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10 year-old bullied for being dark-skinned becomes GirlBoss

PRECIOUS PEARL: Entrepreneur and model Kheris Rogers (image credit: CreativeSoul Photography)

YOUNG KHERIS Rogers left her LA school after being targeted by other children who attacked her on the basis that they thought she was 'too dark' and has since turned her hand to fashion design and modelling; counting Alicia Keys among her global supporters.

Whilst 'shadism' or 'colourism' has long been an issue within black communities all over the world, beginning with a deliberate planting of the seeds of black self-hate by white supremacists, colonisers and slave owners. Many would argue that overt racism and misguided black self-deprecation has diminished greatly since Jim Crow days, 10-year-old Rogers' experience demonstrates that, worryingly, young generations growing-up in seemingly multi-racial, egalitarian societies are not immune to the effects of these embedded issues.

Grammy-winning Keys noticed model Rogers, who has launched a fashion line, which centres around tops with the slogan 'Flexin' In My Complexion' emblazoned across the front. Keys posted an image of Rogers on Instagram with the following caption:

“I love this beautiful girl @kherispoppin and I love her mission! Keep shining.”

However, the start of the young role model's notoriety began after her sister, Taylor Pollard Tweeted images of Rogers captioned with “My sister is only 10, but already royalty,” which was Liked more than 83,000 times.

A LITTLE PRINCESS: Kheris Rogers during a photoshoot for The Little Revolution magazine (image credit: CreativeSoul Photography)

The Voice spoke with Rogers about her experiences:

Q: Congratulations for having the strength to overcome the senseless bullying you went through at such a young age. Have you witnessed anyone else at your old school or perhaps someone you know go through the same type of attacks that you experienced, based on their complexion?

A: Hi! Thank you so much. Yes, I have witnessed others getting bullied. Some of my friends at school were being bullied for their complexion as well. I learned that this is called colourism and there is history behind it.

Q: Was there a particular moment that inspired you to start your t-shirt brand or was it a gradual process?

A: When I first spoke out about my bullying experiences in school, there were many people that reached out to me to share their personal stories of how they had similar experiences. This motivated me to turn Flexin' In My Complexion into a brand because I wanted to inspire others to love their skin.

AMBASSADOR: Kheris Rogers donning one of her t-shirts (image credit: Twitter/@KherisPoppin)

Q: Share with us a typical day in the life of Kheris as you balance school, your business and other commitments:

A: A typical day in the life of Kheris: I wake up early to go to school. When I come home, I work on my homework. After I finish my homework, I help package Flexin' In My Complexion orders. Once a week, however, I do go tutoring for school and also piano lessons. After I finish all of my work, I spend the rest of the night dancing until it is time to go to bed.

Q: You're getting a lot of buzz online which is great. How do you stay safe online and protect yourself from people who might even recognise you on the street?

A: I would never share with anyone my personal information such as where I live or what school I go to. When I am in public places such as the mall, there are people that recognise me. But, usually they just want to say hi or take a picture which is so cool to me.

Q: Do you think there's a difference between how it feels to be on the receiving end of racism from non-black people and 'shadism' from other members of the black community? If so, could you tell us more about those feelings?

A: When the hate comes from people in your own race, it feels more personal. It also is confusing because everyone knows that black comes in so many different shades so I do not understand why people would prefer one shade more than another.

For more information on Flexin' In My Complexion, click here.

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