It’s More Than Hair–Being A Role Model

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“Young girls can’t aspire to be something they don’t see.”

—India, from My Natural Sistas 

This quote totally resonates with me and reminds me of an experience I had to a few years ago.  I had the pleasure of working with youth in an after school/ summer day camp program a few years ago. This was before I converted to Islam and began wearing the hijab.

As I stated in my previous post, I love my natural hair. I’ve always been good at doing hair, but styling my natural hair was a way for me not only to be creative but to also show appreciation for how God created me.  My students would often see me sport a variety of styles from updos, to braids, to twists, and an Afro!

During my last summer working with the day camp, two of the African-American girls decided to wear their hair in Afros because of me.  This was the biggest compliment that I could have gotten.  Not because they were copying me, but because they were 5 and 8 years old at the time and had the confidence to wear their hair in a style that some find unattractive.

I would often hear the 8-year-old say that she hated her natural hair.  I would often tell her that she had such beautiful curly hair.  For the majority of the summer, the 5-year-old wore braided extensions.  To see both of them wear their hair in it’s Afro state was such a beautiful experience for me because they were beginning to accept themselves as they are.

I was three years old when I had my first relaxer.  I grew up believing that my natural hair was bad.  To love my hair in its natural state and to inspire young girls to do the same is such a blessing.

It’s more than hair.  When you love yourself, you are being a model for the children in your life.  What example do you want to be?  Children imitate what they see and hear.  It’s bad enough that children get bombarded with messages from the media that tell them that it’s not okay to be exactly who they are.  It’s up to you to set a positive example.

If you have children in your life and want to encourage them to love and accept their natural hair texture, then I highly encourage you to read the following books:

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Nappy Hair by Carolivia Herron

I Love My Hair by Natasha AnastasiaTarpley

Shades of Black: A Celebration of Our Children by Sandra L. Pinkney 

Also be sure to check out the video below from My Natural Sistas about the importance of being an example for our children.

 

 

Love Always,
Tanika Monique

Always & Forever

Forever & Always

 

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