sham_wowwww via Instagram

The sisters of the Beta Alpha chapter of Delta Sigma Theta found a unique way to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of their joining the sorority at Florida A&M University in the spring of 2007: a beach photo shoot dubbed “Melanin Illustrated,” designed to celebrate and honor black beauty.

The tight-knit group of 56 women, ranging in age from 29 to 35, took a three-day trip to Costa Rica, organized by LaToya Owens, who was one of the first members of the sorority’s chapter at FAMU, Yahoo! Style reports.

Owens told Yahoo! Style, “Being in a sisterhood means having a support system and someone always there to count on.

“We spent three days bonding and doing fun activities, and then we rented out a catamaran that took us to a private beach where we took the photos,” Owens added.

She said the women coordinated their look by wearing nude-colored bathing suits, with the aim of empowering one another and celebrating black beauty.


The sisters shared their photos on Instagram, using the hashtags #MelaninIllustrated and #TITEtakescostarica. The beautiful photos have since gone viral.

Owens said that black women are often overlooked in beauty, and the photo shoot was a way to shine a light on all types of black beauty.

“Our sorority is all about black excellence,” Owens said. “We want to serve as an example and [show] appreciation of black women. Our commitment is to scholarship and service, and this was to honor the sisterhood.”