Alongside a picture of Hussain presenting her hands to the camera, she wrote:
I was responding to an ad in the paper, back in the day when we looked for jobs in the paper… there was an ad for a hand model needed to model jewellery. I called. Made an appointment. No previous experience required. I had hands, I needed the money, so figured it was a no brainer! It was a sure thing, I was counting my pennies before I had even got the gig... walked in on the day.
The room went quiet, the room filled with white faces and white hands. The receptionist stumbled. I sat down while she called someone in. I was met by a women who came and greeted me. I figured it was my turn to show off my hands.
She said: 'I'm sorry I didn't know you were black'
'Yes, right but the ad wanted hands, I have hands'
'Black hands don't sell jewellery'. That was her response. The blood rushed to my face. I was so embarrassed, I was now a deep shade of burgundy. I never really thought about my hands, till the colour of the skin that covered them stopped me from getting a job. When you are a teenager, already a little lost, words like this stick.
Hussain then recounted how even now, in her thirties, she still wonders if people are “disgusted” by her brown hands.
But she finishes on a hopeful note, alongside a second picture of her using her hands to give the middle finger.
“But as you can see from my second picture, you know how I feel about it now,” Hussain concluded.
I use my hands with pride and allow them to grace cookbooks and cookery shows, to hold my children's hands and stroke their little faces, to cook, to feed... to hold! I have since worked with Swarovski with these very hands, worn their jewellery with pride!
When I worked with them they never knew the anxiety I felt at the thought of showcasing my hands, but I did it anyway! We need to start representing with our voices, with our eyes, with our thoughts, with our hearts and with our hands!
I am taking ownership back with my hands.
Hussain’s post struck a chord across social media platforms.
“This is so beautiful. And thank you for being in the spotlight, for all the POC. We appreciate and love your work, hands, feet, smile, the works!” wrote one Instagram commenter.