Averting my eyes away from a boobslicious poster advertising $3,900 breast augmentation with the pitch MADE IN NY is a daily annoyance that comes with riding a particular New York subway train to my job every day. I mean, just, wow. The toxic pressures from print and onscreen to conform to a Barbie doll’s size dimensions are everywhere. If it’s confidence-rattling for my 40-year-old self, then I can only imagine the feelings of self-doubt a 13-year-old girl might experience looking at this silly ad while riding to school first thing in the morning.
Enter Elijah Bland, an R&B singer/keyboardist, former college basketball player and Hackensack, New Jersey native who’s created his own body image anti-terror campaign titled #LoveYourself. The campaign’s theme song? “Wash the Mirror #LoveYourself.”
Elijah’s explicit goal is to help counter the negative impact of body image distortion of women and girls by empowering them with his message of self-acceptance over the sound of warm Rhodes keys and a Questlove-influenced, slop-bucket beat. According to Elijah’s campaign, “six out of 10 girls are so concerned with the way they look that they actually opt out of participating fully in daily life, from going swimming and playing sports, to visiting the doctor, going to school or even offering their opinions.”
“Wash the Mirror #LoveYourself,” which Elijah has performed as a featured artist on Michael Baisden’s radio show, is super timely in lieu of the ever-multiplying number of visibly “enhanced” reality TV divas and pop stars who impact our global beauty standards. Yes, women’s bodies are ours to surgically alter at our own will. But honestly, it’s just plain refreshing to hear a record that’s not dissing chicks for being “mediocre,” but rather one (with a moving, fan-created video to match) that lovingly encourages women to find peace with our natural curves, shapes and hues.
To value and appreciate, in the words of the mighty Cee Lo Green, our “perfect imperfections,” go to Elijah’s website, elijahbland.com, to join his movement and visit him on Facebook and Twitter to voice your support for the #LoveYourself campaign.
Sun Singleton is a Northern Virginia-born singer/journalist based in New York City. Follow her on Twitter @sunsing.
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