Meet Riley Elle, the dazzling star of the best hair tutorial video that I’ve ever laid eyes on. Brace yourself for the cute:
She’s just three years old and sports a ridiculously radiant smile, bursting with sunny confidence. The best part? Her mother is the talented Houston-based photographer Christin of ChristinShootsPeople, which means that adorable shots of Riley are all over the Internet for us to gush over.
Riley posed as the first Black Congresswoman, Shirley Chisolm.
Riley being her adorable Riley Elle self.
Dressed in a darling denim vest for the video, this girl teaches us how to do a twist-out for summer, a style where the hair is two-strand twisted and then dried.
So what are Riley’s directions? “Start with clean hair,” says Riley from the tub. “I don’t like detangling,” she pouts, as Christin parts her daughter’s hair into sections, applies moisturizer, and then deftly two-strand twists hair all around her head (it looks like she ends up with about a dozen twists).
What does she do while her hair air-dries? I suspect the next directions don’t need to be followed exactly, but they sound wicked fun:
- Eat oatmeal
- Share watermelon
- Play! Play! Play!
- Cool off
Afterwards, Riley and her mom untwist her hair and show us all the gorgeous ways to style it – pinned up, with a bow, or a colorful scarf!
Christin is the founder of Mocha Kid Magazine (where Riley is regularly featured), an “up-and-coming interactive magazine that is geared towards empowering, unleashing, and glorifying the many physical shades of African American children. Our sole purpose is to equip parents with the necessary tools and insights that will nurture the needs and fashion of their little ones.”
This rules so hard. Young people of color are unfortunately still so rarely represented – and it’s no secret that it’s really difficult to grow up in an environment where nobody in the media looks anything like you. It can lead to feeling like your appearance could never be accepted as palpably beautiful, like you are an outsider.
Earlier this month, Cheerios put out an advertisement starring a young biracial girl, which was met with a truly offensive onslaught of racism. And remember the London Olympics last year – when the amazing Gabby Douglas competed in gymnastics, but the media instead focused on her hair being “too nappy?” That's instead of directing our attention to the fact that she won the gold.
Kids like Riley already face these kinds of comments from the Internet community. My Natural Sistas, a Facebook group who helped shoot the twist-out vid, recently posted a disgusting, shockingly 'n-word'-filled comment in regards to their support for natural hair. They responded with some choice commentary:
“For those that are in denial and confused about why we’re such strong and passionate advocates for natural hair…This is only one of the MANY racist comments I’ve received over the net…I always grin and keep on doing what I do best, INSPIRE!”
Christin, My Natural Sistas, Mocha Kid, and others show us that it’s possible to make your own media, to simply become those positive representations that are missing from the mainstream.
During the twist-out tutorial, Riley looks at herself in the mirror and gives herself a kiss and a hug, showing us that this kid has self-love on lock.
Thank you, Riley, for the incredible inspiration!