Pretty Brown Girl History
In 2010, Sheri Crawley and her husband Corey, decided to relocate to her hometown of Detroit, Michigan to be closer to her mom who was unfortunately diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. In the fall, their oldest daughter, Laila, was enrolled in kindergarten, and the couple observed changes in her behavior. Laila lost her bubbly personality and became more withdrawn and timid during school hours. She began to make comments when she saw shampoo commercials on television that she wanted long blonde hair like that of her classmates, as opposed to her own beautifully textured hair.
Around the same time, Anderson Cooper on CNN 360 aired a four part series on research results of a Doll Test initially conducted in the 1940’s by Dr. Kenneth and Mamie Clark. This test greatly influenced the decision of Brown vs. Board of Education. It showed that when given a choice, children have a bias toward brown skin-tones. Around the same time, Sheri planned a birthday party for her youngest daughter Aliya, at a popular doll store. When given an opportunity, not one of the little girls, including Sheri’s daughters, chose a brown doll. Sheri was shocked and saddened with their decision and the fact that the only black doll available at that time was a freed slave named “Addie”.
More than ever, Sheri recognized the need to address the harmful messages about skin-tone and beauty in media. She was very concerned about the effects on girls who rarely see images of their own likeness depicted in a positive manner. Simultaneously, she began asking God how she could use her gifts and talents to empower others. It was her husband, Corey, that began using “Pretty Brown Girl” as a term of endearment for their daughters. Together, they decided to share this simple yet, powerful affirmation to encourage girls to be happy in their beautiful brown skin. The couple began by creating a product line for young ladies that carried the message “Pretty Brown Girl” which includes “Laila” an African-American doll modeled after their daughters, clothing and accessories. Soon after, a Pretty Brown Girl Movement was sparked and now the Pretty Brown Girl Movement has expanded to offer events and national programs for girls and young women.