By Kelly Harris
Often I am asked if I am going to make my daughter “go natural” because my hair is locd. I’m often taken aback when people—perfect strangers; inquire about what will become of her hair or how long it takes style. My daughter is 17-months-old. Her hair is growing and its texture is thick—just like mine when I was a girl.
Sometimes her hair is in bows, headbands, barrettes or picked into a fro. I believe the earlier a black girl is comfortable with her complexion and hair, the more comfortable she’ll feel about her blackness as she grows into womanhood. I don’t have proof, but I think it’s a good bet.
It’s my job as her mother to not only nurture her self-esteem, but to reflect positive and healthy behavior and use positive language about black bodies and hair. Honestly, I fall short sometimes. Self-acceptance is always a work in progress.
When my daughter reaches a certain age, she can choose to have her hair natural, straight or whatever. But for now, it’s my task to cultivate her inner voice that tells her she’s already just fine.
6 Books to Read with your Special Brown Girl:
Big Hair, Don’t Care by Crystal Swain-Bates and Megan Bair
Gotta love the title of this book. The illustrations are beautiful and the character is bold and confident.
I Love My Hair! by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley and E. B. Lewis
The author’s note is inspiring. The story encourages young girls to embrace their hair as a rich legacy.
Happy to Be Nappy (Jump at the Sun) by bell hooks
Reason #1) It’s written by bell hooks. Reason #2) The language is carefully crafted in such a way that I think it makes hair seem magical.
Bintou’s Braids by Sylvianne Diouf and Shane Evans
This book is rooted in the African tradition hairstyle of bantu knots. The story and illustrations are great.
I’m a Pretty Little Black Girl! (I’m a Girl! Collection) by Betty Bynum
This book has a more cartoon feel, but its message of self-acceptance doesn’t disappoint.
When a girl’s hair won’t style like others, hair puffs became a solution and a lesson.