Disclosure: Diary of a First Time Mom is proud to be a member of the Netflix Stream Team! Each month, we’ll share our stories about the shows we’re watching and how we’re making memories. #StreamTeam

Dear Diary,

A couple of weeks ago, I was undressing my daughter at bath time when she stopped me from pulling her shirt completely off. She pretended that the shirt was her hair–her long, silky straight hair. A smile spread across her face, which lit up like a Christmas tree. She pranced around the bathroom, tossing the sleeves over her shoulders and saying she was a princess. Although I remember doing the same thing as a child, I didn’t want to pass that game down to my daughter. Why?

She told me that she didn’t like her hair–her short, curly-kinky hair.

I told her she had very nice hair, and that mommy liked it. That wasn’t enough. My toddler, although too young to realize it, let society define beauty. And not even society as a whole, rather the small group of people who made casting decisions for television shows and movies. The ones writing parts played by women with hair flowing down their backs.

Times have changed since I was a little girl. My daughter’s favorite shows are filled with characters of color, however for the most part, the princesses all have long locks. Locks my daughter tries to recreate with towels and shirts.

Little Princess 1

I told her, mommy has short hair. Do you like mommy’s hair? Her answer–No, I like my stepmother’s hair (which is long and straight).  I agreed that her stepmother’s hair was quite nice and then informed her that good hair comes in lots of textures, colors and lengths. I gave examples of friends and family with different styles. Still, she wasn’t convinced. I’m sure I read way too deep into her behavior, but I grew up hearing comments about nappy hair being bad or long hair being more attractive. Fortunately, I had a healthy level of self-esteem. I also had long, straight hair for the most part, until maybe middle school. So, the negative comments were made to me about other people. Still, not right. And still, I wanted hair like my bi-racial best. She could wear her long hair straight or curly, depending on her mood. And  I witnessed my other friend get picked on for having very coarse hair.

I want my daughter to know that Black is beautiful. That good hair is well maintained hair. That her short, kinky locks are fit for a queen.

Netflix is helping me instill that confidence with the cartoon Little Princessa cute cartoon starring a short hair princess. Based on the best-selling children’s books by author-illustrator Tony Ross, this animated series follows the curious and charming Little Princess on exciting adventures, mainly taking place inside the castle. And the characters have accents, like one of  my daughter’s favorite cartoon Peppa Pig. When I played the Little Princess on my computer at a hotel recently, Caitlynn told me that she wanted to take the shirt off of her head. Ever since, her pretend play rarely involves a headdress. She even asks to watch the show each day before heading to preschool. Since Netflix streams three seasons of the show (countless ten-minute episodes!), there’s always a new and delightful program to tune into.

Little Princess 2

I’m sure Caitlynn isn’t scratching her head and pondering on the perceptions of hair types. I’m sure she doesn’t know the historical roots of chemical relaxers and weaves. She most like won’t go to great lengths to understand the deeper meaning of the princesses portrayed on television. But as her mom. I feel good that she can see that beauty–and princesses–can come in all shapes, styles and sizes.

Hey DFTM Fam–What are you doing to expose your children to positive images about their race and culture? What are your favorite streaming shows on Netflix to watch with your family?




About The Author

Vlog Mom/DFTM Creator

Not long ago, Heather Hopson hosted a television show in the Cayman Islands. Today, she's back home writing a different kind of story as a new mom. In her 15 years working as a professional journalist, this by far is her best assignment! Growing up, she dreamed of becoming Oprah Winfrey. She was the features editor for her school’s newspaper and a teen talk show host for her city’s most popular radio station. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. After graduation, she worked as a television producer and reporter at CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates throughout the U.S. Instead of heading to Chicago to join Ms. Winfrey on her set, she bought a plane ticket to the Cayman Islands instead. She arrived five days before a category five hurricane! She lived in paradise for seven years, hosted an award-winning television show and traveled the globe with a government delegation. She also served on the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters and spearheaded a Send a Kid to Camp campaign. Then, she relocated to Washington, D.C. to obtain a teaching certification and instruct 8th grade reading at a high needs middle school. She later returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA to raise her daughter Caitlynn, now 4-years-old. During her 10-month-stint as a stay-at-home mom, Caitlynn inspired her to create this blog, and Diary of a First Time Mom was born on Mother’s Day 2012. Two years later, she expanded the family to include 20+ writers. Currently, Heather serves as the communications director at Allies for Children. In addition, she is the owner of Motor Mouth Multimedia, which ranked #49 in Startup Nation’s Home-Based 100 Competition sponsored by Discover Card and Sam’s Club. Recently, The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments selected Heather to receive an Emerging Black Artist award to develop Diary of a First Time Mom.

2 Responses

  1. Pam

    We have tons of books featuring characters of all races. We also have books that tackle the “hair” issue straight on like Penny’s Magic Puffballs and I Like My Hair! Sometimes I worry about overdoing it but we’re in a very multi-culti area and I want to be sure that she loves herself and her history!

  2. Rachee

    When my teen was younger we loved Nappily Ever After and read it all of the time. I was transitioning from relaxed hair to natural so that helped define her idea of beauty. It is tough to stay encouraged especially when the world wants you to believe otherwise. Good for you that your daughter is growing up in such a positive environment.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.