March 12, 2020 6:17:45 pm
A little girl left her hairdresser teary-eyed as she began crying during a styling after she referred to herself as
“ugly”. Four-year-old Ariyonna was having her hair styled by Shabria Redmond, when she glanced at her own reflection and said quietly to herself, “I’m so ugly.”
As tears rolled down her eyes, the hair stylist comforted her saying, “You are so pretty, do you hear me? You’ve got the prettiest little dimples. You are too cute”. Soon the video went viral and many powerful black women extended their support online to her.
Former US first lady Michelle Obama joined in and shared the video on her Instagram with a special message for the little girl. “Ariyonna, you are gorgeous. In a world that sometimes tries to say otherwise, I want to tell you—and every other beautiful, intelligent, brave black girl—just how precious you are,” she wrote.
“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!” Atlanta-based hairstylist who goes by the name Lil Wave Daddy on social media lamented adding she comes from a great home.
“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!!!” the hairstylist had written while sharing the video originally.
Many women reinforced the need to tell little girls that they are beautiful and European beauty standard is not ultimate. Many lauded the hairstylist for lifting up the child’s spirit and normalise diversity. Popular actor Viola Davis too shared the video and wrote,”THIS is the motivating factor for Black women to leave a legacy…of WORTH of BEAUTY! We are fighting hundreds of years of brutal conditioning of being considered less than. It is sprinkled in our language, behavior, laws, music…etc.. and trickles down to our youth. I’m speaking LIFE into Ariyonna. From a sista who looks a lot like you….you were born worthy therefore you were born beautiful!❤❤”
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of WORTH of BEAUTY! We are fighting hundreds of years of brutal conditioning of being considered less than. It is sprinkled in our language, behavior, laws, music…etc.. and trickles down to our youth. I'm speaking LIFE into Ariyonna. From a sista who looks a lot like you….you were born worthy therefore you were born beautiful!❤❤ 🎥@lilwavedaddy
“In tears over this. Somebody told this child this and her heart broke and her confidence broke and she believed it. Thank God for this beautiful spirit in her life to tell her differently. This video shows how deeply we harm each other. And fully we can lift each other up,”Ava DuVernay wrote while commenting about the video.
After the video went viral, filmmaker Matthew A. Cherry, who directed the Oscar-winning short, “Hair Love,” put out a call on Twitter for artistEs to draw pictures of Ariyonna that would motivate her. He also decided to send her books featuring black women as protagonists.
Hey #ArtTwitter can we get a collection of drawings together of this sweet little girl who mistakenly called herself ugly like the one @LeislAdams did so we can get a collection of them to her and the hairdresser @LilWaveDaddy that encouraged her. Make sure to include the dimples https://t.co/PyG6wRpnrv
— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) March 7, 2020
A small sample of books I plan on sending to little Ariyonna and @LilWaveDaddy through @fiyawata and #ProfessionalBlackGirls. Looking for some more. Hit me with suggestions. #BooksForAriyonna #ArtworkForAriyonna pic.twitter.com/ECYvLtQWGh
— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) March 7, 2020
Soon, #ArtworkForAriyonna flooded social media platforms and artists answered Cherry’s call.
— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) March 12, 2020
I’ll admit, when I saw that video I shed a few tears.. I hope she realizes how beautiful she is on the outside and most definitely beautiful from within. 💖💖
@_imsoariyonna#ArtworkforAriyonna #blackgirlmagic #pretty #beautiful pic.twitter.com/426pFXocKS
— ToyaTheArtist (@ArtistToya) March 12, 2020
Beautiful Ariyonna and @lilwavedaddy 💓
Hope she feels better now 🙏🏻❤️ Glad @LilWaveDaddy found the words to uplift her and thank you @MatthewACherry for this heartwarming initiative 🙌🏻🌈 #ArtworkForAriyonna #illustration pic.twitter.com/E5kV6zH8Fy
— Celine Mai (@colors_of_mai) March 12, 2020
— Sorcha McGlinchey (@SorchaCartoons) March 11, 2020
— Yemaya Payne (@muva_seshata) March 11, 2020
Now, Ariyonna’s family has started an Instagram page for the little girl to share all the artists’ drawings, as well as cute photos of Ariyonna. But the best part is the kid moved by all the love and encouragement has changed her narrative to say, “black and beautiful”.
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