This is three-year-old Kylie. Adorable, right? Her parents submitted this beautiful photo of her to a popular natural hair site with the hopes of broadcasting their daughter’s beauty, in turn, lifting her self-esteem in a world where Black girls are being called “nappy-headed hoes,” and impressive Black girls like Gabby Douglas set golden records by flipping and flying at the Olympics and we’re focused on her tresses instead of her talent and worse–a little Black girl whose hair grows freely is ridiculed because her star-studded parents, Jay Z and Beyonce allow it to do so.
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You can’t deny that this photo of Kylie ignites emotion. She warms my heart. I love seeing a little Black girl who clearly knows she’s cute and poses like a grown woman–hand on hip and a smile on her lips. I could even assume she’s sassy. But one emotion Kylie’s photo doesn’t pull out of me is anger and hatred. But those negative emotions are apparent in many of the internet’s biggest bullies and haters. With comments like: “The is not very pretty to keep it honest. The hair is to [sic] nappy and the style not that flattering… I hope that she gets a perm it would improve the texture of her hair,” one wrote. “Really? Cute? Not so much! Put a pretty little light skin [sic] child on the site showing her hair,” you’ve got to wonder…why? Kylie’s father wondered why too and ended up commenting on the natural hair site, defending his daughter with these poignant words:
“What is this world coming to? I am this child’s father. And now with all this negative comments, I have to explain to her siblings why people in the world today speak negative of a three-year-old. Crazy. We’ve got so much going on in this world. Now as a father I have to raise this child and continue to let her know she is and always will be an African American Beautiful child and one day a beautiful black woman. And not to feed into negative comments from her elder sisterhood. You all should be ashamed. I kept my mouth shut and sat back and listened to all of this. I just couldn’t sit anymore. Oh and by the way, keep in mind my little girl will want to see her picture again. Because she feels she is famous for being on a website. And guess what she will see…. Hate from grown women. I will pray for you all. May God bless you all… I thought this was a site to uplift African American Beauties for being Queens and Princesses. Everybody needs to stop and look in the mirror. We all bleed blue as a human race and as sisters and brothers we are one; DARKSKIN, LIGHTSKIN, YELLOW, we are all Kings and Queens and Princesses and Princes so let’s start acting like that.”
Honestly, I can’t tell you how much back and forth I went through before deciding to share this story with you. I have grown weary of our young Black girls being treated like ugly ducklings. But Kylie’s grandmother’s words on MyBrownBaby.com, shook me:
Don’t let offensive brown girl comments slide, or back away from a conversation about our complexes about our skin color and our hair. It may be painful to hear, but that is the only way we will begin to heal, if we have those painful conversations.
So let’s start having these painful conversations. Why do you think society wants little Black girls to hate themselves by perpetuating negative comments, but they spoon-feed us with images of natural Black women like Lupita Nyong’o, Viola Davis and India.Arie? Let’s talk.
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