I got these amazing photos in my inbox over the weekend and I had to share. Kudos to all the fathers out there affirming their natural babies.
How did you learn to do your daughter’s hair?
J: Growing up, I had two older sisters. I can remember watching my mother doing their hair in the kitchen. I didn’t pay a lot of attention then, but later, the attention I did pay came flooding back. From about the seventh grade through college I wore an afro which required a lot of maintenance. There wasn’t always someone readily available to braid it so I taught myself the simple daily maintenance. I’ve been able to take those experiences and combine them to at the very least keep my child from looking homeless.
What styles do you typically do on her?
J: I usually pull her hair into a ponytail, but sometimes I will twist it or even braid sections. I can’t do elaborate styles, but when I’m done, she looks like she’s had her hair done. It usually only takes between 15 and 30 minutes. There are three of us who share that responsibility for Ashley’s hair, of which I’m the least talented by far. I usually step up as the hair guy when I see it needs to be done and I’m the last option.
Do you think black men need to be more affirming of black women’s beauty?
J: I really do! I see the images the idiot box projects, and the way they affect Ashley. Some days she’ll come home asking for her hair to look like the white or Japanese kids she’s around. I’ll say to her “You want your hair to look like that? That’s being like everybody else, besides they can’t do the things with their hair that you can.”
Sometimes she’ll pick a character on TV that she likes and say “I like her. That’s who I want to be like.” My wife and I will then pick the character most like Ashley in appearance and let her know we think she is much more beautiful than Ashley’s choice. She usually changes her mind when she sees we adamantly think the black girls are the beautiful ones.
What do you want your daughter to take away from the time she spends with you getting her hair done?
J: I want her to know that it’s not her who can’t do without me, but me who can’t do without her.