My daughter has chosen to wear her beautiful afro in the last year proudly, and I couldn’t be more happier as her mom to see her love her natural hair in all it’s glory. We’ve came a long way in sharing together in growing her confidence in walking in self-acceptance in owning who she is in interests, style, and and beauty. There aren’t many depictions of gorgeous mocha girls with short afros plastered to show little girls who resemble her in saying “Hey, little cutie you’re pretty.” I admire that she doesn’t look at embracing her natural hair as a rebel thing to fit in any subgroup of beauty standards, and she feels personally assured in who she is in her quiet nature in not taking it as a bold step, but she handles wearing her lovey fro pleased simply in being herself.
Different Times Different Fros
I wished I was as confident as my daughter when I was her age in embracing my identical short afro as a little girl. I can say to my defense that it wasn’t a natural hair movement telling little black girls that their hair was nothing to hide in shame. I was made to feel like my hair was a burden for my mother and beautician due to it’s coarseness and length in being complicated to style. My school friends and I at the playground all wanted to look like the girls on the Just For Me relaxer boxes. The options for little black girls with short kinky hair in the 80’s and 90’s were braid extensions, relaxers, or the infamous Jerri Curl. Man, the chemicals from the Jerri Curl burned my eyes if caught on a raining day! The relaxers would burn my tender scalp as a child in my beautician keeping the chemical straightener on my hair passed it’s processing time to make sure my kinks would lay down smooth. I did my best as a mom in not wanting my eldest daughter to experience the trauma of bad chemical burns to her scalp from relaxers, the unnatural greasy Jerri Curl look her mom had, and the confusion of thinking her hair was something to be ashamed of in being in it’s natural state with negative comments.
Big Steps & Baby Steps
My daughter has worn many styles throughout the years like her mom. I begin to wear my natural hair consistently when I became a mother: I made sure to wear my natural hair more after giving birth to three daughters. I wear my hair in various styles, but I prefer to wear hairstyles in natural textures in knowing the importance of representation for my daughters to see. My daughter will switch things up occasionally, yet she will tell me quick when I want to style her hair in a protective style with extensions sometimes,” Mama, I want to wear my fro.” I oblige her independence in showing her how to properly maintain her natural hair with care tips, neat 4C TWA styles to wear, and products that work well with her hair texture with out harmful chemicals. The prominence of the natural hair movement in media and advertisements allowed little girls like my daughter to see pretty women who looked like her in all shades with hair like hers in addition to seeing her mom wear her natural tresses at home. My daughters see celebrities like Lupita Nyong’o, Viola Davis, Danai Gurira, and more who are have rich chocolate skin tones represent in media wearing their short natural hair on the red carpets of Hollywood. Her grandmothers and her aunts on both maternal and paternal sides wear their hair natural. My daughters is unaware that she is a silent role model to her younger twin sisters who watch her in the mirror picking out her fro in styling it wanting to be just like their big sister. I pray that she along with her sisters always know that they are beautiful in their natural glory just the way they are!