(TIML NEWS) Five young women broke the Internet when they shared photos of themselves at the beach recently. Their monochromatic swimsuits set against the seascape background went viral on Twitter, receiving more than 105,000 likes and 33,000 retweets
Raejeen Walker, 19, Nija Imani, 22, Arianna Morris, 19, Chantal Tharrington, 26, and Khali Brewer, 18, collaborated with aspiring photographer Ly’Kerria Richardson and makeup artist Anasia Blueford for the photo shoot.
Imani says, “Rae decided it would be a great idea to get a group of females together to do a shoot that empowered women of color,” she says. “A shoot that showed us being comfortable in our own skin and embracing one another. So that’s just what we did.”
The women are overwhelmed with the attention their photos have received. “I had no idea that our pictures would actually reach as far as they did,” Imani says. “It felt so unreal — I was so amazed, yet humbled. I was most thankful to have had the opportunity to share our message with thousands. It was truly a remarkable experience.”
Morris, another of the participants, agrees. She tells Yahoo Style that the group of friends hopes to inspire others to embrace their beauty regardless of color. “I feel like we are getting a message across for young black women to love their skin color and not be ashamed. Black girls are beautiful — black girls are smart and they rock,” she says.
Walker shared a behind-the-scenes video from the New Jersey beach where they held the shoot.
Brewer says she is happy the photos have gotten so much attention. “People often told me ‘You’re pretty for a black girl’ as if being black is ugly,” Brewer says. “This photo shoot truly shows the beauty of being an African-American woman.”
And the Twitterverse is praising the women for their beauty.