*Grammy award winning singer, Erica Campbell, took time out to chat with EURweb along with her mother Thomasina Atkins.
Campbell and her mother, are partnering with companies such as P&G’s My Black is Beautiful (MBIB), Olay, Pantene and COVERGIRL to celebrate African-American beauty during Black History month. Both ladies shared what the beauty process was like living in a household full of girls as well as what their black beauty means to them.
Q: What was the beauty process like raising a house full of daughters?
Mrs. Atkins: Well at first it was little challenging because we had one bathroom and sometimes it was difficult when you sometimes wanted to or needed to get in. So we had to take turns and it ended up being OK. We worked it out. They all learned that they had to take care of themselves and their face, and the rest. It was pretty cool. We just worked it out, we had to take turns to make sure we worked with the time.
Q: Was there any specific beauty products you couldn’t live without growing up?
Campbell: Umm… No not really. I think you know when you’re growing up and you’re financially challenged, whatever Momma had is what everybody used. Fortunately for us, she used the good stuff. So we just would use what she used which was a lot of OLAY products and her hair stuff, her combs. I don’t think she was that happy about having 6 or 7 girls. She was always missing a comb, a brush, and rollers. But it was fun; the sharing that was. I think she didn’t realize that it was sharing back then. Even now when my sisters’ come over to my house, the sharing still happens.
Q: Whose beauty did you admire growing up?
Campbell: My aunts in the church. They were very beautiful. I looked up to them. As well as my older cousins. The type of blushes they used or what they wore. I wanted to be like them. I’m very happy that my examples were in my own family. I didn’t have to really have look outside or far for examples of beauty, strength, and confidence; because they were all around me.
Q: How have products such as Olay, Pantene & Covergirl aided you growing up as well as raising your daughters?
Ms. Atkins: It aided me in my beauty. Actually I really like it. It goes on smooth. I was able to show my kids something that they could look forward to using as they get older. They didn’t use it when they were younger; But as they got older, they we’re able to go to a product that’s worth going to. I always wanted them to look good, so I offered what I had to them and that’s what it was.
Q: How do you feel about black women embracing their natural beauty?
Campbell: I think it’s so important for us to embrace our natural beauty. It’s funny, it was recently valentines weekend, and my husband definitely preferred me with no makeup. Not necessarily my preference; But I dont have to wear extensions, a wig, and makeup. I let my daughters see that so they’re comfortable. So that don’t feel like every time I’m pretty, I have to add a hundred things to myself to make me better than what I am. I think that speaks volumes when we teach younger women those kind of messages. There’s beauty in natural skin and hair. I think we should promote those messages while there’s nothing wrong with the extensions and other things that we do.
Q: How do the both of you define your black beauty?
Campbell: it’s based in our faith!
Mrs. Atkins: Exactly! We believe in the scriptures that let us know that we can do all things. You can be beautiful, you can be successful, you can be prosperous, and you can be creative as a black woman. All we have to do it allow God to guide us in that direction. He want us to prosper and be good in health; So hey, a part of being healthy means taking care of your body and taking care of your skin. I’m glad I am able to have a product that aids me in that. I want all of the black women and young women to know, you are somebody, you are special! Don’t ever let anyone make you feel that way. Look the best you can because first impression is the most lasted impression. Look as well as you can, talk the best you can, and live a good life.
Q: Switching up, before we close, what was your take on Beyoncé’s performance from the Super Bowl as well as song “Formation?”
Campbell: From an entertainers perspective, she was fabulous as she always is. I don’t think it’s ever a bad idea to acknowledge and celebrate our heritage and the Black Panthers are very much apart of that. We also live in a world where many entertainers, who are mainstream, wear the confederate flag which is also a point of conflict in our country. So I don’t think we can vilify Beyoncé for being creative (and) at the same time letting her message scream loud that she’s comfortable in her black skin. I think it’s fine. I know people have different opinions and different views. This is America. So we’re free to express what we want. Don’t tell her that she can’t express what she wants! There are other things that people express and we live with that. She’s free to say and express her art the way she wants. The fact that she has women with Afros that are brownskin, curvy, voluptuous, I think that celebrates the diversity we have in this country. You can’t tell me that there’s anything wrong with that. Now if you get into the message and what she’s exactly saying, at this point it’s speculation. Take it for entertainment because that’s what it is. She didn’t say this was a historical piece. She’s a creative woman. She’s very smart and aware of what’s happening in our country with the Black Lives Matter movement and I think she wanted to be apart of the conversation. It was great. It was brilliant.