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For  Tiana:   A   C are   P ackage     FULL   o f   L ocs   o f   L OVE  

Dear Tiana, When I saw the news story about your school asking you to go home because they didn’t think your hair was “appropriate,” I was angry. But then when I saw you crying with your head down, I became sad. Very sad. Your hair is BEAUTIFUL and you should NEVER be made to cry about the gift of beauty that God has blessed you with. And you should never hold your head down because of your hair.

Instead of writing an angry letter to the administrators at your school, I decided to write you a letter of support, affirmation, and LOVE. And then I asked some of my friends to do the same thing. And you know what? In less than 24 hours, 111 women and little girls from all over the country and all over the world sent me pictures and messages that they wanted me to share with you. We all wear our hair natural and in locs and we all want you to know that your hair is BEAUTIFUL naturally - just the way it is! Hopefully from within these pages you will feel our love and with it, you will gain more strength! Hold your head up, Tiana. HIGH! Love,

Yaba

Dr. Yaba Blay (Philadelphia, PA) P.S. - Your Dad is a pretty good guy! He has your back and wants the very best for you. We are just as proud of him for sticking up for you as we are of you for sticking up for yourself. Make sure you hug him extra tight today for us!

Oh! And one more thing! Your old school’s policy says that: “hairstyles such as dreadlocks, afros, mohawks, and other faddish styles are unacceptable.” is INCORRECT! CORRECTION: “hairstyles such as dreadlocks, afros, and mohawks are ORIGINAL hairstyles and OUR people have been wearing them since the beginning of time!” And you can tell them that Dr. Yaba Blay said so!

Ancient  Egypt  (Kemet)  

Southern  E  

Southwestern Ethiopia

Jamaica

And now….. Just for YOU….

Locs of LOVE

Dear Tiana, Dr. Yaba is my Mommi. When I was little, she never let me get a perm. And I remember wanting to look like my friends and wear my hair like them, but she said “No, Imani, your hair is naturally beautiful.” It took some time, but I finally understood what she meant and I am more than thankful that she didn’t let me straighten my hair because my hair is beautiful. My locks are beautiful JUST LIKE YOURS! You are very blessed to have your Daddy. He is teaching you to love yourself just as you are. And your hair is beautiful just as it is! I don’t want to call those people at your old school liars, but they definitely don’t know what they’re talking about.

Love,

Imani

(Philadelphia, PA)

Dear Tiana, When I saw you on the news this week, it made me sad to see you sad and mad to know your school had been so unfair. I love your hair!! OUR hair!! I have been growing my locks for exactly as long as you have been alive, 7 years, and people tell me all the time how much they like my hair. Our hair is BEAUTIFUL. And so are you, sweetpea. I hope your new school is wonderful!! Sending you love and more love. xoxo,

Yolanda Dr. Yolanda Manora (Birmingham, AL)

Dear Tiana, Words cannot express how absolutely beautiful you are, just the way you are! Please continue to let your inner light shine by being yourself. I've been through my own tough times with people not accepting my natural hair. But I love it, it's healthy, and that's what's important! You have a community all over the world that cares about you, so hold your head high! Love,

Marissa

(Oakland, CA)

Dearest Tiana, You are pure beautiful Chocolate Sunshine! Let your light shine because the world needs you! Smooches,

Theresa (Washington, DC)

Dear Tiana, Your hair can circle earth, twist in mid air, and fold onto itself. It can spiral. It can hold history. Your hair is magic. And YOU, Tiana, are beautiful. Love,

Aisha Dr. Aisha Durham (Tampa, FL)  

Dear Tiana, Don't let anyone tell you that your natural beauty is inappropriate. You are enough. And you are loved. And you are not alone. Love,

Deva Dr. Deva Woodly-Davis (Beacon, NY)

Dear Tiana, I am so sorry to hear about what happened to you at school. You are a smart, beautiful girl and I just LOVE your hair! It's wonderful! Remember, God does not make junk -- you were created in the image of the divine and God placed every single beautiful hair onto your head with care! Folks may not understand it, but I want you to stand tall and proud! We are here praying for you and supporting you! You are a "loc star" and we love you! Love,

Takiyah

Dr. Takiyah Nur Amin (Charlotte, NC)

Dear Tiana, Be resolute little sister in who you are, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL FROM THE CROWN OF YOUR HEAD TO THE SOULS OF YOUR FEET! AND, your locs are NOT inappropriate but LOVELY! Love,

Candace (Philadelphia, PA)

Dear  Tiana,     I’m  sorry  to  hear  about  what   happened  to  you.  It’s  a  shame  that   people  thinks  it’s  cool  to  put  down   another  person's  beautiful   differences.  I’m  Kyra,  so  from  one   locked  girl  to  another,  keep  being   your  unique  best  self.    Love,    

Kyra

 

 (Philadelphia,  PA)    

Dear  Tiana,     Don’t  let  what  anyone  says   change  how  you  feel  about  your   hair.  I’ve  had  my  locks  since  I  was   3  years  old.  I’ve  gotten  strange   looks  and  tons  of  questions  from   grown  ups  and  kids...and  no   matter  what  I  love  them  .  They're   unique  ,  always  surprising  me  and   pretty  just  like  me.    Love,    

Kyra

 

 (Philadelphia,  PA)      

Dear Tiana, Nothing that God chooses to make is ugly or unacceptable. True beauty radiates even when other folks don't understand it. Rejoice in the beauty of your locs, they evidence your strength, intelligence, and ability. WE love you and adore you for ALL that you are. Love,

Tiffany Dr. Tiffany Pogue (Atlanta, GA)

Dear  Tiana,     I  just  want  to  share  with  you   these  lyrics  from  Christina   Aguilera’s  song  “Beautiful”  :     "I  am  beautiful  no  matter  what   they  say.   Words  can't  bring  me  down.   I  am  beautiful  in  every  single   way.   Yes,  words  can't  bring  me   down  ...  Oh,  no.   So,  don't  you  bring  me  down   today."     If  you  ever  need  a  reminder,  sing   this  song  to  yourself.  I   sometimes  do.          Love  

Sheena

 

 (Philadelphia,  PA)    

Dear Tiana, You are a very special girl who will grow up to be a wonderful young lady. Love your pretty hair as much as I love mine! Love,

Tanya Dr. Tanya Mears (Worcester, MA)

Dear Tiana, Love your locs! They are special and beautiful and convey to the world that you are a young girl with style and true presence. Jď Š Love, Danielle (Washington, DC)

Dear Tiana, OUR locs have a beauty, and presence of their own, that some will not understand. When I first locked my hair, I was told nobody would ever hire me. 20 years later...I am a very successful teacher with a Masters degree in education. I've worked with schools in Ndonyo Wasin, Kenya and Reggio Emilia, Italy. I get paid to give lectures and workshops as well. I have my own educators blog with over 17,000 followers. All this with locs! Stand strong in your power lil' Sis. Stand strong in your beauty! Rock those BEAUTIFUL LOCS with pride! Love,

Lynnette

Lynnette Joy Arthur, MS.Ed (Brooklyn, NY)

To my lil’ sista Tiana, When I was a sweet brown girl, just like you, I wished I knew the joys of running thick beautiful locs through my fingers. Or to hear them rhythmically flap to a beat between the wind and my pretty lil’ nappy brown head. But Tiana, you already possess that Joy. That is why you are a leader. Don’t let them tell you that you are forbidden. Love,

Iresha (Philadelphia, PA)

Dear Tiana, You're such a brave young women to stand up for yourself and your principles. You deserve to express yourself through a variety of avenues, including your hair. Nothing else in life matters as long as you allow yourself to be the person you were meant to be at all times!! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK! We are all supporting you!!! Love,

Brandi (Philadelphia, PA)

Dear Tiana, Darkness reveals the brightest stars. Shine on beautiful. Love,

Akanke (Philadelphia, PA)

Dear Tiana, Your locks… your natural hair… your FREE self is nothing shy of beautiful. Never let them convince you otherwise. Love,

Safi (Philadelphia, PA)

Dear Tiana, Little angel, I watched the video of the hair incident in your old school. I'm writing to tell you that I think your locks are beautiful; they are as thick as we are strong as a people. I hope you know that you stand in a long line of beautiful and incredible human beings who wear their hair in locks - I'm talking about fearless Black people like Alice Walker, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Assata Shakur, Pam Africa and Ramona Africa, among many others.

One day I hope you come to understand that your beautiful locks are as strong as you are brave for standing your ground and keeping your locks on your pretty little head. They act like a halo around your head. Your locks are as determined as we are steady on the road to justice and freedom in this upside down world that couldn't see that "one nap of your [beautiful] hair is the only perfect circle in nature."* With all of my love, little sister,

Johanna

Dr. Johanna Fernandez (New York, NY) * From the children's book, Nappy Hair by Carolivia Herron, Illustrated by Joe Cepeda.

Dear  Tiana,     I  feel  sad  for  you.  I  wish   they  wouldn't  have  been   mean  and  said  that  to  you   because  your  hair  is  beautiful   and  it’s  part  of  your  culture.    I   invite  you  to  my  school,  even   my  teachers  have  locs.    YOUR   LOCS  ARE  BEAUTIFUL!          Love,    

Sarah

 

 (Philadelphia,  PA)  

Dear Tiana, You are beauty personified. Shining your light in the face of dissent. Your locs represent your strength, courage and selflove. Keep shining, Tiana. Love,

Biany (Philadelphia, PA)

Little Sista Tiana: You are beautiful, stunning, and uniquely amazing. Little sista, you are a LOC STAR. The ignorance of others could never dull your radiance. I and we just want you to know how wonderful you are and that you are loved. With locs of love,

Treva Dr. Treva B. Lindsey (Columbus, OH)

Beloved, Your locs are PERFECT and BEAUTIFUL. You are FABULOUS. Don't let anyone ever make you believe otherwise. Never stop loving yourself and loving your PRECIOUS, PRETTY hair! Love,

Lori (Brooklyn, NY)

Dear Tiana, This cluster of photos is for you. My baby has a fro because she did not want locs but believe me...she knows she is gorgeous in my sight...and you are as well! Stand strong and always be proud of who you are! If they don't like your locs, shame on them! I don't love you just because you have them, but I do love THAT you have them! Blessings to you, sweet girl! Love,

Carla (Cherry Hill, NJ)

Dear Tiana, You are fearlessly and wonderfully made. Your hair is natural and strong. You are LOVED and your LOCS are LOVED. Love,

Amy-Sharee (Hillside, NJ)

Dear Tiana, You are perfectly and wonderfully made, and so is your hair. Your hair is doing exactly what it was created to do: coil, kink, loc and strengthen. You are the “it” girl because you are leading girls of your generation to love themselves just the way they are. You’ve embraced what many adult women have yet to themselves. Let no man, woman, or institution tell you otherwise. Thank you Tiana - Let your locs and your light shine! Sistas got your back. Peace and Power,

Shesheena (Philadelphia, PA)

Dear Tiana, like the sun, moon, stars, and earth you are crafted, just as god would have you. beautiful, just like god herself. limitless, just like god herself. Love

Paula (Philadelphia, PA)

Dear Tiana, While others may focus on what is on your head, try to focus on what is in your head and in your heart. Love,

Danielle (Columbus, OH)

Dear Tiana, Sister, please be encouraged. Ignorant people fear what they don’t understand. Maat has had lox all her life. We became friends in kindergarten. This is us performing at the Caribbean Parade for House of Bastet in Detroit. We’re in high school now. Natural is the best way to show your inner and outer beauty. Never forget that, even if it’s misunderstood. Love,

Amina (Detroit, MI)

Dear Tiana, Be proud of your locs! Don't let anyone try to convince you that your hair isn't beautiful! Love,

LaKysha (Milwaukee, WI)

Dear Tiana, My mother got inspired to loc after I, her daughter, took that courageous step. You are the most beautiful when you alter yourself the least. I love you and your hair. Love,

Tamara (Boulder, CO)

Dear Tiana, Thank you for choosing to be authentic. Keep your head up! Know that you are supported by kindred spirits. Love,

Asake (Philadelphia, PA)

Dear Tiana, Never let anyone make you feel ashamed to be natural, love who you are, baby girl, from your head to your toes. Your Locs are beautiful and so are you!!! Love,

Tanya (Salt Lake City, UT)

Tiana you are beautiful! And people of African descent have been wearing locs for thousands of years! When people approach you with their ignorance, remember the words of Marcus Garvey, "Take the kinks out of your mind, instead of your hair.� Love,

Latasha Dr. Latasha Levy (Charlottesville, VA)

Dear Tiana, When I was seven years old, I would have loved to wear locs. The way they twist about and shake made me love them at an early age. Each one has their own little magic! I hope you know that you're full of your own magic and your hair, your locs, are part of your magic. Don't let anybody tell you otherwise. Be happy and know that you are loved and supported!! Love,

Courtney (Chicago, IL)

Dear Tiana, However you wear your hair is alright with me. But I wanted you to know that my Locs have changed my life. I'm happier & everything is easier. Natural is beautiful! Love,

Heather (Washington, DC)

Dear Tiana, I want you to know that our locs are just like we are! They are strong, beautiful, and unique! Our hair is a part of our culture and that makes it more than presentable! Love,

ShaDonna

(Washington, DC)

Dear Tiana, Our hair in its natural state is not only beautiful, regal, and wondrous; it is also powerful. This is why some people are fearful of it. They are fearful of what it represents. Audacity, courage, and strength from our ancestors. Your ancestors. You are beautiful. We are beautiful. Never let them tame you. Love,

Kaila Dr. Kaila Story (Louisville, KY)

Dear Tiana, These are pictures of my baby girl Harrington’s locs when she was just a baby. I want you to know that you are beautiful! Your hair is beautiful! Continue to love you and your hair despite what the "world" thinks! Love,

Harrington's Mom (Wilmington, DE)

           Love,    

Vanessa

 

 (Brooklyn,  NY)    

Baby girl, Your hair is beautiful! It is not a distraction, it is your heritage. Wipe those tears and know that you, your hair, and the goodness in your heart is the definition of beauty. Much love and light to you... Love,

Allison (Brooklyn, NY)

Dear Tiana, You are beautiful, inside and out. No one’s words or thoughts can ever change that. Just like there is more than one flower that's pretty, there is more than one way to be gorgeous--and it's already within each of us! Shine on in your own god-given way! Love, Ghana (Montclair, NJ)

Dear Tiana, You carry your strength and pride in your hair. Do not let anyone tell you different. Stay strong!!!! Love,

Kiana (Brooklyn, NY)

Dearest Tiana, You are so brave and so beautiful, my love! I heard about what happened at your old school. I'm so very sorry. I want you to know that so many people love you and are fighting for you to be free to be just exactly as you are. Keep rocking those locs and making those straight A's, girl. I'm so proud of you! Love,

Susana Dr. Susana Morris (Atlanta, GA)

Dear Tiana, I am my hair. I am strong, versatile, flexible, healthy, and beautiful. My hair speaks the legacy of Africa and her Diaspora! I am my hair and my hair is me! I want you to love yourself the way I love you! Your pure beauty and grace inspires me to be a better woman and a better mom! Those people do not know how great you are - but I see the greatness in you! Love,

Denise (Auburn, AL)

Tiana: the rumor is we were made in His image so according to my math His hair probably looks a lot like ours that makes some people nervous it makes me proud Love,

Lynnette (Boston, MA)

Dear Tiana, This is my daughter Nandi. She is bright, smart, a talented artist and has been locked since she was 3 years old. She's now 11. And her hair is a part of that beauty. I just wanted to share her picture with you. Love,

Nyree (Brooklyn , NY)

Dear Tiana, My Locs make me feel like a beautiful, fearless, warrior! They are a symbol of pride. They bring me closer to my Creator knowing that I am allowing my hair to spiral naturally from the root to the tip. Nothing could be more natural, more appropriate, more timely than an expression of self-love like that! Stay encouraged lil sista! Love,

Nina (Philadelphia, PA)

Dear Tiana, Your courage has filled me with so much joy over these past few days as I listen to your story. You are perfect in all of your natural "just as you are" beauty. Remember this, always. Love,

Aimee (Brooklyn, NY)

Dear Tiana, The beauty of who you are can only be understood by those who see beauty in themselves. Your hair is beautiful as are you. #magichair Love,

Janice Dr. Janice Johnson-Dias (West Orange, NJ)

Dearest Tiana, I am really sorry that you were asked to leave school because of your beautiful hair. Please know you did nothing wrong and some rules are just stupid, like the rules about hair at your old school. I saw you on the news and I must say, I just loved the pink ribboned flower in your hair. I have hair just like yours and I hope I can find one as pretty as yours. You are SO beautiful and absolutely perfect just the way you are. Stay Amazing!

Liz A.

(Chicago, IL)

Dear Tiana, Your hair is your crown. Hold your head high with a sense of pride. Love,

Sonia (Toronto, Ontario)

Dear Heart, You have been wonderfully crafted in the image of a God who loves you more than you can imagine. No one can take away the unique beauty of your skin or of your hair. There are many of us who walk with you and love you JUST AS YOU ARE. Remember this as you grow in age and wisdom your beauty and your worth is not determined by anyone other than the God of all creation who has looked upon you lovingly and said, "She is good.� Love,

Rozella

(Chicago, IL)

Dear Tiana, You are BEAUTIFUL. Stand your ground, and express your strength no matter how much they try to shut it down. They can shave you bald and your strength will be there still. Love,

Ava (Atlanta, GA)

Dear Tiana, This is a picture of me on my wedding day with my sisters. With my locs newly twisted and curled I felt beautiful, glamorous and happy. We are so much more than our hair, but hair is also a part of us! I chose to loc my hair back in 2006 because they look beautiful, they are easy to take care of, and it lets you and the world see all the amazing things our natural hair can do! Much Love, Natasha (Santiago, Chile)

Dear Tiana, To Walk with Your Crown in its Natural State is not a Burden. It's a Blessing. By doing so you give courage to those who may not know how Perfectly they were made. Just, the way, they are. Don't you ever forget that! â?¤ Love,

Azania (Atlanta, GA)

Dear Tiana, First allow me to apologize for the way your administrators treated you. You have witnessed what it’s like to have someone else's insecurities projected onto you! Rest assured that you are confident, you are beautiful, you are dynamic, you are audacious, you are a reflection of God. Love,

Syreeta Syreeta Scott, Owner Duafe Holistic Hair Care (Philadelphia, PA)

Dear Tiana, Individuals define their own beauty. Beauty is not defined for you. Be your most beautiful you! Love,

Tamara (Atlanta, GA)

Dear Tiana, I love my locs. They have transformed my concept of beauty and empowered me to create my style. My hair has not hindered my academic, professional or personal success. My locs were present when I graduated with my bachelor and master degrees, my wedding, my first and current job, the birth of my first born, and every sermon I have ever preached. Do not allow other people define you. Define yourself. Love your locs. Love,

Kelli

(Nashville, TN)

Dear Tiana, Our hair is powerful! Having locs allows us to define beauty on our own terms. Anyone who finds this hairstyle, which has a rich history, "faddish" or "inappropriate" is only showing the world their own ignorance. Black hair is magic. What us sisters can do with our hair goes beyond what anyone else can, and some feel the need to stifle our creativity. Don't let them stifle you! Please stay encouraged little one. You and I are naturally beautiful, and it is those who say otherwise who are inappropriate. Love and hugs. Love, Caasi (Philadelphia, PA)

Dear  Tiana,     You  got  an  early  lesson  in   how  cruel  people  can  be   simply  because  they  are   uncomfortable  with  how   unconventionally  beautiful   and  unique  you  are.  I  hope   that  you  take  this  moment   and  turn  it  into  strength  that   you  can  carry  for  the  rest  of   your  life.  And  I  hope  you   know  that  you  have  big   sisters  across  the  country   rooting  for  you.        Love,      Kamilah    (Philadelphia,  PA)      

Dear Tiana, I love your hair! And I especially love the way YOU love your hair. Girl, I saw that pink bow you were rocking! Yes, Yes, Yes! Your locs are EVERYTHING! I'm so proud of you for loving yourself and your fabulous hair! You are beautiful! Wear your locs with pride and tell yourself everyday how amazing you are, because you are AMAZING!!! Love and Peace,

Belinda (Philadelphia, PA)

My Beloved Tiana. From root to tip, you grow from the belly of this Earth as a child of the Creator. People with minds that cannot understand you, might try to deny you or limit you‌ ***Forgive them*** Your Ancestors lived and died for you... preparing this soil for you‌Every step you make sows seeds below your feet... Every tear you release will be honored... I promise... You will bloom wherever you are planted... You will grow ~> through anything that hurts you... You are power-full & beauty-full... beyond measure... so no tongue can truly tell you what you are, or aren't... because these manmade words cannot speak your Divinity. ***Know this!***

The  very  presence  of  your  breath,  makes  your  ancestors  proud  that  they   fought  for  you.       You  are  never  alone...     They  walk  with  you  now...     We  walk  with  you  forever.                                            Love,                

Sabriya

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 (Kingston,  Jamaica)  

    P.S.  -­‐  If  someone  ever  tells  you  that  your  hair  distracts  them  from   something...  it's  okay...  gently  tell  them  that  the  beauty  of  nature  has  a   way  of  doing  that  to  us...  especially  when  we  lose  focus  of  what  really   matters.    

     

Dear Tiana, You are growing love on your head, each of your Locs made up of many happy strands of hair hugging each other in a joyful embrace. And as your Locs grow longer the love grows stronger. Imagine that: a crown made of love. Honeychild, you must be some special kind of princess! But remember this: if ever you want to have new hairdo that's alright too because the love that blossomed on your head in your Locs comes from deep down inside of you. You know what that means, Princess? It means that no matter what, you are LOVED! No matter your hairdo you are regal, powerful, smart and strong. And just like the strands of hair that won't let go of each other we are your sisters and We won't let go of you. So, sweet baby, you just go 'head back to being brilliant, ok? And don't ever stop growing your love your way. In Love,

Mama Desiree (Brooklyn, NY – picture taken in Antigua)

Dear Tiana,

Continue to Shine! Love,

Donna Dr. Donna Patterson (Wellesley, MA)

Dear  Tiana.       You  are  beautiful  just  the   way  you  are  and  some  people   can't  handle  that.  I  wore  my   locs  proudly  on  my  wedding   day  and  in  many  professional   settings.    Be  brave  and  be   proud.    Great  things  are  in   store  for  you.            Sending  love,    

Ebony

 

 (Hartford,  CT)  

Dear Tiana, You are beautiful. Our hair is beautiful. Black people are beautiful. Know this. With so much love,

Shani Jamila (Brooklyn, NY)

Dear Tiana, Your hair is a beautiful reflection of your love of self and your confidence in the very unique and special gift you are to the world. There are thousands of us who love you, your hair, and everything about you. I would welcome you and your lovely locs in my classroom anytime! Love,

Farah Dr. Farah Griffin (New York, NY)

Dear Tiana, Love yourself little beautiful one... be proud of your beautiful hair just as it is! Love,

Kai & her mommy (Aruba)

Trina

Dear Tiana, I love your hair! You and your hair are beautiful. Me and my two daughters have locs. My daughters have had locks since they were babies. I want them to know from birth what naturally comes out of their head is beautiful. Here is a pic of us at my son..their brother's high school graduation. That school was wrong for doing what they did to you. Don't let ANYONE ever tell you you and your natural hair are bad. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! Love

Schyla

(Washington, DC)

Dearest Tiana, I am truly sorry for what happened to you. Sometimes adults are just wrong. You are beautiful and so is your hair. I love my locs because they are mine. They fit me, just like yours fit you. Look in the mirror everyday and smile because your uniqueness is what makes you special. We support you and have your back! Love,

Kat

(Washington, DC)

Dear Tiana, Locs are absolutely beautiful. They can be worn in an infinite number of styles and are uniquely yours. Whenever anyone has anything negative to say about my hair, I just smile because I know that it is mine and I love it. This is a picture of me and my best friend. Love,

Mandisa (Philadelphia, PA)

Dear Tiana, Ten years ago in a small little Tennessee town, no one knew what going natural was. I was the first person from my home town with locs. I was told that I crazy, foolish, delusional, that I wouldn't find a job nor a man, and that they couldn't believe I cut off all my “pretty straight hair.� I took pride in educating the ignorant, confused, & frightened. I let them know that having locs did mean I'd stand out but for better reasons than my hair. I've found jobs and I'm in a very fulfilling marriage. Now people say that they can't believe that I even trim my locs because of how long and beautiful they are. My locs have taught me patience, how to work on maturity, spiritual closeness, & perseverance. Stand out, be strong, be beautifully loc'd! Love,

Ravin

(LaVergne, TN)

Dear Princess Tiana, My dearest queen in the making, you have inspired us all, especially me. Because of your story, I am brought to tears. I saw my younger self in you today... and I am so moved, I feel compelled to grow my locks back to stand in solidarity with you. Thank you for this lesson! Thank you for your spirit, and thank you for being the force that I should have been for you and countless other young girls who need to see a reflection of their own beauty through us. Thank you for being so strong and mighty... Never let them take you off of your throne! Keep your head held high, sweetheart, and let your locks shine! And remember this always: You are so loved.... and sacred and beautiful just as you are. I see you... Love, your sister,

Amy

(Brooklyn, NY)

Dear Tiana, I love my locs.. I have been loc- ing for over 15 years. They make me uniquely me. I'm known for them and I love that!! You will now be known for yours! Love,

Carla (Philadelphia, PA)

Dear Tiana, Just a quick note to let you know that locs work in the streets, in schools, in the park, at parties, on graduation platforms, in judge's chambers, in pilot cockpits, in laboratories, in operating rooms, in professional sports, on red carpets, in government offices, on museum walls and in history books. Please don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Rock 'em with pride, lil sis! Much love,

Ava

Ava DuVernay

Writer, Producer, and the FIRST African American woman to win the BEST DIRECTOR prize at the Sundance Film Festival

Sweet Tiana, I have two daughters—Mari, age 14, and Lila, age 11—and they have beautiful hair just like yours. Lila wears her hair in big, chunky twists that dance in the wind when she runs and kicks the ball really hard in soccer. Mari has locs that she pulls into big, pretty, messy buns on the top of her head when she’s hot. They look really pretty against the blue water when she swims—they started out really dark and short, just like yours, and eventually grew down to her shoulders and changed colors, from brown to red to this really pretty light blonde, from playing in the water and the sun in the summertime. You get to do those kinds of things when your hair is natural. Beautiful. Just like yours. I need you to really think about that, Girlpie—that all the way over in Atlanta, Georgia, a world away from where you live, there are two little brown girls who have hair just like yours—strong, thick, pretty. Just the way God made it. The way God intended it to be. God doesn’t make mistakes. And he certainly knows how to create beauty. Sunsets. The stars in the sky. Hot pink flowers and birds that sing early in the morning. Brown girls. Beautiful brown girls just like my Lila and Mari and, of course, YOU. Know that a legion of Black moms and dads are wrapping your pretty little self and your gorgeous locs and your sweet smoochie face in a warm embrace full of love, with the might of angels. You are beautiful—every inch of you—exactly the way you are. Know this with all of your heart.

Love,

Ms. Denene Millner mom of Mari and Lila (Atlanta, GA)

PS: When I saw your picture with your big pink bow, I was instantly reminded of my Mari when she first had her hair styled in locs. This is a picture of her with a similar big pink flower in her hair. She was 10. Her hair looks just like yours does now. Beautiful!

Locs     The  sun  rises  in  the  air   Against  my  soft  (yes  soft)  black   hair   Not  a  perm  or  jheri  curl   Locs  –  yes  locs!   Soft  and  bouncy  and  so  free   I’ve  never  felt  so  proud  of  me.   Free  to  explore  with  all  my   personality   Locs  make  me  free!     Dear  Tiana,     I  wrote  this  poem  when  I  was   8  years  old.  I’m  15  now,  and  I   wanted  you  to  have  it.          Love,  

Kaia

 

 (Philadelphia,  PA)  

Dear Tiana, I am a 10 year old girl with locs also. I have had people pick on me too about my locs, but I love my hair! I wouldn't change it for the world. Be strong, don't change who you are because somebody tells you to. If you're beautiful to you, that's the only thing that matters. Here is a picture of me to let you know that you are not alone. Your locs sistahr,

Mimi (Atlanta, Georgia)

More  pictures!   SO  many  people  love  you!!   J  

Chanelle

(Brooklyn,  NY)  

Natalie

(Denver,  CO)  

Shantrelle

(Philadelphia,  PA)  

Maya Rain     13  years  old   (Newark,  DE)  

 

Monifa  (right)   (Brooklyn,  NY)  

Shubi

on  her  12th  birthday   (Noakesville,  VA)  

Sheila

(Youngstown,  OH)  

Efeya

(Brooklyn,  NY)  

Nia  

(Brooklyn,  NY)  

Tiffany  

(Newark,  NJ)  

Francheska

(East  Orange,  NJ)  

Amaris

(Atlanta,  GA)  

Aniyah

(Philadelphia,  PA)  

Melanye

(New  Brunswick,  NJ)  

Sharon

(Chesapeake,  VA)  

Anaya

(Fort  Lauderdale,  FL)  

Patrice

(Cambridge,  MA)  

Khaneisha

(East  Windsor,  NJ)  

Julian & her daughter, Natialia (Washington,  DC)  

Latressa

(Harlem,  NY)  

Ruha

(Boston,  MA)  

Kenya

(Plainfield,  NJ)  

"My locks are an outer manifestation of an introspective mecca...�

Nzingah

(Miami, Florida)

Jamila

(Atlanta,  GA)  

Sigele & Tsehai (Atlanta,  GA)  

Mama Yashi

Fashion  Designer   (Kingston,  Jamaica  /   Brooklyn,  NY)   Photo credit: Sabriya Simon

 

Tamara

Dancer/ Choreographer/ Lecturer   (Kingston,  Jamaica/ Philadelphia,  PA)  

Photo credit: Sabriya Simon

 

Shakira

Yoga Instructor (Kingston, JA)

Photo credit: Sabriya Simon

Kimani

Yoga  Instructor   (Kingston,  Jamaica)   Photo credit: Sabriya Simon

 

Nadine aka Universal Empress (Kingston,  Jamaica)   Photo credit: Sabriya Simon

 

Jah9

Roots Reggae Artist (Kingston, JA) Photo credit: Sabriya Simon

From the “She Rox Lox” project by Zahra Airall (Antigua)

From the “She Rox Lox” project by Zahra Airall (Antigua)

From the “She Rox Lox” project by Zahra Airall (Antigua)

And  here  is  a  VERY  special  note  to  you:       Alice  Walker,  Pulitzer  Prize-­‐winning  novelist,   poet  and  activist,  heard  about  what   happened  to  you  and  as  her  personal  note  to   you,  she  asked  us  to  share  with  you  an   excerpt  from  her  essay,  “Oppressed  Hair   Puts  a  Ceiling  on  the  Brain.”       Ms.  Walker  read  this  essay  as  the  Founder’s   Day  Address  at  Spelman  College  in  1987.  It  is   as  meaningful  now  as  it  was  then.   Something  you  will  be  able  to  read  year   after  year  and  be  encouraged.    

“When my hair was four inches long, I dispensed with the hair of my Korean sisters and braided my own. It was only then that I became reacquainted with its natural character. I found it to be springy, soft, almost sensually responsive to moisture. As the little braids spun off in all directions but the ones I tried to encourage them to go, I discovered my hair's willfulness, so like my own! I saw that my friend hair, given its own life, had a sense of humor. I discovered I liked it. Again I stood in front of the mirror and looked at myself and laughed. My hair was one of those odd, amazing, unbelievable, stop-you-in-your-tracks creations--not unlike a zebra's stripes, an armadillo's ears, or the feet of the electric-blue-footed boobie--that the Universe makes for no reason other than to express its own limitless imagination. I realized I had never been given the opportunity to appreciate hair for its true self. That it did, in fact, have one. I remembered years of enduring hairdressers -- from my mother onward--doing missionary work on my hair. They dominated, suppressed, controlled. Now, more or less free, it stood this way and that. I would call up my friends around the country to report on its antics. It never thought of lying down. Flatness, the missionary position, did not interest it. Being short, cropped off near the root, another missionary "solution," did not interest it either. It sought more and more space, more light, more of itself. It loved to be washed; but that was it.

Eventually I knew precisely what hair wanted: it wanted to grow, to be itself, to attract lint, if that was its destiny, but to be left alone by anyone, including me, who did not love it as it was. What do you think happened? (Other than that I was now able, as an added bonus, to comprehend Bob Marley as the mystic his music always indicated he was.) The ceiling at the top of my brain lifted; once again my mind (and spirit) could get outside myself. I would not be stuck in restless stillness, but would continue to grow. The plant was above the ground! This was the gift of my growth during my fortieth year. This and the realization that as long as there is joy in creation there will always be new creations to discover, or to rediscover, and that a prime place to look is within and about the self. That even death, being part of life, must offer at least one moment of delight.�

To Tiana, with Love From Alice Walker

So  Tiana,  we  hope  you  know,   with  all  of  your  heart,  that  we   care  about  you  with  all  of  our   hearts.  We  support  you  and  we   are  holding  your  hand  as  go   forward  and…    

ROCK  YOUR  LOCS!!!!  

❤  

Photo credit: Sabriya Simon

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For Tiana: A Care Package FULL of Locs of LOVE