This Instagram Model Is Changing Perspectives of Tribal Scars in Africa
Nigerian Adetutu Alabi has been teased her whole life for her markings — now she’s fighting back.
Nigerian face model Adetutu Alabi is using social media to create awareness around African tribal markings around the world.
Alabi has started the #TribalMarksChallenge on Instagram, calling on people to embrace their tribal markings.
The campaign initially started to gain the attention of Rihanna, helping Alabi become a model for the latest Fenty Beauty campaign.
Adetutu Ánìwurá Thanks D'mayo Photography @iamdmayo #santeria #adetutuepaz #baldierevolution #baldie #goldhair #mafian #femalehustler #mompreneur #tribalmarkings #tribalmarks #instamodel #models #statigram #instafashion #instafamous #fashionista #photography #artistsoninstagram #thebaldierevolution #thebaldiemovement
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But little did she know that she would create a movement that has inspired other young African women around the world to post their own images and feel confident in their own skin. (And she’s also now been followed on Instagram by Rihanna — so, win-win.)
Alabi believes that, as much as she must embrace her markings and be comfortable in her own skin, it is also just as important to ban facial scarring without permission — so women can make their own choices.
“It was very difficult growing up with tribal marks,” she told the Nerve Africa. “These days, I don’t pay the bullying any mind even though I still get insulted whenever I go out.”
Alabi has also opened up about how having tribal markings has affected her romantic relationships, further lowering her self-esteem.
“One of the reasons the father of my child absconded was because of my tribal marks,” she told the Guardian Nigeria. “He could not be with me in public and he only made us meet at night. I felt I was the ugliest girl in the world.”
“I got fed up with relationships because men didn’t always want to go out with me during the day; they would prefer to be with me at night,” she added.
Now, Alabi has said she can’t believe the outpouring of responses she’s received after posting her pictures online.
“There were so many encouraging comments and I almost doubted I was still in Nigeria,” she continued. “There were no mean comments or trolls. There was support even from other Africans.”
In Yoruba culture, tribal markings are symbol of beauty, and yet Alabi has been teased throughout her life for having the markings.
You see imperfection, I see absolute beauty😍😍 I did the extra, went out this way and noone gave me a weird look (was ready for anyone who would😁) felt super good😍 (that i didn't have to insult or give anyone my "bad eye"😁 trust me it's really bad😁) Some call me Ibadan girl, trust me tribal marks don't define me, you see scars, I see raw beauty 😍😍😍 @badgalriri @fentybeauty @adetutuo.j • #tribalmarkschallenge #adetutuojtribalmarkschallenge #tribalmarks #modelswithtribalmarks
Who said you can't be beautiful with Tribal_mark. I got so many compliments yesterday and this is supporting my able, strong and capable instructor all the way🙌🙌🙌 @adetutuoj @badgalriri @fentybeauty #Adetutuojtribalmarkschallenge #Tribalmarkschallenge #Adetutuoj #Modelwithtribalmarks #Fentybeauty #badgirlriri #donjazzy #blackgirl #Africa #Embracepeoplewithtribalmarks #Empowerwomen #Beautyforashes
It’s largely because of the perception of women in the media, which is rarely an accurate depiction of women in their day-to-day lives.
Women come in different shades, shapes, and sizes. But that’s not often the impression you get from reading magazines and newspapers, and watching TV and movies.
Alabi’s hashtag has helped in the communal efforts to raise awareness of something much bigger than tribal markings — she has helped people to realise that what others consider a flaw does not define beauty or character.
"I lavished in my wounds, what was meant to pull me down made me stronger" - ADETUTUOJ ......................................................................... MUA: LUCH MUSE: @adetutuo.j 📷: @d_cberg @ohisview STUDIO CREDIT: @ultim8official ........................................................................... @ndanitv @pulsenigeriatv @tvcnews_ng @ebonylifetv @punchnewspapers @guardianlifeng @thenationnewspaper @officialhiptv @tracenaija @badgalriri @donjazzy @instablog9ja @ogbetablog @bellanaijaonline @asoebibella @lindaikejiblog @fentybeauty @aduretvlive @tundeednut @nedu_wazobiafm @wazobiamax @54artistry @olorisupergal @genevievemagazine @vogue @voguemagazine @afrimag @thatgidigirl @gossipmillnaija @joroolumofin @naijabestmua @facemeetsart @tybello @malekfotofilms @canoncnafrica #makeupartist #makeupillustration #tribalmarkschallenge #adetutuojtribalmarkschallenge #fenty #badgirlriri #editorials #editorialillustration #editorialphotography #editorialmakeup #glow #melanin #modelcitizenmag #featureme #tribalmarks #selfacceptance
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