Last week a video went viral showing a hairdresser pour love and affirmations into a four-year-old girl after she talked down to herself while looking at her reflection in the camera.
The hairdresser named Shabria who goes by the name @LilWaveDaddy on social media was shown as she was tightening the dreadlocks of a little girl named Ariyonna.
Moments later Ariyonna looks into the camera and calmly states, “I’m so ugly!”
“Don’t say that! You are so pretty!,” the hairdresser says back to her. “When you look at yourself you suppose to say, ‘I am so pretty’— you got the prettiest little dimples, you are so cute.”
As she continues pouring more into Ariyonna, the little one becomes overwhelmed and begins to cry, realizing that she’s been told an untruth.
The moment was heartbreaking and a critical moment where we as a Black community were able to come together to effectively discuss anti-blackness and colorism, which were both at play in the little one’s assessment of herself.
On Sunday, which was also International Women’s Day, Oscar-winner Matthew Cherry of the animated short Hair Love, took to Twitter to offer more to the conversation and to continue the encouragement that Ariyonna so desperately needs.
“Hey #ArtTwitter can we get a collection of drawings together of this sweet little girl who mistakenly called herself ugly like the one @LeslAdams did so we can get a collection of them to her and the hairdresser @LilWaveDaddy that encouraged her. Make sure to include the dimples,” he wrote.
In less than an instant, art renditions starting pouring in, showing Ariyonna through the lens of creatives who sought to make her feel smart, affirmed, and beautiful.
Soon after the hashtag #ArtworkForAriyonna began to trend showing all of the ways in which social media banded together in the effort. The artwork ranged from pencil sketches, oil paintings, to 3D renditions and animations of beautiful Ariyonna.
Cherry and his colleagues have a special affinity for children who are ostracized over their looks. In February, the Hair Love team invited Deandre Arnold, a Georgia high school senior, as a special guest to the Oscars after his school ordered him to in-home suspension for refusing to cut his dreadlocks. Arnold was also told as a result he would not be able to walk during graduation if he kept his hair locked.
#ArtworkforArioynna lets little dark-skinned Black girls know that their beauty cannot be defined by European standards and reminds us to continue to uplift and dismantle the anti-Blackness and colorism which trickles down to the most vulnerable among us.
This article was originally posted on MadameNoire.com