The fantastically viral Sesame Street video, “I Love My Hair” has a special place in the hearts of African American moms and women all over the world it seems. I watched it when it debuted last week and smiled gently, but decided it was not necessarily an “Egg-worthy” posting. How wrong I was.
The song, which aired on October 4, was written by Sesame Street’s head writer, Joey Mazzarino. Mr. Mazzarino wrote the song for five year-old Segi, his Ethiopian adopted daughter. To hear this, placed an extremely large lump in my throat as it brought to mind the many other blogs and stories I’ve heard over the past two years of families who face this situation. How do you tell your daughter how beautiful she is,…when she uses YOU as the standard for beauty, and she doesn’t look like you?
The “Labor of Love” post from two years ago, which spoke of a Caucassian father’s journey into learning how to braid and style his African-American daughter’s hair, was a similar case. In that story, Clifton Green and his wife also adopted their daughter, Miriam, from Ethiopia. Green, an associate professor of finance at Emory University, spoke of his desire to be for his children what his own father was to him and how that encouraged his learning to braid Miriam’s hair. He spoke of his father making him feel as though he could “hang the moon”, and how he wanted his own children to feel that they could do the same. I’m sure that the outstanding love and admonishment he received from the community and world after seeing that it was him providing the braids, paled in comparison to the affection of his daughter.
This sentiment of learning how to appreciate and cultivate the heritage and esteem of their daughters, is what ties so many bi-racial families together. It is also a sentiment that should be respected and supported by those of us who witness it.
While there are many reasons for couples to adopt from other countries and ethnicities, (and infertility is not always that reason), our community is one of the first places we should be providing support and encouragement. As we are all a part of the same mission: Family Building, we know all too well how important it is that these families succeed at what they wish to achieve for their special little girls.
I was already quite touched by the song, but seeing that it was the product of a father,…and not just a father but one of a different race who wanted to show his daughter how wonderfully unique she was,…just made my heart grow three sizes.
In celebrating the beauty and wonder of this special bond, allow me to share a few resources.
First, a couple of touching articles on RainbowKids from the Caucasian mom of two special girls from Haiti, Sherri Gragg: More than Just Hair – published in 2006 and Hair Matters – published in 2007
Next, because you guys know me by now, I’m a book-owl.
I came across this book and blog, “Brown babies, Pink Parents” by Amy Ford, and thought I would share it with you guys.
Now, when I first saw the Sesame Street video, I immediately thought of the book with the same title, “I Love my Hair by Natasha Tarpley. This book is AWESOME!! In it, Keyanna, who hates having her hair combed, starts to realize all the great things about her hair, (also very similar to the Sesame Street song).
A random search on the book, led me to this blog, Bloggin About Books, and there, I found a blogger with a passion for books to assist herself and other parents to understand the culture of their biracial children!
Her movement, is called Baby Steps to Understanding (Which I think is adorable), and she is promoting it via this cute button,
I don’t see any posts since February, but rather than reposting her list, I’d like you to head on over and visit! Check out the cool list she’s started and get a little more info on her BabySteps initiative. Perhaps if we all visit, she’ll start it again.
Anyway, here is a shelf-full of books that I’ve read which are awesome for lifting the esteem of our daughters. Enjoy them with a little lady you know!
(p.s.,…one of the books has a young lady on the cover when she was just a toddler who has very recently become a superstar in her own right. Can you spot her?)