I babysit these 4 Rastafarian siblings I call my Tribe because they feel like extended family, and as I was dressing the eldest daughter (who is 4), I remembered that her hair needed to be covered before we went outside so I grabbed a headscarf.
“Here, let me tie your scarf,” I said to her, hoping to be helpful, but she corrected me instead with,
“That’s not a scarf! That’s my crown.”
I was stunned but I realized that this little four year old was proud of her Blackness. She was proud of her beautiful roots (her locs) and was vehement and vocal about anyone touching them. I cannot keep strangers hands out of my son’s hair. I have doubts about my own Afro-centricity and Black pride sometimes, it ebbs and flows. This young queen was putting me to shame.
Later, as we sat to eat a vegan snack, I noticed that their whole home was enshrined in reminders of their powerful, beautiful Blackness from posters of Black leaders, Rastafarian prayers and poems and crosses, giant Rastafari flags and the iconic green, yellow and red stripes everywhere.
My own home was a mix of boho-chic. IKEA faux furs, vintage décor and a mix of eclectic art furnished my house. I had nothing that might hint I was proud to be Black. No bookshelves filled with books on Queen Nzinga, on Menes and Thebes, on Ethiopia. With no reminders in my face to contemplate, accept and embrace my Blackness, it was easy to follow in the way of popular culture. But what about my culture?
I must say thank you for the brazen words of a little queen who prompted me to stand a little taller, be a little prouder and remember we are worthy. And all of us, children of the sun and all people of the world must come together to accept ourselves and allow others to accept themselves as they are. Because who they are is a beautiful thing.