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Where Black Beauty Is Celebrated Online

Ashley Weatherford | NY Mag   in 
February 3, 2016

Shawanna Davis was trying to fight tears. On the phone from L.A., she recalled a comment from a follower who said she was barely holding on after a bad breakup. “When you actually talk to someone who is sobbing and she doesn’t know what she can do, what her next move is in life, and she wants to hear your voice to calm her down, it changes everything. That’s when I realized it wasn’t about me anymore.” Davis isn’t a therapist, a celebrity, or even a spiritual leader. She curates @BeBeautifulLA, the Instagram account that’s unapologetically redefining what it means to be black and beautiful.

Right now there are nearly 8,500 photos under @BeBeautifulLA. A young girl with an afro, smiling; Naomi Campbell on the cover of Vogue Portugal; Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas; a naked woman with her back to the camera, stretch marks and rolls of flesh in full view. It’s easy to tell that each image is selected with an artist’s eye. Most of the photos are editorials sourced from magazines, or they’re scooped from photographers who capture black women in all of our varied states: whimsical, stoical, fragile, and passionate.

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