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The 24-year old South-Sudanese model, Nyakim Gatwech is embracing her melanin in all its richness at a time where the practice of skin brightening and use of lightening cream has become dangerously popular in her home country. She was recently dubbed “The Queen of Dark” because of her stunning black skin. In a time where women are using photo editing apps and software to manipulate their images and lighten their skin color, she has become an internet sensation and the color-postive inspiration for dark skinned girls everywhere.

Just last April, Gatwech was asked by an Uber driver if she was given $10k would she bleach her skin? Baffled by the remarks, she bursted out laughing and responded, “I was like hell to the f*king yeah that a no, why on earth would I ever bleach this beautiful melanin God bless with me. Than he said so you look at it as a blessing?” She posted the summary of the bizarre incident on her Instagram, praising South Sudan and the country’s rich beauty.

Gatwech reminds us that colorism is not a concept that solely exist in black culture, it is dominant in Indian, Arab, Asian, and Hispanic communities across the globe where women and men feel self conscious for being a couple of shades darker than their counterparts. She is proud of her rich complexion, as others should be, and is a voice that encourages all to embrace the skin we are in. In world eager to change and manipulate our appearances, Gatwech is the role model we need in 2017.

Image by Tolulope Bolaji Gangbo