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From the time D. Marie’s daughter J. Marie was three “From the Kinks in Her Curls to the Beat in Her Step” was a conversation the mother and daughter had repetitively. It stemmed from J. Marie questioning her own dark complexion comparing it to other people she admired. D. Marie immediately began to teach her daughter to love herself and accept her appearance as God created her.
D. Marie as an educator, saw first-hand the negative effects of other’s opinions and comments on young girls of color and their self-esteem. With this concept in mind, D. Marie authored her book with the above title. Her mission was to help girls become confident with their appearance celebrating their skin complexion, hair type and body type.
D. Marie Walters did not think she would be an author. She is an educator in the Rochester City School District with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in Teacher Leadership.
D. Marie shares:
“At the age of three, my daughter who is of a dark brown complexion, questioned her skin tone. People would complement her by saying, “She pretty for a dark-skin girl” and “You’re a pretty chocolate girl”. At the age of three, she knew chocolate as something that she eats, not her skin. That was just the beginning, Jalynn began to admire the images of her favorite television stars, who she considered pretty. These characters didn’t reflect her image. She then wanted her skin lighter, and her hair longer. At that point, I knew I had to teach my daughter to love herself the way God has created her. I did this by telling her: “There isn’t anything wrong with her hair or skin, and embrace her beauty”.
Self-image is very important to young girls, we all want to look and feel pretty. I learned though my book writing experience there are many young girls, who don’t believe they are pretty because no one tells them their beautiful. It’s because they have short hair, or some girls believe that they are defined by their clothes. In school uniforms, their ugly and in their street clothes they are pretty. I really couldn’t believe that this is the mentality of our young girls. With knowing this, I now have become a positive role-model for young girls. With writing this book, I want all young girls to believe that they are pretty and to believe in themselves. Jalynn has also become a positive impact for girls, as well. At different events, young girls look at Jalynn, glance at the book cover, then look at Jalynn again and say, “She’s so pretty”. I think for children to see someone that looks like them on a cover of a book is amazing to them and they want to know how she got on the cover. During this journey, Jalynn has also started giving complements to other girls. I love to see that”.
This journey for the ladies is an enlightening one. D. Marie reflects, her father as being an influential man in her life. By instilling lessons such as the significance in goal-setting, coupled with determination, this provided the foundation of how D. Marie lives her life and making her successful. Losing her father six years ago, when he was such an important factor in her growth and as a person was a very difficult time.
D. Marie kept it real with Rochester Woman as we embarked on a discussion of race and the implementation of societal norms. She pointed out: “I believe the idea of dark is ugly, is something the black community developed years ago and it has become a social norm. We have developed the idea light skin and long, straight hair, are pretty. What I think will happen to change this, is women must continue to embrace their beauty and stand against the stereotypes. You have more brown-skinned girls and women, who are proud of their skin. More women are becoming natural, using no make-up or chemical-based hair products, accepting their kinks and curls.
Despite the insensitive comments of others or the images depicted on television, I pray the readers will continue to be confident in the choices that they make. I want them to always believe that they are beautiful no matter what anyone thinks or says. I want them to remember, that they are not defined by the clothes they wear, the length of their hair, or the complexion of your skin. They are all beautiful, love yourself”.
J. Marie also spoke to us and reflected about the journey she took with her Mom writing this book and how life changed after the book was published.
“I feel it’s amazing. I think it’s amazing because I read a lot of books, but I didn’t know the author. The author of this book is my mommy! It makes me happy. I think this book is going to help young girls. I helped my mom with the dialog and the names of the characters. I also helped her come up with new ideas. The main character Jalynn and I have shared some of the same experiences. We both didn’t love our skin and our mothers helped us to love the way God has created us. Writing this book has changed my life because It has helped me get over my insecurity. My life has been different within the last two months.
I was interviewed on a few radio stations, I have attended many events as a vendor selling the book and t-shirts. I autograph books and meet new people. I’ve been asked by kids , “Am I famous?” because they see my face on the cover of the book. We have been very busy”!
J. Marie indicates her Mom is her inspiration to do her best. She instilled the life-long lesson beauty comes from within. J. Marie knows she is beautiful no matter what people say. She appreciates her mother for writing this book and showing her how to become a leader setting goals in life. Rochester Woman is inspired by the journey this up-and-coming author and her daughter have shared to reach out and help others to find their worth and self-esteem in this cold, unaccepting society we live in. We love the message to women of all kind, “You are Beautiful! No matter what anyone else says! From the Kinks of Your Curls to the Bounce in Your Step!