In front of a panel of judges and family members, Alyssa Barber and Dontasia Pollard click PowerPoint slides showing before and after photos of model Blac Chyna and rapper Lil’ Kim, both of whom have cosmetically lightened their skin.
“They are big influencers in the black community,” says Barber. “So when they got their skin lightened, it was promoting that lighter skin was better.”
“So how do we get women who are insecure about their complexion to become confident in their complexion?” asks Pollard.
Barber and Pollard, who attend East High School, are delivering a Shark Tank-style pitch on a business idea they developed in a 10-week program run by the CEOs of Tomorrow. These Teens Mean Busines$ Incubator culminates with an event where students present their business ideas and sell their products in a pop-up market.
The African American teens’ idea, Confidence in Complexion, markets table-top mirrors with decoration supplies like rhinestones, ribbons and markers. The mission of their business is to combat colorism, which, as Barber defines it, is “discrimination and prejudice against darker skin women within the same group.”