A few weeks ago, I was walking on the Texas Tech campus with my sister and an older cousin when a black little girl that was passing by timidly complimented my hair which I was wearing in an afro puff. It was so quiet that I didn't even hear at first and I would have walked past her without acknowledging her if my cousin didn't repeat what she said. Right after the girl left, my cousin said that she wanted to make sure that I replied to her because it was important for her to see older black women rocking their natural hair and for her to know that she shouldn't be ashamed to rock hers too.
Her saying that made me realize how it important it is for young black girls to see themselves, not only on television or on billboards but also in the women around them.
I remember growing up and realizing not that many women around me actually had hair like I did; they all either had relaxed hair or weaves which is in no way bad but it sent the message to a young 8-year-old girl that the hair that naturally grows from my head is not enough. It took me years to learn to take care of, appreciate and - most importantly - love the natural texture of my thick, kinky, coily hair. But while I appreciate where this journey has taken me, I hate that it took me so long to finally get to the point that I'm at now. All the years I spent hating my hair and wanting my hair to look like the white girls I saw on TV and in magazines is not what I wish on little black girls all over the world in 2018.
My message is this: your hair is beautiful, just like you.
Even though we've made huge strides in the acceptance of black hair around the world, it is still a controversial topic and it really shouldn't be. The hair that grows out of my head should not be a cause for debate. As black women, it is important that we set the way for the younger generation for them to see the beauty in their hair and in their skin. If you have any impressionable girls in your life, please make sure to always remind them of how amazing and unique their hair is, even if they can't always see it. Remember how you felt at their age and tell them what you wish the older women in your lives would have told you.