Nearly a week after her heartbreaking video went viral, Ariyonna Cotton is having a happy and empowering ending to her once sad story.
After getting support from folks including former First Lady Michelle Obama, Oscar-winning director Matthew A. Cherry, and Laverne Cox, on Friday, the 4-year-old, her mother and her hairdresser (who appeared in the video with her) were guests on The Tamron Hall Show.
Even sweeter? They were surprised by earlier guest and 9-1-1 star Angela Bassett, who walked out on stage to gift Shabria Redmond (aka Lil Wave Daddy) and Ashante Cotton with some kind words.
“Thank you for the inspiration that – you know, you’re helping a little one, but you’re giving such inspiration and knowledge and grace to the world. You know, people say all kinds of things – sometimes people don’t know what to say and then they say the wrong thing,” the Oscar nominee told them on Friday’s show.
Adding, “But the way that you’re speaking into her life, into her spirit with things – not only her outward beauty, but the beauty that is her character.”
Take a look:
Look at all this #BlackGirlMagic!
During their interview, Shabria told Tamron that seeing Ariyonna call herself ugly invoked the insecurities of the other women in her life.
“I was feeling my mom’s pain. I felt my grandmother’s pain. I felt women’s pain in general,” she stressed, adding, “I felt like she didn’t know what she was saying. I felt like that before and I understood what I was saying. So I had to correct her so she wouldn’t grow up and actually find out the feeling of it and apply it to her everyday life.”
For Ashante, she was shocked when we saw the video because she had never heard her baby girl say that about herself–ever.
“She never said it period. Everyone says she’s a princess and beautiful. And for her to say it, she really felt that way and it really hurt me as her mom,” she said.
The mother of three admitted that it was a wake-up call for her and that she needed to check on her other kids to make sure they didn’t feel the same way too.
“I seen it when I came home. I have three kids. So when I saw it, I gotta think about my other three kids and make sure they don’t feel the way Ariyonna felt.”
Take a look:
As I wrote last week, this video was a much-needed reminder that we have to make sure our little girls, especially those that are dark-skinned, know how much they matter and how beautiful they are in our eyes.
And If anything “good” can come out of this tear-jerking and jarring video is that if we want for there to never be another Ariyonna, that is on us. That, and we need more folks like that hairstylist making sure that we are the loudest and most affirming authoritative voices in our babies’ ears, drowning out that piercing noise that tells dark-skinned Black women and girls that they aren’t enough.
It’s up to remind our babies that are so beautiful, so worthy and most importantly, pure magic.
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