How Kheris Rogers Learned to Love Herself (and Broke the Internet While She Was at It)
10-year-old Kheris Rogers was constantly teased about her dark complexion throughout grade-school. According to her 22-year-old sister, Taylor, at the first elementary school she was enrolled in, Kheris was one of just four black girls in her class.
“She started to notice she was different,” Taylor told BuzzFeed News. “She would cry a lot, and talk about how she doesn’t like her skin tone.”
Some of that taunting came, it seemed, even from some of her teachers, who were a bit more subtle than the students in their insults. Kheris recounts one exercise during which her former teacher asked the students to draw themselves. The teacher gave her a midnight-black crayon with which to draw her self-portrait. “I’m not that dark,” she told the teacher. “I’m brown.”
When it was time for the shy young girl to enter the second grade, her mother decided to start fresh, enrolling her in a new school that was more racially diverse. While the bullying at that school was not as bad as it was at the first school, Kheris complained of still being verbally attacked about her skin tone- this time by other black students.
“A couple of girls at school would tease her about being skinny and about her skin tone, but it’s weird because it came from people who are black as well,” Taylor said.
Little did the Pollard girls know that things were about to change for the better very soon.
Kheris took part in a Wiz-inspired fashion show in March, which big sister Taylor helped her to get styled for. Excited by how stunning her little sister looked, she photographed her and posted the photos to Twitter with the caption “My sister is only 10, but already royalty. #FlexinInHerComplexion.”
The posts went viral, and an outpouring of positive comments about Kheris’s beauty followed.
Taylor didn’t stop there. On a roll to ensure that the world saw the beauty she saw in her sister, she shared a video of Kheris sashaying her way down the aisle at the fashion show. Twitter users went wild with admiration and compliments.
Taylor showed the positive comments to her little sister, whose face lit up in delight.
“She was obsessed with the comments,” Taylor said. “So many people’s comments gave her a positive outlook on her skin. It gave her reassurance.”
Kheris added, “I was overwhelmed. There were so many comments that they loved my skin and my hair.”
Taylor subsequently came up with the idea to help Kheris start her own Twitter account, which would be filled with stunning photos taken of her during photo shoots that the sisters set up themselves. The account, named @KherisPoppin, is closely monitored by both Kheris’ older sister and her mother, to ensure that no unwanted interactions occur between the budding star and her fans.
The Pollards hope that Kheris’ journey to self-love and her inspiring Twitter account will help other young black girls to learn to love themselves as they are.
“I told Kheris now that she has the attention she should use it as a positive outlet,” Taylor said. “I think it’s important to use the platform to positively influence other kids.”
By: Danielle Dixon
Follow her on Twitter: @tooprettydani