As a young, Black, female teacher, Valencia Clay is presumably hip to the influence she holds over her students in Baltimore, Maryland. In January, she used this sway to help a student shed insecurities stemming from colorism’s hold over the Black community.
In the above video, a young woman reveals her painful experiences with being deemed unattractive and feeling inferior to lighter-skinned peers.
“I thought light-skinned girls were prettier because I was always the Black, ugly girl,” the student said. “You can look at all the lighter-skinned complexions and everybody’s in love with them and their face.”
After fellow students collectively express bewilderment at their peer having been labeled “ugly,” Clay then instructs her students to “go in” with “10 seconds of compliments.”
The student is then showered with positive affirmations by peers as well as Clay. She’s complimented on everything from her smile to her vulnerability as she begins to tear up.
Afterwards, students needed no further instruction from Clay as they walked up to embrace her.