(8/24/2014) Carefree Black Girl: The Life And Death Of Karyn Washington
The 22-year-old old creator of the For Brown Girls blog and the #DarkSkinRedLip project epitomized the Tumblr-popularized image of a Carefree Black Girl. After news of her suicide spread this spring, many were left asking: How could a woman whose mission was to uplift others take her own life?
In the preceding days, a grid of photos of a young black woman rippled across the web. The woman, wearing a black tank top, smiled in various poses on a white background. Her hair was piled high atop her head in a mass of braids and everything about her seemed to glow. Her name was Karyn Washington. She was stunning, she was slim, and, at 22, she had just committed suicide.
I hadn’t heard of Karyn before then, but I quickly wished I had. She was the founder of For Brown Girls and, later, the #DarkSkinRedLip Project, online movements for black women that fought against colorism — discrimination based on how dark the particular shade of one’s skin is…
Karyn was found in her car with a plastic bag over her head — tubing running underneath — and a helium tank, at 5:38 p.m. on a residential road 10 miles north of Baltimore. Five minutes later, she was pronounced dead. The police didn’t find a note…
At the end of the ceremony, Shalea Moser, a childhood friend, steps up to the podium… She begins singing what was No. 1 on a playlist Karyn posted on For Brown Girls: India Arie’s “I Am Light.”
I’m not the mistakes that I have made
Or any of the things that caused me pain
I am not the pieces of the dream I left behind
I am light
I am light