We are shocked to report that Karyn Washington, 22, the beautiful creator of the uplifting website, ForBrownGirls.com has died, due to an apparent suicide. Karyen created the site as an “inspiration destination” where Black women with darker skin could go and feel beautiful. She also sparked the hashtag #DarkSkinRedLipProject after A$AP Rocky boldly stated that dark-skin women shouldn’t wear red lipstick. This was a place where thousands of dark skin women posted stunning photos of themselves in red lipstick to dispel that wicked myth.
It’s being reported that Karyn struggled with mental illness and depression and despite giving all the love in her heart to others, she wasn’t able to give that same love to herself. Yes, Black women are strong, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t need help, or a shoulder to cry on every once in a while.
It’s breaking my heart to report this because one would think that someone like Karyn, a woman who lived her life to uplift others, had it all together. Or was at least happy. But her suicide is evidence that there was something missing. At just 22-year-old, Karyn’s short life is a sad testament to the increasing trend of suicide. According to the CDC’s latest fact sheet on suicide, “The prevalence of suicidal thoughts, suicide planning and suicide attempts is significantly higher among young adults aged 18-29 years than among adults aged ≥30 years.”
Karyn’s haunting words from ForBrownGirls.com are heartbreaking, as her vision has always been to empower:
“As humans, regardless of color, age, socio-economic status, gender, and other characteristics, we MUST build each other up rather than tear each other down in order to change the world and create a better place for our children and future generations. As women, it is imperative as well as our duty to love ourselves unconditionally, smile and laugh often, and NEVER allow ANYONE to steal our joy.”
Who stole Karyn’s joy? Black suicide has historically low numbers when compared to other groups, however between 1981-1994, the Black suicide rate grew a staggering 83 percent. Today suicide is the third leading cause of death among young African-American men. In 2010, over 80 percent of all Black suicides were males. Women (no matter the ethnicity) attempt suicide at a higher rate than men, yet men complete the task at a higher rate. Black women are less likely than any other American demographic to commit suicide. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. We suffer. It just doesn’t always look like it.
A close friend of Washington’s, LiaLia wrote a heartfelt blog, mourning her friend. And in it, she mentioned that she knew a “tad bit” about what Karyn was going through and wished that she could have been there for her.
LiaLia offered the following:
I remember I’d cover my mouth when i laughed. I had just gotten braces and I wasn’t quite comfortable yet. I was the epitome of an awkward little black girl. You told me I could be your brace face buddy. I think that was the first time if ever heard the term “brace face” !!! Lol & it certainly wasn’t the last either. We’d talk a lot about school and other silly stuff that probably didn’t matter much, but you gave me so much comfort. Now that I think about it, that amazes me. We were only in middle school and there you were inspiring me and teaching me to love my brown self in the most subtle ways. It is no surprise that you would go on to do such amazing things. May “For Brown Girls” (FBG) continue to thrive. That will forever be your brand, your movement, and your legacy! You’re amazing and even at such the young and tender age of 22 you’ve touched the lives of many all over the world. You inspire me and so many other people so much more than you could’ve ever imagined. I wish you could’ve seen the true magnitude of that.
When I look at you I see a reflection of myself and most certainly that is why this hurts so badly. From now on I’ll forever remember your big beautiful smile, your charm, ambition, professionalism, entrepreneurship, confidence, humility, your drive, and your beautiful Brown Skin. That is what I’ll choose to remember… because to be honest, I’m a bit angry with you. Indeed I’m being selfish, but my heart is devastated- yet, because I know a tad bit about what you were going through I can understand. I’m guilt tripping because I wish I could’ve been there for you a little bit more. I’m so sorry, but I can’t help but to think that with just a little bit more time or a little less distance, proximity would’ve allowed me to make, maybe the slightest difference…. Forgive me!
No other details have been given around Karyn’s death, but I will keep my eyes on this story. And what a sad story it is. I sincerely hope that someone picks up where Karyn left off and continues uplifting Black women on her sites ForBrownGirls.com and DarkSinRedLip.com. RIP Karyn Washington.
About For Brown Girls:
FBG was created to celebrate the beauty of dark skin while combatting colorism and promoting self love! FBG was created to celebrate darker shades of brown- to encourage those struggling with accepting having a darker skin complexion to love and embrace the skin they are in. However, women of all shades may take away from FBG the universal and essential message of self love and acceptance.
Check Out This Gallery Of Things That Will Lift Your Spirits:
1. 1. Play With A Puppy
It's no secret that people with pets live longer. Petting a puppy increases blood levels of the brain chemicals serotonin and oxytocin, which are both mood elevators.
2. 2. Get Less Sleep
Usually, we're told to get more sleep, but science proves that if we get less, depression lifts! Although researchers aren’t sure why it works, they speculate that one night of sleep deprivation may reset the sleep clock, enabling people who are depressed to sleep better.
3. 3. Play Peekaboo With A Kitten
As an admitted cat hater, even I can't deny the power of an adorable kitty!
4. 4. Become A Drummer
Drumming relieves stress and even allows for your aggression to be expressed in a healthy way. While it may be helpful to bang out a few notes at your desk, joining a drumming circle could be as therapeutic as, well...therapy!
5. 5. Walk It Out
Taking a walk is often used to relieve stress, but little do you know, fresh air does wonders for the brain. It energizes and uplifts!
6. 6. Smile
Turn that frown, upside down! We all know it takes more muscles in your face to frown than it does to smile. Research proves that the physiology of smiling actually makes you happy. Go ahead. Try to smile and see if notice a change in your mood.
7. 7. Feed Your Face
A dip in your blood sugar can effect your mood in a negative way. What causes your blood sugar to dip? Not eating! So make sure you get in your three square meals plus snacks, everyday! Make sure you're looking for foods rich in Omega-3 fats., as these foods have been shown to lift moods and can possibly alleviate depression. Omega-3 fats are found in oily fish like salmon or sardines, canola and olive oils, as well as flaxseeds and walnuts.
8. 8. Listen To Music
Music has a way of creating a cocoon of positivity around you. Tune out and tune into some of your favorite songs. Get lost in the melody, lyrics and soothing tunes and you'll feel better in no time.
9. 9. Volunteer
Taking yourself out of the picture and focusing on helping someone else keeps your own stress down to a minimum. Nine times out of 10, you realize that people have it worse than you, and that allows you to put your own troubles into perspective. It could always be worse.
10. 10. Get You Some
Recently a 100-year-old woman expressed that for her very special birthday, she wanted to get her some, you-know-what. But here's the thing, sex does wonders for your mood and evidently it's the fountain of youth too!
11. 11. Laugh A Little
Nothing says good mood like a healthy and hearty laugh! Making sure giggles are inserted into your day is a bonafide way of just letting it go.
12. 12. Get A Massage
By adding therapeutic massage to your routine now, you'll feel, look and simply be healthier. In fact, stress relief alone can improve your vitality and state of mind.
13. 13. Take A Deep Breath
When you're feeling frantic, you should stop, close your eyes and refocus your breathing pattern. Shift your breathing and take longer breaths. This will soothe your nerves, send oxygen to your brain and refresh your mind.
14. 14. Press Your Palms
In case you can't afford massages, give yourself one! Start with your hands, focusing on pressing the thumb from your opposite hand on the fleshiest part of your palm and firmly kneading in tiny circles and repeat.
15. 15. Let Them Eat Chocolate
Chocolate causes euphoria. No, really. The sweet treat contains alkaloids and magnesium, copper and other minerals that regulate and stabilize brain chemistry.
16. 16. Beautify Your Surroundings
Nothing says happy like looking around and catching all the beauty that's around you. Taking pride in your personal space and keeping it beautiful, makes your mood beautiful. And if that fails, surround yourself with Idris Elba.
17. 17. Stretch
Stretching a few times throughout the day stand up stretch out your arms, your back, your legs, and your neck. Be gentle and don’t over do it. Stretching should feel great and renew your energy.