Ask most black women about their hair experiences, and I guarantee the majority of them can tell you about a time they were getting her hair braided. It's a cultural tradition. Whether it was while sitting in between their mothers' legs to get plaits or sitting in a salon on a Saturday morning while the smell of hot combs and curling irons pervaded the air, our hair experiences are ones that we'll never forget. As we grow older, we hope to pass down those hair traditions to our own daughters, Serena Williams included.
So when Williams shared one of those intimate moments with her daughter, Olympia Ohanian, on Instagram, those fond memories rushed back for many of her followers. It was a sweet, nostalgic, and powerful reminder of what braids actually mean to black people.
Williams' recognition of Namibia didn't go unnoticed.
In fact, it resulted in some natives inviting the star and her daughter for a visit to the heritage-rich country.
"Please bring Olympia and Alexis to Namibia for an amazing family holiday! She’ll love the sand dunes and you and Alexis will love the stunning views, cultures, history, and the people," one woman said under Williams' post. How amazing is that?! Let's hope that Williams does take that trip with her family and that she shares it on social media for us all to enjoy vicariously through her.
Of course, some people were shocked that baby Olympia appeared to be so happy in the photo.
"Not sure I have ever seen a child/toddler looking this happy while getting their hair braided," another commenter joked.
I don't know about you all, but those hair-braiding days sometimes came with a little bit of resistance for my mother. As a young girl unable to sit still, my childhood braiding experience often resulted in tears and just a little bit of conflict. Getting your hair braided can also be pretty painful if you're tender-headed.
Williams encouraged other black women to reflect on the lessons they learned while getting their hair done.
Doing hair is an integral part of a black woman's upbringing and leaves a mark forever. It's also a hairstyle that women and girls alike can get.
"The African American tradition of doing hair is such an intimate and essential part of growing up. It's where many of us learn to be Black women, wives, sisters, aunties, and friends," someone said.
The hair braiding message also serves as a gentle history lesson to appropriators.
"Omggggg Serena! This post made my heart burst open! Let them know sis! Braiding is more than a trend, it’s [a] rich culture," a thankful fan commented.
Braids are nothing new and they surely weren't created or popularized by any member of the Kardashian clan despite what popular magazine may have written in the past. The style and tradition is something that should be cherished, appreciated, and held in high regard.