Ten-year-old Kheris Rogers was being mistreated at school. She was constantly bullied by both white and black students because of her darker skin tone. Even in an age group as young as elementary school, the young girl faced colorism from her own classmates.
In response, Rogers created a clothing line of shirts emblazoned with the words “Flexin’ In My Complexion” to fight back against racism and colorism. With her sister’s help, the middle schooler plans to expand the line further, and is already modeling for herself and getting exposure for her brand.
Rogers is a Los Angeles native and the daughter of Erika Pollard. Her 22-year-old sister, Taylor, serves as a role model and inspiration for her. Rogers is now in fifth grade, and while middle school is a difficult time for anyone, it has proven particularly difficult and painful for her. At one point, the bullying in school got so severe that her mother transferred her to a different school.
When asked about her experience, Rogers had some heartbreaking stories to tell. She told Mic, “I’ve been bullied a lot, like in the first grade, I went to school with just four other black kids.” This lack of diversity obviously created a sense of isolation, as there was a notable difference between her and the other children at school. Rogers’ self-confidence suffered. She continued, “And kids used to bully me because they weren’t used to my skin tone. There was an incident with a teacher and we had to draw ourselves and she gave us a black crayon instead of a brown crayon, and I was really upset.”
In an attempt to make her feel better, Rogers’ sister posted pictures of her on Twitter with the caption, “My sister is only 10, but already royalty.” She ended the post with the hashtag, “#FlexinInHerComplexion.” Since then, the tweet has gotten over 83,000 likes.
Rogers now has a large following on Instagram and a website. After creating her line, Rogers said, “I feel confident in [the shirt] myself, because even if I still get picked on because I’m darker, when I put on the T-shirt, it makes me feel bold.”
In another interview, her mother said, “Kheris really thought she was the only one going through this, but Kheris now realizes that this is a global issue. That’s what pushed Kheris, because she thought ‘If I’m feeling this way, then we want to help others who are feeling bad about themselves too.'”
Brown girls should never have to feel alone or ashamed of their natural color. Rogers has created an amazing message that fosters a community for girls like her to see that they are beautiful and strong in every way. The 10-year-old’s positive attitude and ability to make a bad situation lucrative is the sign of a true and powerful business woman.
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