Karyn Washington inspired black women around the world to embrace the beauty of their blackness with the creation of her “For Brown Girls”(FBG) site and the #DarkSkinRedLip Project. Her legacy is being remembered far too soon. Reports confirm that Karyn Wahington has passed away at the young age of 22 from an apparent suicide.
The Baltimore native and Morgan State University student was a visionary advocate for black women and girls. “I would like for ‘FBG’ to be a catalyst for change encouraging self-love and instilling pride in one’s skin complexion. The movement’s goal will be for new generations of darker skinned girls to not even have one thought of wishing to be lighter, to never doubt their beauty. My hope is for this “issue” to eventually be nonexistent but it does start with us. I’m also hoping I can do my part and make a change to where, darker skinned girls know they are beautiful no matter what anyone says, “ Karyn said in a 2012 interview with Madame Noire.
According to the CDC’s latest fact sheet on suicide, “The prevalence of suicidal thoughts, suicide planning, and suicide attempts is significantly higher among young adults aged 18-29 years than among adults aged ≥30 years.”
Although suicide is one of the few health risks African Americans are not disproportionately in the lead, it does happen in our community. More importantly, it IS happening. We have to talk about it and prevent the loss of precious black lives.
Things You Can Do:
- Help remove the stigma and myths that suicide contradicts gender and cultural expectations: Religious stigma of suicide as the “unforgivable sin”; African American men are “hard” and do not take their own lives; African American women are always strong and resilient and never crack under pressure
- Remove stigma associated with seeking and receiving mental health treatment
- Know that “tired” is a word black people often use to express hopelessness, depression
- Recognize warning signs and help a friend or family member get professional help
EDITOR’S UPDATE: A close sisterfriend to Karyn Washington, Yumnah, recently released a video to honor and celebrate her life and legacy. In the video, Yumnah also addresses the many hurtful negative speculations and comments surrounding Karyn’s death.
“She was very comfortable in her skin and there were people that speculated and assumed that she was in this place because she wasn’t comfortable with her skin complexion or she had self-esteem issues and that really is a hundred percent false,” Yumnah shares.
Karyn was grieving the loss of her mother, who died from a battle with cancer. As someone who lost my mother only a couple of short years ago, I understand the pain can be all too unbearable.
BlackDoctor.org continues to keep Karyn and her family, friends and the women and girls she inspired in our prayers.
Watch Yumnah’s very touching video below and share.
Visit the BlackDoctor.org Mental Health center for more information.