Wednesday, January 26, 2022

The Black Girl Who Thought She Was Ugly, and the Hairdresser Whose Response Made Us All Feel Beautiful

Shabria and Ariyonna
Shabria and Ariyonna

*Hair stylist Shabria was in the midst of an Instagram Live video when her client, a four-year-old black girl named Ariyonna, saw herself on camera and proclaimed, “I’m so ugly.”

How a four-year-old black girl came to this conclusion says so much about the world in which we live, and the not-so-subtle cues that black girls pick up on regarding beauty and skin color. The broken heart that her words delivered was a gut punch to Shabria. Her response to this child is why the video has gone viral with over 400,000 views in four days. It has also drawn praise from the likes of Michelle Obama, Viola Davis and Jada Pinkett Smith.

For four minutes straight, Shabria poured all the love she could into Ariyonna – extolling her beautiful dimples, her chocolate skin, her beautiful smile and white teeth. Ariyonna broke down crying at first, but Shabria’s uplifting words managed to pull the little girl’s self-esteem out of the trenches.

Shabria decided to upload the video on Instagram, explaining: “We Must UPLIFT Our Queens. While doing her hair she had alllll the energy in the world then out of nowhere she stares at herself and gets soooo discouraged. It broke my heart into pieces because she has the GREATEST energy and the most beautiful smile and heart! She comes from a great home & loving mother.” She went on to say, “I just think when kids go to school they learn and pick up sooo much different things that they don’t know the definition but they know the feeling! Keep her in your prayers and keep lifting up our future!”

Watch below:

The video even got the attention of national TV and radio outlets, where both Shabria and Ariyonna were invited to tell their story.

 

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Even Forever First Lady Michelle Obama cheered Ariyonna on.

 

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Matthew Cherry, director of the Oscar-winning short “Hair Love,” urged Art Twitter to make drawings of the little girl and the hairdresser as encouragement stating, “Make sure to include the dimples.” The Twitter campaign features artistic interpretations of Ariyonna ad Shabria.

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