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Shari-Ann Henry is a Jamaican activist, political enthusiast, research associate, writer, and the founder of Love Your Skin, Appreciate Your Melanin – an initiative created to encourage the love of black skin and discourage bleaching.
Early Life and Education
Shari-Ann Henry was born on the 4th of March in Kingston, Jamaica, to Ann Allen and Karl Henry. Her father, a correctional officer, and her mother, self-employed, raised Shari-Ann in the poverty-ridden community of Torrington Park. Despite the apparent hardship she faced growing up, Shari-Ann obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Social Policy and Development from the University of the West Indies Mona Campus and an MSc. in Development Statistics from the University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus. She has an Associate’s degree in Spanish, history, sociology, communication, and Caribbean studies from the Convent of Mercy Academy.
Her educational pursuits have also led her to become a Student-at-Law at the University of West Indies, Mona Campus. She is a recipient of the Burger King Scholarship and the Citizens Security and Justice Program Scholarship. The Caribbean integration program bursary and book grants from Scotia Bank Jamaica limited. Shari-Ann currently works as a Policy, Research, and Statistical Analyst at ROIC Limited, Jamaica.
As she is sometimes called, Shari Melanin was inspired to encourage Black women to love their skin following her own experiences bleaching her skin. Being a notable voice in Jamaica against skin bleaching, she speaks to young students on skin and body positivity issues. This campaign has earned her features in numerous publications, including Jamaica Observer.
Shari-Ann struggled with self-image and started to bleach her skin when she was only 11 years old. She said, “Growing up, I thought it was impossible to be black and still be considered beautiful. Bleaching was a staple in my house, so I started bleaching too, hating myself for being so dark. Bleaching was my way to fit in.” She didn’t stop bleaching her skin until the grade, and now as an adult, Shari-Ann is committed to spreading the message of self-love, self-acceptance, and self-worth. Currently, Shari-Ann is the National Treasure for the People’s National Party Youth Organization in Jamaica.