I like to speak daily affirmations when I’m fresh out the shower, butt naked, dancing around to either old Ghanaian music or gospel. That’s when I feel the most myself. That’s when the words seep right through my pores into my soul and become a part of me. “You are amazing”, “I am unique, interesting and enchanting”, “I am a prize”. I also like to admire my dark brown skin complexion whilst dancing around in the mirror. I admire how much history it holds, the trials and tribulations that have been passed down through generations, the triumphs, its beauty and power. No matter what, I wake up feeling blessed to be coated in this complexion, and so proud to be the woman I am today.

Getting here was never, ever easy though. Even today, it’s a constant fight to fully love and appreciate all my unique qualities! But there is beauty in the transitions of the different levels of love I unlock for myself. Self-Pity to me is basic. I’m not saying you’re not allowed to hurt, be down or defeated at any point of your life. Those are valid emotions that one can’t avoid. But we have the power to allow our experiences to mould us into greater beings or break us down. And I always gravitate towards being great.

During my childhood, I was bullied a lot for being one of the darkest in the school. I always felt ashamed to walk past groups of the black schoolboys at bus stops because they always had something to say which left me feeling diminished. They were always so silly and creative with the insults, too, “OI she’s blacker than the bottom of my air force 1”, “yo she’s burnt like toast”… the list goes on and on. The black girls in school weren’t any better, which is something I’ll never understand. I can’t forget how a group of particular girls went out of their way to literally corner me EVERY SINGLE playtime to insult the texture of my hair, my skin tone, my lil overbite, (excuse you?? I looked like a cute chocolate little bunny looking back on pictures from that time). It’s those kind of words that pierced through my young mind and led me to bleaching creams that I knew nothing about, in attempts to erase my complexion. This became like a ritual. When coating my skin with the products, I would say things like “yes, now no one will be able to mess with me again” “oh I will look more like… (light skinned friends name) everyone likes her, so I guess everything will be okay when my skin changes”.

I was made to feel like it was unacceptable to look the way I did, and it made me way more susceptible to the negative effects of a young girl not seeing women my complexion being plastered all over front covers of magazines, and all over TV! I genuinely had it in my head that, in order for me to achieve the heights of my desired success, or to even be accepted, I can’t look lighter than I was!

I couldn’t tell you when things clicked, but something changed drastically! I’ve grown to see the light that shines brightly from within me. Maybe that’s what those girls saw and they wanted to dim it down. People are weird, they be doing that shit, so watch out! It must have been me becoming more of a prayerful person and developing an amazing relationship with God, but WOW, all the scars from that time he has carefully stitched up and healed me through the pain, and I’ve drawn nothing but determination, power and fire from that era of my life and the dust uncovers my eyes daily to see, it was all part of the greater plan.

I am a musician, and I am a messenger! Almost like a hood prophet, I am not perfect but God calls the unqualified to do his works on this earth and I feel like my rise will be an inspiration and an example to many. If I could leave you with one message it would be – love the shit out of yourself. Your life depends on it! You don’t know how your path could change so many other people’s lives if you own it and walk it right! Fall in love with taking care of yourself, your soul, your inner thoughts. Fall in love with becoming the best version of yourself, only the yesterday version of you should be your competition. Have patience, respect and passion for your own journey! Keep your eyes on the many prizes life has to offer us and just focus, ’cause the world really is our oyster. You can be whatever is it you dream; limitations are as fake as the people that put them on you! DO DAT SHIT*

Love Bree

Bree Runway’s debut EP ‘Be Runway’ out 16th August