Danielle Padgett wants one thing to be made clear. Black, the color synonymous with words like dirty, dingy, depressing, and disastrous, is beautiful.However, Padgett’s crusade is not simply about a color or a word. It is about black students across schools along the East Coast joining in on a movement and knowing that what they are, black, is beautiful. Padgett, 19, a second-year business marketing student from Dallas, is the chairman for a new campaign she created entitled “Black is Beautiful: HBCU Edition.”Padgett said the campaign, which is not affiliated with Proctor and Gamble’s “My Black Is Beautiful,” is “for the empowerment of African-American women who are in college.”“We tackle some of the major problems that plague the African-American female race which relate to physical, financial, education, mental, and outside relationships,” said Padgett.She said she decided to create the campaign after getting to college and seeing students change themselves to be in the most popular scene. “As I kept trying so hard to fit in I realized that I had forgotten who I was, which is a geeky chick [that] loved to take pictures and be a leader instead of a follower,” said Padgett.It was then that she decided to create a campaign to allow girls to appreciate who they are and to encourage them to make a difference in the community.The women have an online magazine along with 15 spokesmodels, community service projects, mentoring programs, self-esteem building projects and updates via web-cast. Marissa A. Huckaby, 19, a second-year pre-professional cardiopulmonary science student from Tallahassee, is secretary for “Black is Beautiful: HBCU Edition.”Huckaby said she joined the campaign because she is about uplifting
and empowering not only the black community, but specifically black women.Antoinyce E. Eaton, 19, a second-year accounting student from Raleigh, N.C., serves as financial advisor for the campaign. “Black to me is the epitome of greatness and the purest form of beauty,” said Eaton. “Black is a representation of boldness, an unashamed reality and appreciation for culture, heritage, rhythm, and style.”According to Eaton, black must be revitalized and reinvented in today’s era.When asked whom she would like to see in the campaign, Eaton said, “I would like to see all black women attending HBCUs as a part of the program. The “Black is Beautiful HBCU Edition” campaign is about empowering women.”Monique L. Mussio, 19, a second-year business administration student from Tampa, is volunteer coordinator for Black is Beautiful: HBCU Edition. “Honestly, I can see “Black is Beautiful HBCU Edition” going nationwide in the future. This is something that many people need in their lives. They need a sense of hope,” said Mussio.“In the end, I know that black is beautiful due to the fact that everything from my hair to my feet, from my mind to my heartbeat, that everything about me has a story, a beautiful story.” To find out more information about “Black is Beautiful: HBCU Edition” visit www.beautifulhbcu.com. You can also follow at twitter.com/BeautifulHBCU.