The Pretty Brown Girl Movement

The Pretty Brown Girl Movement

Co-founder Sheri Crawley shares her journey to finding her purpose in uplifting little brown girls all over the world

Melanie Yvette

by Melanie Yvette, February 22, 2013

The Pretty Brown Girl Movement

in something bigger than yourself.

SC: Yes, it is. We’ve been from the Black Caucus to national conventions to the Alpha Kappa Alpha events to African-American festivals. The response has just been overwhelming. Last year was our first year of our "National Pretty Brown Girl Day," and so this February, we’re calling it "International Pretty Brown Girl Day." We’ve had so much support from other countries. We’re also launching our Pretty Brown Girl Club. We have a curriculum that we’ve developed. Our after-school program is starting up in January in a school in Boston. It’s amazing that in our community, there are only a few programs that are based for girls of color.

EBONY: When did you know that the Pretty Brown Girl Movement was having an impact?

SC: One day we were watching television and I asked my girls about their classmates. I remember Laila was trying to tell me about a girl in her class I couldn’t remember, and she finally responded with, “You know Mommy, the pretty brown girl!” Our movement is now impacting how she’s seeing and describing girls of color.

EBONY: How did the process impact your life?

SC: We went from living on Michigan Avenue to “Let’s sell off the cars, let’s get a two-bedroom apartment.” Our kids went from private to public school. We went through all of that. But we said we’re going do this. That’s how I knew it was from God, because none of it should have happened in the real world. First of all, we had no experience in any of this, and we had absolutely no finances to be able to get it done. But it didn’t matter because every piece of it came together through prayer, and people and opportunity that presented itself. That continued to tell us this was supposed to happen.

EBONY: What’s the biggest obstacle with being a new organization?

SC: We’re so grateful that in such a short period of time it has been able to reach as far as it has. And we’re just getting started. But I’m not able to sit and be still. I’m always running around like, “Okay, what are we going to do now?” But when I do sit and reflect, I am so grateful for being able to have.

EBONY: What’s the cutest thing a "pretty brown girl" has said to you and your husband about the dolls?

SC: Not too long ago, we had a little 11-year-old girl from Brooklyn leave us a voice message. This is what she said: “This is Aaliyah Alexander and I am calling in regards to the Pretty Brown Girl Club. I would like to know two things: number one, how much does it cost? And number two, how can this help me?” It was hilarious. I kept listening to it over and over again. It wasn’t even her mother calling; she got her 11-year-old self up and telephoned to say, “How are you helping me?” 

EBONY: Where do you hope to see Pretty Brown Girl in the future?

SC: My vision for the next five to 10 years is that we will become an institution...I can also see an ongoing afterschool program created as well. The model that we have is very much keeping people with the clubs. A church can start a club. A mom can start a club. The club is a way for others to be able to kind of franchise out in their own community. I want it to be that any little girl can be a part of it, wherever she is. We just need to increase our awareness and let these girls bond with each other and celebrate their beautiful shades of brown skin.

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