Nineteen-Year-Old Jacinda Pender Encourages Black Youth to Love Their Big Lips.

Jacinda Pender

While lip fillers are all the rage among the white celebrity and “it” girl set, the feature wasn’t always prized — especially for black women and girls.

Georgia teen Jacinda Pender, who once struggled with loving her lips, encourages black girls to love their god given features via Instagram. One of Pender’s posts featuring a collage of her lips recently went viral.

“When you realize having big lips is a trend but it took you a while to love your natural ones.”

The post soon picked up over 120,000 likes and plenty of comments of support — as well as some detractors.

Pender updated the post with a message about how big lips are often viewed in society.

“this post was about me a black girl loving her natural features and being constantly reminded by my white peers as a child that they weren’t beautiful do you guys remember when MAC cosmetics featured a black woman with full natural lips (if you dont i do not mind linking you to the article) ppl in the comments were just disgusting calling her lips monkey lips and the n slur this is about black girls who are constantly reminded that they aren’t beautiful whether it be their natural kinky 4c hair or darkskin or big features its my job as a black person to remind black children growing up that they are beautiful and valid and worthy.”

Pender was referring to an image of model Aamito Lagum’s lips, posted by MAC Cosmetics’ official instagram back in February of 2016. The post was soon flooded with racist comments, prompting MAC to release a statement about the controversy.

Pender now has several posts on her Instagram page, each attracting a large number of likes and comments. Many young black women are also sharing their own stories.

“Funny thing is I also had the same type of bullying when I was in middle school and high school,” one woman wrote. “I’ve heard it all about my lips; people where cruel now… it’s a trend. I was also made fun of for being thick, now it’s considered sexy.”

While Pender was surprised at the amount of attention her post received, she understands how important her message is.

“Black children need to be surrounded and see representation on various types of black people when it comes to skin, hair type, appearance, etc. Not just one,” she said.