Melanin: What Makes Black People Black “Black people must know thyself and to know yourself is to know melanin” ~Dr. Llaila O Afrika

by Kathleen Richardson of Melanin Rich Wellness

The general consensus is that there is only one race, the human race. That essentially, we are all the same. Race is deemed to be a social construct used to create division and the illusion of inequality. But the truth is, we are NOT the same. There is a biological and physiological difference in the races. And that difference is melanin. As a black person, you are different. You are a special, unique, and powerful being unlike any other racial group on this planet. It is imperative that Black people know the basics about melanin and how to nourish melanin. This will sustain the physical, mental, and spiritual health necessary to generate the change so desperately needed in our lives and communities. 

What is Melanin?

Dr. Llaila Afrika explains that melanin is the, “biochemical substance that drives physical, mental, emotional and spiritual life”. Melanin is an organic dark carbon chemical substance that is present in every cell, tissue, organ, and system in the body. Melanin is present in our skin, eyes, muscles, nerves, digestive and reproductive systems. Melanin is found in the environment, lakes, soil, plants, the atmosphere, and animals. Melanin regulates all bodily functions, cycles, circadian rhythms, and glands in the body. Melanin is the driving force of all life. The pineal gland located in the middle of the brain is responsible for the secretion of melanin. The Pineal Gland is the master gland, not the Pituitary gland. Shaneequewa Samuels explains that the pineal gland is the “principal seat of our soul, and the place in which all our thoughts are formed”. 

All races have melanin, but Black people have the highest concentration of melanin out of all the races. Black people have 12 melanin centers in the brain, while our white counterparts only have 2 melanin centers in the brain. Our white counterparts also have 60-80% pineal gland calcification (the inability to secrete melanin). Melanin is most readily visible in our skin, eyes, and hair.  Melanin is, as Dr. Afrika states “What makes Black people Black”.

Melanin is how we were able to build the pyramids, establish prosperous civilizations, create the disciplines of medicine, astrology, mathematics, and engineering. Melanin is the reason we survived the Middle Passage and chattel slavery. Melanin is how this country was built; with the blood, sweat, tears and power of our ancestors. Melanin is the reason Ossie Davis says, “I find, in being black, a thing of beauty: a joy; a strength; a secret cup of gladness.” Melanin is our power, our intelligence, our ingenuity, and our strength. 

How to Nourish Melanin

When Black people nourish their melanin properly, they are able to heal themselves in half the time as melanin recessive people. When black people nourish their melanin properly, they are more productive, have more mental clarity, improved cognitive function, better health, and an overall improved outlook on life. There are three primary ways to nourish melanin:

•Sunlight •Intermittent fasting •Avoid Tap Water

The pineal gland’s ability to secrete melanin is sunlight dependent. The more sunlight exposure, the more melanin is secreted. Black people need 2 hours of sun, at least 4 times a week. Those with less melanin only need 15 minutes of sun, 3 times a week.  

Intermittent fasting allows the body to remove toxins from the body and self-heal. An amazing process called autophagy occurs where the body will recycle defective and diseased parts of cells and proteins and regeneration and healing occurs. This only occurs during fasting. Intermittent fasting also allows for more pineal gland activation to occur. Ideally, we should only eat during the hours of 12pm and 7pm.

The fluoride in tap water causes the pineal gland to calcify which prevents the secretion of melanin. Drink bottled water or purchase a water filter that specifically removes fluoride.

As Black people we must understand that we are not the same. We cannot eat, think, or live our lives in a way that dishonors who we are. We are a melanin dominant race and we need to live our lives with the knowledge and understanding of the role melanin plays in our lives. We must sever ties with Western modern medicine, the Standard American Diet, and Eurocentric ways of thinking and living that diminish and negate the power of melanin in our lives. 

To learn more about melanin, I would suggest the following books that are easy and informative reads:

Melanin: What Makes Black People Black by Dr. Llaila O. Afrika

We Are Not the Same by Shaneequea Samuels

Kathleen is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, Vaginal Steam Facilitator and Yin Yoga Instructor. She is owner of Melanin Rich Wellness Inc., whose mission is to optimize the physical, mental, and spiritual health of the Black community using African Holistic Health, Intermittent Fasting and Black Radicalism. To learn more, visit