Kheris Rogers, the 12 year old creator of Flexin’ In My Complexion found her inspiration from incidents of bullying she was the subject of. Although she was heavily teased for her darker skin tone Kheris decided to start a clothing brand that mixed empowerment with her passion for fashion and design.
Kheris and her older sister Taylor have managed the clothing brand which has gotten attention from major celebrities such as Lupita Nyong’o, Snoop Dogg, and Alicia Keys. Kheris has about 201K followers on Instagram and her brand wear saying “Flexin’ in My Complexion” has become widespread amongst her followers. So far she has sold about 10,000 items and participated in New York Fashion Week.
The widespread nature of Kheris’ clothing brand and phrase is in a sense connected to the Keywords essay Popular. In this Keywords essay Julie A. S. Cassidy, highlights the contrasting nature of “popular” versus “classic” literature. Traditionally, popular was seen as less worthy than classic; however, now popular can be associated with positive ties between the object and its audience. In this case, Kheris’ story of using her bullying experiences to champion a phrase that empowers others is seen. Kheris is experiencing a “widespread appreciation for and love of the object” that resonates with her audience. Although popular literature often is questioned as to whether it contains merit, we do not see the same idea in Kheris work. Her brand is used to empower and bring awareness to young black children who face issues of colorism, racism, and not feeling beautiful in a society where whiteness or lighter skin is the standard of beauty. Kheris brand popularity while widespread still speaks to a larger important message for many.
The notion of Kheris being bullied for her dark skin also ties to themes in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. We see in the Afterword the notion of young black girls being enticed or wanting white features in the hope that it would make their life somewhat better. In the case of Kheris, she is rebelling against the idea that her darker skin is somehow bad or ugly in comparison to lighter skin. Instead, she is calling on other darker skinned individuals to feel comfortable in their complexions as they too are beautiful.