Yesha Callahan

RIP Karyn Washington: Founder of “For Brown Girls” & #DarkSkinRedLip Project


We are sad to report that Karyn Washington, founder of “For Brown Girls” (FBG) and the  #DarkSkinRedLip Project has passed away from an apparent suicide. Washington, from the Baltimore area, received kudos from so many black women after launching the #darkskinredlip project after rapper, A$AP Rocky, said red lips on dark girls don’t mix.

Thousands of women posted photos of themselves proudly rocking their red lips.

Washington’s mission behind FBG was to celebrate the beauty of dark skin while combating colorism and promoting self love! FBG was created to celebrate darker shades of brown- to encourage those struggling with accepting having a darker skin complexion to love and embrace the skin they are in.

A long-time friend of Washington’s wrote a heart-felt post for her:

When I look at you I see a reflection of myself and most certainly that is why this hurts so badly. From now on I’ll forever remember your big beautiful smile, your charm, ambition, professionalism, entrepreneurship, confidence, humility, your drive, and your beautiful Brown Skin. That is what I’ll choose to remember… because to be honest, I’m a bit angry with you. Indeed I’m being selfish, but my heart is devastated- yet, because I know a tad bit about what you were going through I can understand. I’m guilt tripping because I wish I could’ve been there for you a little bit more.  I’m so sorry, but I can’t help but to think that with just a little bit more time or a little less distance, proximity would’ve allowed me to make, maybe the slightest difference…. Forgive me!

Your MOTHER raised you so well. She’s been proud of you and I know she’s happy to have you by her side now. I’m so blessed to have met you and I’m so grateful that there is a God so merciful and graceful enough to supply us with what we need just when we need it- And so like I told you the last time we shared words, I love you, you’ve been in my prayers, and God is with you even in your darkest hour- and I’m most certain that He was last night. I’m glad you have found peace and happiness. You deserve it. God bless you, your family, and friends. You are Loved and Missed my beautiful brown girl extraordinaire! Thank you for being kind. Thank you for sharing your dream. Thank you for your courage and all the love you’ve poured out of your soul. Now you’ll receive divine restoration- 10 fold! (tears)

Although we didn’t personally know Washington, we stood behind her mission. May she rest in peace.

  1. April 11, 2014 - Reply

    I am so sorry to hear this news. I followed her project, #darkgirlredlip on instagram. May she rest in peace

  2. April 11, 2014 - Reply

    OMG!!!! Such a beautiful life gone! My week is ruined. Rest in Peace Karyn.

  3. April 11, 2014 - Reply

    So sorry to hear this, but there’s much to learn from it. We can empower others and still be fighting our own battles. May we continue to spread her message and the message of others to encourage, inspire, and empower to love ourselves and those we love. RIP Karyn Washington.

    • April 11, 2014 - Reply

      @Christin Webb

      beautifully said Christin

  4. April 11, 2014 - Reply

    so sad to read this. sad sad sad.

  5. April 11, 2014 - Reply

    Rest in peace. I hope that someone (or a group of people) will continue to promote her positive messages.

    We really need to have more frequent discussions surrounding some of the warning signs of suicide. I have heard of people speaking of “smiling depressions”, etc.

  6. April 11, 2014 - Reply

    So sad! If anyone knows of anyone thinking about suicide there is an organization whose sole mission is suicide prevention. Check out

  7. April 11, 2014 - Reply

    Oh my word. God bless this young woman. It is extremely saddening and unfortunate that suicide was her only recourse.

  8. April 11, 2014 - Reply

    This is terrible news! Suicide is never good, and that goes double for someone so young. I wish she had gotten some sort of intervention before her death.

  9. April 11, 2014 - Reply

    The number to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1.800.273.TALK (8255). It’s free, anonymous, and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

  10. April 11, 2014 - Reply

    That will be a difficult and touchy discussion to have with a young girl.

  11. April 11, 2014 - Reply

    She was beautiful. Whatever it was it probably wasn’t related to her looks sometimes depression is based on other things in our lives

  12. April 11, 2014 - Reply

    Thank you for this Clutch. For all of us who knew her personally, this is a beautiful send-off that she would have loved.

  13. April 11, 2014 - Reply

    So sad and heartbreaking. RIP Karyn, you will be missed.

  14. April 11, 2014 - Reply

    That’s so sad. I’ll be thinking about her friends and family.

  15. April 11, 2014 - Reply

    I am devastated by this. I admired this young lady so much for her honesty and the ability to show Black women that we should love ourselves no matter our skin color. My heart is broken……..

  16. April 12, 2014 - Reply

    Beautiful Angel in Heaven . Forever love you RIP

  17. April 12, 2014 - Reply

    Sorry, and praying for her family, sorry she had so much sorrow within just as I have learned of her and her work. Sorry you had to take route peace and love

  18. April 12, 2014 - Reply

    No matter who or what we do in life im proud to say she is a Brown Girl r.i.p

  19. April 12, 2014 - Reply

    ENCOURAGERS NEED TO BE ENCOURAGED! There are many people who encourage, uplift and inspire us daily, but are we taking just 30 seconds to reach BACK and say, “you really encouraged me today, I hope to do the same for you?” Do we ever say “how is your day” and take the time to listen for a response with a view to HELPING?

    I appreciate the suicide post information, but the problem in most cases is that we don’t know if someone is suicidal. Some people are vocal about it, others are not. Especially in the black culture, people are taught to keep those thoughts to themselves, otherwise people will think they are crazy.

  20. April 12, 2014 - Reply

    Should I feel bad? I don’t. She was selfish and ignorant enough to let the ideals and opinions of others affect her.

    • April 12, 2014 - Reply


      That’s a bit presumptuous since you don’t know what mental health issues she may have been suffering from. Sometimes I find it hard to understand why someone would commit suicide but I remind myself that it’s a complicated issue and that we will never truly know what is going through someone else’s head.

    • April 12, 2014 - Reply


      Damn. That’s just inhumane and lacking compassion. You mighta kept that to yourself.

  21. April 12, 2014 - Reply

    It is important for us as a community to shed light on mental health. In her attempt to encourage and uplift other beautiful brown women and girls she too was fighting an intense battle. As a public health prevention strategist and adolescents life skills expert, my observation is mental health issues are complex in nature and stem from a lack of homeostasis. We must go back to the basics and support one another in obtaining complete balance in our everyday lives. Let us use this opportunity to lend a hand to our fellow sisters and brothers. To my dear Karyn, may your beautiful soul rest in perfect peace.

  22. April 15, 2014 - Reply

    Such a lovely young woman. May she rest in peace.

  23. July 3, 2014 - Reply

    […] and women published memorial posts that you can find Here and Here and from media outlets The Root, Clutch Online, For Harriet blog, Black Media Scoop, Black Youth Project  and Classy Black […]

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