Fatou often describes herself as a hidden and shy individual with the potential to do more. This stems from the vast environmental change she experienced as a young girl. Fatou was not only introduced to a new country but to a new language. English would not only be new but the dominant language in her life. She faced many fears but the toughest was not being understood.
“It’s as if I feared my own shadow.”
Fatou was different.
“People always seemed to point things out. You’re so dark, you’re so dark! A phase I was well accustomed to,” A beautiful dark brown girl with thick-curly black hair, different from the other English or west-indie girls. Her difference made her standout and constantly compared to others. “Why don’t you straighten your hair?’’ they’d ask her.
High school started off rough with bullying, teasing and the usual teen pressures. Although Fatou went to an all-girls school, she stood out as a not-so favorable option for boys.
“Boys were always vocal about their preference for a light skin girl. ‘tits & ass’ but not black. That’s still the same general idea, even now.”
“I have to get my priorities straight.”
An ideology which changed her mindset forever. She decided thereafter, she had to be strong. Fatou found a group of friends, all different, beautiful and amazing. She invested in friendships of real value. The strength and bond of this friendship all through high school and into college helped her push through numerous difficulties in life. But Fatou faced an inner conflict.
“Constantly being told what to do and what not to do by the wrong people affected my image”
This realization encouraged her to build herself up, embrace & illuminate positivity and strength. She challenged herself and organized a photoshoot inviting a community of women to participate.
Fatou produced images of strength, vibrant colors and energy. Characters she wanted to see in herself and in her community. These images inspired the amazing Instagram feed that Fatou has today. I was drawn to the positive energy and strength which she resonates. To know that this was not always the case in her life, means that she is human. But to discover that she is truly the personality she depicts gives me courage and hope.