This post is not going to be about suicide or mental health. I have read enough speculative pieces about Karyn Washington’s emotional state in the days following her passing and I do not wish to add to that canon. Instead, I want to remember how she lived and what a great impact she has had on so many of us.
Like many who knew and appreciated Karyn’s work, I first learned of her after she launched the “Dark Skin, Red Lip” project umbrellaed under her “For Brown Girls” blog to help combat colorist notions placed against dark-skinned Black women. I supported the project whole-heartedly, and in the ever growing family of Black women who make it their life’s mission to support and protect their sisters, I welcomed another relative. She and I exchanged a few tweets here and there where I vocalized my support for her. Karyn was kind, nurturing, and completely genuine in her love and fierce determination to uphold Black women.
A few years younger than me, Karyn inspired me. In the continual battle to have Black women’s humanity recognized, it is sadly fairly easy to throw in the towel a few times and seek refuge from the day-today tests laid before you. But every once in a while, something or someone comes along that encourages you to take on one more battle — one more fight. They rally everyone together to form a bigger picture than themselves, to see themselves as a collective working towards a greater good. That was what Karyn meant for me and so many others. (Read more here).