Toilet paper wrapping and “hair stories” help me embrace my hair

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hair stories

Source: Courtesy of OWN/OWN

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many people rushed towards grocery stores en masse packets of toilet paper, I could not stop myself laugh and thought back has my own childhood. Who would think that toilet paper wrappers, of all things, would teach me one of my first lessons about self-love, specifically learning to to kiss my beautiful textured pouf wreath black girl Hair.

This is one of the reasons why I has been very exited recently to see the beginnings of hair tales, eexecutive produced by Oprah Winfrey, Tracee Ellis Ross and Michaela angela Davis on the PROPER network and also broadcasts weekly on Hulu. the six-part series, explores problems of beauty and identity through black women eyes, more often starting with their earliest childhood memories. I can report!

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You see, when I was a wide-eyed little black girl growing up in the 70s and 80s in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I don’t have often see pictures of me represented in commercials, commercials and, well, just about anywhere In popular culture. There was no mahogany greeting card line of Hallmark. If I wanted a card with a child or parents with Brown skin like mineI had to draw it myselfwith a box of Crayolaswho, by the way, never seemed already have the right mix of browns. I didn’t have the luxury of turning on the TV to seea black mom like mine to A detergent commercial bragging about how she became his mocha color girl sparkling clean clothes.

Everything changed one day as I was strolling down the toilet paper aisle with my mother in the local grocery store. I literally stopped short as I passed the Northern toilet paper display. my six year old self couldn’t believe he.The plastic wrap featured the image of a smiley,girl with a chocolate brown complexion like mine;only she wore his hair up In pretty little To Princess Leia Hairbuns as I had seen on star wars. I was captivated.

Mthere mane was much thicker than the girl pull onto the packagingbut immediately I wanted to be just like her and wear my hair like she did. Iremember thinking that she was so prettythere. She seemed special. Even at that young oneage, my way I was hit by the do this I had neverseen a little girl even close to my skin color Featured to everything product labels or rarely in TV advertising.

Shortly after that revelation, came the day of the picture at school. I was inside the freshman at the time and the only black student in my entire class. That morning, my mother had parted my hair in the middle and meticulously braided my hair of them big braids hanging down either side of my face. I don’t know know what got into me once i got to school that day, but while I was queuing to get my Photo taken I was consumed withMemory of the little black girl on this packet of tissues.

gradically, I has begun twirling my braids on each side and somehow managed to wrap them around in my best version of Princess Leia Hairbuns. First of all school staff had the chance to Tell me to stop messing with my hair, I boldly in front of the backdrop and stared right in the camera And I put on my biggest crooked-toothed smile as the photographer took the picture. Jit remains, as they say, is history.

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AfterforwardI let my hair down like my mother had corrected it originally and never said a wordabout my impromptu hairstyle change. Later, when my mother received the pictures from school, she was warm! “Why did you change your hair like that? she roared. I couldn’t offer much, just that I‘D wanted to watch just as the beautiful black girl I had sprung on the fabric of the Norths package. Let’s say I Also learned that day never to go behind my mother’s back. Lol!

I did not know thatughthis moment would be a major turning point in our relationship and would have to help catapult me ​​on mine path and self-love journey and self-discovery. A little after, shebought me a special mirror that had “I am beautiful” engraved on the back of this one. At the time I thought it was silly and I couldn’t understand whythereshe felt the need for me to see these words dailyespecially as I watched back in my own reflection.

It would be many years before I only understood my motherthe, who majored in sociology in college and grew up during the height of the civil rights movement in Washington, DC, was trying to instill in me a strong sense of self-esteem and pride. My mother was trying to ensure that her little brunette daughter now grew up as the only black child, or one of a few, in a predominantly white community in the Midwest., learned to love each other. Yes, she was trying to instill in me a feeling of love of self!

Fast forward Much more three decades later and I know for sure that my mother’s efforts are the main reason why, as an adult, I am now comfortable with my unique brand of beauty as a black woman, includeing my thick crown of black hair. Although there is still so many more work to do, I am grateful that the current generation of little black girls (and their elders) can now see more examples of their natural beauty represented and celebrated on product packaging in store aisles, in TV commercials, print ads and even on billboards and on the pages of magazines – not just a tissue paper package at the grocery store (thanks for leading the way north).

This series of CLEAN gratings providess another opportunity for Following black girls and women worldwide with textured hair to be put on that same trip self-love and hopefully start to celebrateing their beauty, including our wide range of skin tones, various shapes of our bodythat is to say andyes, the various textures of our hair too. Thanks to Ms. Ellis, Ms. Davis and Ms. Winfrey too, for creating this Platform to black girls and women like me can finally tell their own stories in their own words and to feel seenlike and beautiful, too!

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