More than 22 million millennials are raising the most culturally diverse generations to date, generation Z and Generation Alpha. With so many similar, inaccurate representations of black women in the media, teaching these new generations self-pride can be hard. I compliment my White friends with straight hair. And also, appreciate their hair for what it is, hoping they’ll do the same for me. Recognize my hair as a feature, not the definition of my character.
I have never, felt pressured to conform to anyone’s image of beauty, never been a fan of being called pretty in comparison to other races, and never been a fan of being told I have features similar to those of other races.
What does a black girl need?
I can serve as an example for My 4-year-old daughter Maya, but it will take a woman from another black generation to make her feel naturally beautiful.
As a black millennial, I’m not alone in having the importance of self-love. To this day, black members of generation Z and generation Alpha are still most likely to be cared for primarily by a grandparent when compared to other races. Grandparents more specifically, grandmothers, make black children feel worthy of respect even in our rawest form. I’ll admit: millennials are infamous for intentionally raising their children different than how they were raised. But with regards to this, I’ve learned my lesson: I can’t reinvent the wheel here.
As generation Z and generation Alpha become grandchildren of today’s more active grandparents, it’s still important they have a close bond with their grandmothers. They should escape that and appreciate beauty techniques not typically accepted by black women in the ’80s and ’90s.
I need my mother to teach Maya what my grandmother taught me. Because in today’s world the noise not only comes from traditional media but social media as well. The world’s definition of beauty may fluctuate. But Maya should find comfort in the true definition of beauty never fluctuating from her grandmother. I want my mother to teach her contrary to what the media advertises, it’s perfectly acceptable for black hair to be worn in all states, styles, and lengths. Teach her it’s okay to want straight hair on a Monday and afro puffs on a Saturday because it’s her personality that matters.
So, can I make a black girl feel pretty? Nope. I can try, but my mother will succeed.