Angelina Darrisaw '09 felt odd seeing herself on national TV and finding her face featured in prominent magazines like Essence, Ebony and O!. But the unsettling feelings have been worth the reward because, as an ambassador for "My Black is Beautiful" (MBIB), Darrisaw has the privilege of helping black women like herself feel confident and beautiful in their own skin.
MBIB is a media campaign and online community launched by Proctor & Gamble aimed at helping black women empower and encourage one another.
As one of six winners of a national competition for selection as an MBIB representative, Darrisaw is appearing in MBIB promotional advertisements and speaking at MBIB events, empowering other black women to tell their stories. "This is a proud moment for me, and a unique opportunity to touch the lives of black women on a national level," Darrisaw said. "It's also an opportunity to develop my own confidence and communication skills."
Darrisaw and the other ambassadors began reaching out to the community through commercials aired during the BET Awards show in late June, and by appearing in advertisements in the September and October issues of Essence, Ebony and O!.
Darrisaw said that MBIB helps fill the pressing need for black female role models in the mainstream media. "Right now, there are limited positive images of black women in the media," she said. "Black women need to see positive reflections of themselves in order to increase their self-esteem and foster love for themselves."
She continued, "MBIB provides a place for black women to see affirming images of others who look like them, and to hear advice on how to be their most beautiful."
As a senior manager of digital business development for Viacom, Darrisaw also is strongly interested in tackling the underrepresentation of black women in the corporate world. "I'm passionate about diversifying the traditionally white male leadership in corporate America," said Darrisaw. "I want to encourage black girls and women to push themselves in their careers, despite their doubts or past circumstances they may have faced," she said.
Darrisaw said her experiences at Davidson helped prepare her for this prominent role. "Davidson gave me room to explore all facets of my identity in a safe setting," she said. "I was able to express many passions – running for a short while on the track team, learning about different cultures through studying abroad and sharing my own culture across campus as a charter member of AKA (Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority)."
Darrisaw added that Davidson offered challenges for a black woman that shaped who she is today. "It wasn't always easy being a part of a small minority population on campus," she said. "But I felt encouraged by my peers and faculty to freely share my values and engage others."
She said the support she's currently receiving from her fellow alums for her MBIB role doesn't hurt, either. "I am backed by a very dependable network of fellow Wildcats. My Davidson family has been incredibly supportive!"