Flexin In My Complexion.” Kheris has an older sister named Taylor who provided her with the initial inspiration and ability to develop this idea by styling and dressing her up in a fashion show after she was feeling down about getting bullied at school.
Taylor then posted pictures of her younger sister dressed in the clothes she wore at the fashion show on Twitter. “My sister is only 10, but already royalty #FlexinInMyComplexion,” Taylor wrote in a caption for a photo. This picture of Kheris was quickly retweeted over 30,000 times.
Kheris told BuzzFeed News in an exclusive interview that the bullying she endured at a school her mother took her out of came from not just other students but teachers too. She talked about a time when her former teacher gave an assignment for all the students to draw themselves. The teacher gave Kheris a black crayon for this assignment.
“I’m not that dark. I’m brown,” Kheris says she told her former teacher.
Kheris is learning very early and very effectively that the best revenge is not to stoop to the level to your detractors or tormentors by treating them the way they’ve treated you. The best way to get back at those who do you wrong or try to discourage you is to succeed.
Unfortunately, the problem of dark-skinned black children and adults being chastised over their complexion is still a major problem today. What is more shameful about this so-called “colorism” problem is that black people are often frowned upon by members of their own race due to their complexion.
This form of intraracial damnation is often attributed to what American historians call the “Willie Lynch Syndrome.” This was a doctrine instilled in colonial-era slave owners in America by a British plantation master who lived in the West Indies. One of the facets of this doctrine was to pit black slaves against each other based on their skin complexions.
The infamous “Willie Lynch Letter” instructed colonial-era slave owners to refrain from using physical brutality to control slaves. The letter suggested bitterly dividing the black slave population so they would become less unified and easier to control.
“I guarantee everyone of you that if [the Willie Lynch tactics are] installed correctly it will control the slaves for at least 300 hundred years,” the letter reads.
To support the 10-year-old clothier phenom Kheris Rodgers, visit her website here.