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Author: Tafari, Sunday, January 11th, 2009 at 7:14 AM

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  1. Mel Says:

    I am guessing that Sade is at an age where like other girls (and boys)she will find something about herself she doesn’t like. Peer pressure is also a hard thing to deal with and I can understand her desire for pressed hair when ‘everyone else’s hair is pressed’.
    I spend my days surrounded by young people with distorted images of themselves; they are too fat, their hair is too curly or too straight, their legs are too long or too short, they dont like their eyes, ears, noses. I could go on and on. What surprises me (or perhaps it doesn’t) is that no matter what is said to them by myself or their peers they refuse to change their opinions.
    I didn’t like my lips when I was growing up, I thought they were too big, not as nice as all of my friends. I love them now and so do others!
    Your sister is beautiful, I have just had look at her photo shoot and she has the most amazing eyes. I beleive that in time she will come to recognise her beauty and stop measuring herself against others. I think that you and Suite Suzy will do a great job in helping with this and somewhere in the future she will thank you for it.

  2. Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T Says:

    u got the eye folk and the wordsmithing as well

  3. Darius T. Williams Says:

    What about black boy issues?

  4. toni Says:

    My self esteem growing up were based on how I looked in realtion to my mother rather than my peers. She was lighter than me, had longer, straighter hair than me and thats what I wanted, too. This may sound bad, but I think that because I went to all-black schools from pre-school thru college – surrounded by people in all shades – made me more comfortable with who I am (and the people around me). You know I deal with everything thru books, so let me know if you want some reading recommendations for Sade.
    Also, they let Negroes take pictures?

  5. Carla Says:

    I see beauty, curiosity, longing, playfulness and simplicity in Sade! In one word: magnifique!!!

    To answer your question, I never had issues with my color, but I’ve got typical 4b hair, which my mother never knew how to manage…her’s being 3a and all. So I always wanted long, soft, straight hair like my sister’s, because everyone thought she was SOOO pretty. But my biggest self-esteem issue has been weight. So I guess for me it was never about the shade of my skin, but what was underneath/growing out of it.

    I think all young girls will at some point begin to examine themselves, but as long as they/we know we are LOVED, everything else resolves in time.

    The fact that you are raising her and being such a positive influence reassures me that everything is everything!

  6. Carla Says:

    P.S. Might not hurt to let her hair be straightened every once in a while. Just so she can see herself in another light. I guess personally I feel it’s just hair, and have gone back and forth from relaxed to natural to locks to relaxed back to natural again. It’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind until she’s satisified! ;)

  7. Erica C. Says:

    Let her know that she/all brown skinned little sisters possess a unique power. What makes us beautiful is that we all come in a plethora of shades, body types, facial features, and hair textures; all of which makes us stand out.

    Changing her hair won’t solve her self esteem issues because if she changes her hair……something “new” will take it’s place like; not the right clothes, etc. It’s mostly peer pressure. You and Suite Suzy has done a wonderful job in teaching her.

    Let her know that what makes her beautiful is the knowledge of knowing that she’s been blessed with queenly features, a beautiful skin tone, and hair that a lot of women would kill for…….but buy instead!

  8. missregan Says:

    Just found out about you on the new media podcast. I’m currently a photography student. It’s very inspiring to see successful black photogs out there.
    It’s such a shame that young black girls are made to feel this way at such a young age.It’s no wonder they flock to weaves in their adulthood. We live in a society where the dominant image of black women they see are in music videos. When I was in school there was always that one girl who didn’t perm/press her hair and there would always be some black girls that would make her the butt of jokes. Kids can be terrible. I would have never been able to grow the locks that I have now when I was younger. Sade may not appreciate it now not but she will thank you for it later.

  9. BabyI'mAStar Says:

    I think that as adults sometimes, we as so far removed from the days when we as children struggled with self esteem issues, that it is easy for us to diminish the impact that our peers have on our self esteem and general well being. An impact that can cut a wide path through our life and remain for quite some time. Some things cannot be changed such as skin tone however, a consistent, positive force of love, kindness, and respect which begins and maintained at home is absolutely necessary to combat any negative feelings or comments that may arise in the outside world. The hair issue however is something that can be managed. Of course we need to set guidelines and boundaries for our children however, having a firm line in the sand based on our own preferences when it is causing our children to be ostracized or made to feel bad about themselves is serving no one well. As a female, a girl, a woman, our hair and our comfort with it, it’s importance to us (some of us), is beyond what most men can comprehend. If Sade is asking for a different hair style, what’s the issue, if it will be professionally maintained ? I say continue to love and guide your sister, reinforce her importance and feelings of being loved and allow some flexibility and fluidity in the things that will help her to make it successfully through these teens years.

  10. Tafari Says:

    Wow, I'm overwhelmed by the responses here & I appreciate the feedback!!!

    Mel – I somewhat get her desire for a hot press but my cultural morals are not having that. To me, healthy hair is natural hair & my job as a parent is to make sure that my children are healthy mentally, physically, emotionally & everything in between.

    With this said, I know that peer pressure is a bitch & if is not one thing, it is another.

    Why are kids so mean, who do they learn such ways. It's been such a long time since I pressured anyone :)

    Torrance – Thx Man

    Darius – I'm saving the Black boy issues discussion for my son, if Suite Suzy magically gives me one. Stay tuned :)

    Toni – Sade is an avid reader. Seems like she almost eats book. What's good?

    I too, went to all Black schools growing up so I know what you mean. I now live in a area that is very diverse, which has many positives that out weigh the negatives but negatives are hard to annoy, you know.

    And some of my best friends are Negroes who love to take pictures. ;)

    Carla – You have me looking up 4b & 3a hair textures, a new science. LOL

    I appreciate you sharing your story & thx for the encouragement.

    And I am saying no tot he hot press. If I was a Christian, I would say that it's from the Devil. When she hits adulthood, she is free to hot press & perm away.

    they talk about hot presses so much that Amelia, the 3 year old wants to her American Doll's hair pressed & she is serious as hell. Trips me out. Pressed for a press.

    Erica C – "Changing her hair won't solve her self esteem issues because if she changes her hair……something "new" will take it's place like; not the right clothes, etc." So true.

    I know you have the Glam Squad on self esteem high road.

    Miss Regan – OMG, I did not know that it was up, thx for finding me, I am on my way to listen to it (nervously). I love discovering new Negro phototgraphers, no matter where they are in the career! We must stay in touch!

    When I was in school, middle through high school, if girls did not have a jehri curl, wave nouveau or perm, girls got dogged by other females or guys.

    So funny how many of us are taught that natural is a bad thing.

    "Sade may not appreciate it now not but she will thank you for it later." I certainly hope so!

    Baby I'm A Star – "I think that as adults sometimes, we as so far removed from the days when we as children struggled with self esteem issues, that it is easy for us to diminish the impact that our peers have on our self esteem and general well being." Your statement is very true & actually made me think back to my past. Thx for this dose of reality.

    I hear you on being flexible,actually I feel you twisting my arm a bit. I'm very stubborn. Can smell hair burning now :)


  11. byrdparker Says:

    expression is the key , with moderation of course . Why not press her hair , to see how she likes it. so what if other issues pop up . Aren’t we all just a bunch of issues , that we move through and grow as a unique individual person .

  12. Shai Says:

    Nappy wasn’t an option when I was growing up. I think I got it pressed until about age 13. Then I got a Jheri curl off and on until age 17. LOL. Yeah I had the curl.

    I am having issues NOW with my hair. I have not had a perm in oaver 4 years. Yet, I cannot wear it out. I either braid it or where wigs. It is so hard to manage and I have tried many natural techniques. My hair has always had issues.

    I do miss the straight hair. It was not a hassle to do. I don’t miss the heat or chemicals burns.

    I wanted locs then I changed my mind. So now I plan to get it braided and try not to give in to the “creamy crack”.

    I don’t care about what others think about my hair. I DO. I don’t look right with a short fro or twists. I am growing it out and hope to find other hairstyle alternatives.

    My daughter is 18 and had never had a perm. My mom presses it and that’s it. Up until about age 13, she rarely got it pressed. Her only problem is she hates to color even though many would love the jet black color.

    Why don’t you want it pressed? Is it took much work?

  13. dregagurl Says:

    The pics of Sade are beautiful and so is she. I haven’t been a teen in a LONG time but I can remember a little bit. Natural hair wasn’t the in thing when I was a girl so going natural at the age of 37 was a big to do. Have Sade check out for some styling options that she can have her stylist try. I’m not sure how old Sade is, but I can see her relating braided hair styles as being for “little” girls and she probably wants to show her “big” girl style. So maybe a braid out or twist out will help her achieve a different look. I feel you on the “while under my roof” point of view but we as parents have to allow our children some self expression, within reason, even when that self expression is what “everyone else is doing”. So although I am an advocate of natural hair, I don’t think the hot comb is a terrible thing. Now if she wanted the creamy crack I would scream “NOOOOO!” But a good shampoo will revert her hair back to it’s natural state if a warm comb is used, not a hard press. And maybe it can done for a special occasion like her birthday. I have a 20 year old son and remember the days of his going from braids to short cuts to locs back to short hair. But it was something that he had to experience as a part of his growing up. Keep up the great work with her. What she really needs is just what you and your wife and girls are giving her…LOVE. Peace and blessings…

  14. Tafari Says:

    Byrdparker – Sade has had three presses in the past & IMO, she was too young, I felt funny to bad about it. I'm not so rigid that I hate straight hair or anything but I want to work against certain beauty standards that I do not think are the healthiest for Black girls but I am not trying to raise a Black female militant. LOL!

    Shai – You have a very interesting story! It shows the complexity of the issue. Sade has jet black hair & she loves her color, funny right!

    Suite Suzy thinks that my firm stance on straightened hair will make Sade a blonde weaveaholic as an adult.

    Dregagurl – Thx for stopping by first of all! I like this site. Good looking out, I will share this with her.

    This discussion has shown me a lot, a lot to consider, especially in my personal views. Will I give into the hot press??? Her birthday is coming up. If the devil really dies exist, Sade I will allow it. Stay tuned.

    On another note, Olivia, my 10 year old, would love to have her hair straightened, but guess what. Sorry.

    It's hard being a strict father/brother.


  15. SS Says:

    Sade is obsessed with the hot press to a point that it has caused some unhealthy feelings, at times and becomes depressed and angry when she thinks about the fact that her brother told her she will never have a hot press as long as she lives under his roof. Sade is not bothered by her skin color or any of her other features and she doesn’t hate her hair, she simply wants a hot press. She is comfortable with her looks in general and has no real issues other than being jealous of an 8 year old family friend that is a chocolate beauty with long beautiful pressed hair. Sade isn’t obsessed with weave and as a matter of fact at this time she prefers not to have anything “fake” and she likes her current hair style, with the exception of not being able to swim. She simply wants to get a hot press every now and then and I think her life would be complete. What would it hurt if it was done by a competent professional?

  16. SDG Says:

    She’s at a tough age. It ain’t easy being a teen. It really isn’t. I remember my own feelings of inadequacy, but it wasn’t about being Black. It was a class issue w/some folks.

    I grew up in Harlem in a very Pro Black/Nationalist household, so never had issues with Blackness. Hopefully, as Sade gets older and more secure in who she is, things will be better.

    Just keep loving and supporting her. That’s the best thing in the world for self-esteem.

  17. sandra Says:

    Sade is beautiful and I wish someone would come up with somthing conclusive about how “inner beauty” really shines through when you feel good about yourself. Last night I saw Indie Arie on Tom Joyner’s show and she was just beaming! She was Fab. It really works. When you think you are the “hottest” you look the hottest. I just wish a photographer could actually show this phenomenon so young people can see it in action. I’m not sure how it could be done. So far we’re hearing about the Obama Effect on young children and testing, which is similar to what I’m talking about.
    Anyway, you’ve got to think you’re beautiful to add beauty to what you’ve got. I’m prayin one day she gets it.

  18. sandra Says:

    One more thing about young women and self esteem; I found that if you have just one person in your enviornment who is negative and uses passive agressive techniques to put you down it’s damaging. I’m not sure how you can weed these people out; but you can open up the communication to find out if this is happening to her. Sometimes it can be a teacher, an authority figure, even a parent, a so-called friend. It’s important to look for those subtle messages which discourage. I also used to surround myself with images of “models” like Naomi Simms, and others in all ranges of colors and styles. Now more than ever this is easy to do. Your daughter should start a journal with pictures of some of the models she likes and also make sure she finds the beauty in models of all shades sizes and colors. Another thing: hair has become an accessory and I find that many young women(and older ones too) struggle with how to dress and groom themselves in harmony with their hair, which can lead to this feeling that the hair doesn’t fit in with their dress etc. It’s important when she is on her own time(especially if she goes to a private school, where there are uniforms) to express herself and hair and clothing styles.
    Another thing: the website nappturality has many young women who show different hairstyles. One does not have to stay with the classic twist bob to look attractive. I’m wishing the best for Sade. I think she’s pretty.

  19. EmmaX Says:

    I’m dealing with black girl issues, I’ve just turned 18 and all I wanna do is have a nose job. I think about it everyday. When I look in the mirror, when I look at other peoples faces etc. It’s become an obsession and I can’t get rid of it. People say, “you can not love somebody else before you love yourself” And its true. But I can’t get over my issues before somebody lets me know that I’m pretty and they like me for what I got, if u get what I mean. But I can’t let people get deep with me. Because I’m so insecure with myself. And it seems as if no one else in this whole world got the same issue as me. And I don’t know what to do with myself. I know I’ll never get that nose job, 1. I cant afford it, 2. I don’t wanna let people know that I’m feeling so insecure about myself. I can never talk about my nose, if someone mentions somebodies noes or discusses it I immediately become silent. I can talk about my other issues, my skinny ass and so on cus I know that is something I can change by gaining weight or working out or something. But my nose is just out there and unfixable without surgery. Sometimes I feel stupid though for feeling bad about my nose, I mean there are worse things than having a big nose, but it’s my biggest issue and I think about it constantly. I just want time to pass, so I can get over this issue and that I’ll accept myself. But I dunno what to do! I think Sade is pretty though, thing is even though my parents and close people tell me I’m pretty I think they just say it cus they like me even though that might not be the case. I really cant think of anything to do about it. I really dont know. Gosh now I’ve written my whole life story. Hehe have a nice day :)

  20. Tafari Says:

    Wow, Im really getting great feedback & dialogue on this post. I appreciate everyone's opinion & yes arm twisting.

    EmmaX – Thx so much for sharing your deeply personal feelings & story. I read your comment yesterday & I have to say that it moved me. I do hope that you get what you need in order to feel comfortable with your asset(s)! I bet there is someone near you that will love you & that nose more than you know.


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