A couple of months ago, I was on my way to work when my cousin Tasha inboxed me.
The night before I posted pictures of a protective style I had just tried out, and honestly, I was a little self-conscious about the style, but decided to post it anyway.
She was showing me the picture of her beautiful daughter Aniyah’s hair. She said Aniyah liked my hairstyle, and wanted to wear her hair like mine. So she sent me the picture of her hair in the same style I had.
It was at this moment I realized that not only does representation matter, but that I too am a woman that young African American girls are looking up to. Mind blown.
I never really thought about this, being that I don’t have children, and I rarely spend much time with kids-with the exception of my goddaughters that I try to see at least once a year.
And this realization inspired me in a way that nothing else has. Sometimes I get caught up in a bubble and I think no one sees me, but when I received that message from my cousin, it made me realize that I am seen.
I know it was something as simple as a hairstyle, but it was impactful because now that I know there are young girls watching me, it makes me want to become the best me that I possibly can. That’s why I’m allowing myself to be vulnerable, and sharing these experiences.
And I’m in great company. Oprah’s powerful acceptance speech at the 2018 Golden Globes touched on this where she so eloquently stated:
“It is not lost on me that at this moment, there are some little girls watching…it is an honor and a privilege.”
This speech was given a mere two days before my cousin inboxed me, so these words were already fresh in my mind. If that wasn’t enough to motivate me, this picture that went viral certainly took me over the edge:
I mean there’s not much to say that this picture doesn’t already. It embodies the importance of representation, and how heartwarming it is to have an innocent child be in awe to that magnitude.
From Oprah, to former FLOTUS Michelle Obama, to little ol’ me, they are watching. It’s my responsibility to give them something to aspire to.
And yours too. Let’s make them proud 🥂