As a father of a little black girl, I was always conscious when it came to how Malaya was put together. From her hair to the way she dressed was important to me and even more so when she started a school that wasn’t very diverse. I knew this would eventually bring to light differences between her and her friends when it came to things such as hair texture and skin color. So when she brought up the subject of her hair I wasn’t surprised but not quite ready for it and of course, the first thing she brought up was her not having long straight hair like her friends.
I started by telling her that straight hair was nice but in my option, it couldn't compare to the texture of hers! Pointing out all the possibilities and diversity of her hair type ranging from braids to Afros and how option other cultures would try to imitate it. Her mother and I never felt right about using high heat or chemicals to straighten her hair at such a young age or really any age.
We make a point to point out natural hairstyles like afros when we see them (they are making a come back) We search the internet for images checking out different yet beautiful hairstyles that we can do with her hair and we discuss what makes them cool. It’s hard to compete with the narrative that society is pushing especially when it comes to the beauty of girls and women. Learning about and loving yourself is a journey and like most things you are getting to know it takes time and effort.