For Gabrielle Union, talking about loving and caring for her natural Black hair isn’t just about business or her own personal journey. It’s also about her determination to raise two self-confident Black girls, daughter Kaavia James and stepdaughter Zaya, the actor-writer-entrepreneur said in a recent interview. And if you’ve got a problem with how she styles (or doesn’t) the girls’ hair, well, that remains your problem and not hers.
“Your hair is a part of you and it’s an extension of you, but it has to start with self-love and pride in your Blackness and Afrocentric features, whether that be your hair, your nose, your lips or your body,” Union told People.
Union, who was a producer on the Oscar-winning short Hair Love, said she and husband Dwyane Wade want their children to understand that they are beautiful, no matter what anyone else tells them.
Considering the deadly cuteness of Kaavia in every single photo her mom shares on Instagram, it’s hard to believe that there are plenty of people out there — even Black fans — who think Union should do more to tame her daughter’s natural curls.
“Please put some barrettes in that baby’s hair. If you don’t know how to comb his get your stylist to do it,” @elaine.blanche wrote in response to a precious video of the 1-year-old brushing her hair in the mirror on Juneteenth.
“Gabby, can you comb your baby’s hair?” StegerLynne begged recently. “Maybe you do, but most posts don’t show it! She’s so cute PLEASE comb her hair!!”
You don’t have to dig deep to find more of these “helpful” suggestions.
“I’m like, ‘She is a year and a half,’” Union told People of her reaction to such comments. “I don’t want to give her a complex about what is an acceptable style.”
If you study Kaavia’s own Instagram account closely (a labor of love!), you will see that her mother does sometimes style her hair and put bows in it. But she is a toddler with a will of her own, and her mother is not about to fight that battle.
“Some days, Kav will hand you her brush and she’ll want a little afro puff,” Union shared. “And some days, she just wants to wake up and go.”
As for Wade’s transgender daughter Zaya, the 13-year-old has also been playing around with her look during quarantine.
“Zaya went from pink hair to blonde,” Union said. “If you want to switch it up every day, great. What you do with your hair is your own personal choice. For me, the focus is on healthy hair, not on what you do with it.”
To that end, Union is hoping to help people care for their hair with her very affordable Flawless by Gabrielle Union line, which launches on Amazon August 3.
These children’s books featuring Black and brown girls teach kids about all kinds of inner and outer beauty.
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