While I haven’t experienced motherhood myself, I’ve been able to vicariously live through women like my sister, best friend and favorite cousin’s honest journeys as mothers. Their joys, highs, and lows are true testaments to what it really means to carry a child and care for another human being. While their stories excite me, at times, about the reality of potentially being the mother to a future boy or girl, their personal testimonies of what it means to mother and care for Brown little boys and girls are beyond me.
In our world, Brown babies are ignored, pretty much like Brown adults. Their mothers aren’t praised and their fathers are deemed absent and uninterested. Media, beauty and the rest of the world always thinks of us last. So, when I heard of The Brown Crayon Project a few months ago, I was on edge with anticipation about what would come. An organic line dedicated to the care of Brown babies and their bodies tickled me.
That’s why Beautifully Brown is more than honored to have had the chance to chat with the founder, Selma Idris, an American-Sudanese mother who decided it was time that her beautiful babies had what they’ve deserved for so long.
Healthy, safe products catered specifically to them.
I really want to know what helped you determine that babies of color needed a signature organic hair and skincare line? Were there any striking factors that brought you to this realization?
Motherhood. The Brown Crayon Project is a result of my journey. My boys needed quality, effective, safe products that were made for them. The products I had access to for common issues like cradle cap worked but resulted in thirsty, sad hair. I couldn’t find the products I wanted and needed, so I decided to make them.
What is the signature difference between this line and mass-market baby hair and skincare lines?
Our products are designed for, tested on and speaking to children of color and their families. We address common issues safely and naturally while enhancing, not altering or neglecting the unique needs of our kids.
What differences did you realize brown babies needed and weren’t receiving as opposed to babies who are not of color?
Choices. There are simply not enough kinds of products made for us by us on the market. It’s difficult to mother the way you want to without the tools you need to do so. Within the ‘us’ we also have unique needs that fail to be addressed without a mixing pot, a grandmother and a YouTube video.
You once said that “With aisles of organic products across America, I couldn’t help but notice that the organic revolution was happening and my boys were not being considered.” Did you feel they weren’t being considered from a marketing standpoint, or from an ingredient standpoint that babies of color need?
Both. Motherhood is a shared but unique experience. Us moms (and dads) are looking for assurance that the products we use are made with concern for our children. We look for ingredients, seals, images and messaging that speaks to us and works for us. Since they started calling me Mom, more than ever before, I search for brands that are honest and I believe are nurturing for children like mine. From books to snacks to the experience of bath time, it’s all ultimately a part of their story. As a mom, I have chosen to include my children in their story.
We all see the racial injustices and tension happening in our country and communities. We also know that we’re sort of living in a #hashtag, social media society. What was your initial emotional reaction to the outpour of support, both financially and emotionally? (I saw that you exceeded your Kickstarter campaign goal, congrats!)
I don’t think the disbelief has worn off. It’s tough to believe love sometimes, like when your mom tells you that you’re awesome. She’s your mom. But through my journey since then, in communicating with my brothers and sisters that have contacted us from around the diaspora, I realized how many of us feel unseen. How absolutely necessary it is for us to make stuff and buy it from each other and how we need to begin nourishing ourselves to preserve our legacies and confirm our future.
What can future parents of color expect from your line of products and where will they be able to purchase them?
Parents of children can expect to be heard, seen and included in our journey as we develop more products for our children.
We launch our six-product, bath, skin and hair care line for babies and children Tuesday, September 13th online, and have plans to distribute through small shops that we believe are inline with our mission and messaging later this fall.
Beyond creating an actual product line, you speak a lot to the nurturing of brown babies and kids through cultural influences. I want to assume that The Brown Crayon Project is another way you hope to add to the cultural nourishment of our babies and kids. Is this correct?
Yes. We are committed to nurturing and nourishing the ego of children of the diaspora. This requires a commitment to excellence in product, path and messaging. We approach product development from the standpoint of health, helping to enhance, not alter, the beauty of our children.
Purchase product from The Brown Crayon Project now on their website.