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White Mom, Black Daughter: A Journey Through Hair and Heritage

As a white mother of an adopted black daughter, this reader is navigating the complexities of hair and cultural identity.

Hey MJ,

I'm reaching out for some advice regarding my 2.5-year-old adopted daughter, who is starting to express interest in different hairstyles and fashion. She often points to styles she likes, saying "oohhh pretty." As a white woman, I'm wondering about the appropriateness of giving her the hairstyles she's drawn to, especially as they relate to her heritage.

I've been learning to do her hair in braids and twists, spending hours on YouTube tutorials to get it right. My question is, as she gets older, should I continue learning and doing her hair myself, or would it be better to seek out black stylists who inherently understand her hair and its cultural significance? I'm specifically curious about using certain bead colors and bow prints, as I want to respect her heritage and not inadvertently engage in cultural appropriation.

I'm not considering giving her "white" hairstyles at this age, but rather I'm asking if it's okay for me, as a white mother, to style her hair in traditionally black hairstyles, or if I should involve stylists from her own cultural background. My goal is to ensure her exploration of her heritage is authentic and fully supported.

Any constructive feedback on this topic would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you so much for your time 💚.



Dear Anonymous,

You're taking a thoughtful and loving approach in embracing your daughter's heritage, particularly in the realm of hair care and cultural identity, which are significant aspects of many black communities.

Your dedication to learning and styling your daughter's hair in braids and twists is a beautiful way to bond and show respect for her heritage. As she grows, continuing to learn and style her hair yourself can be a meaningful shared experience that honors her cultural background. Your efforts not only show care for her physical appearance but also convey a deep respect for her identity.

However, as she gets older, incorporating the expertise of black hairstylists can provide additional benefits. These professionals can offer invaluable insights into the cultural significance and proper care of her hair type. They can also serve as role models and mentors, helping her connect with her heritage in a broader sense. This is especially relevant as she begins to form her own understanding of her identity.

When it comes to specific bead colors and bow prints, it's wonderful that you're considering the cultural implications. While using these elements is generally fine, it's a good practice to learn about their meanings and significance within the black community. This knowledge will help you make informed choices that celebrate her heritage in an appropriate and respectful way.

Your daughter's journey in exploring her heritage will continue to evolve, and your role in supporting and facilitating this exploration is crucial. Your openness to learning and seeking guidance from within the black community is commendable. Engaging with other black parents, stylists, or cultural groups can provide you with valuable insights and advice.

Ultimately, the most important aspect is the love and respect you show for your daughter's heritage. Continue on this path with a willingness to learn, adapt, and listen, and you'll be providing her with a nurturing environment where she can confidently embrace all aspects of her identity.

Kenbe la,



In 2020, the "Badass Black Girl" book series author M.J. Fievre began receiving correspondence from a varied audience, including parents, young adults, and teens. Fievre, an established author and speaker, is known for her insightful engagement with themes relevant to these demographics. The communication, primarily through Facebook or the Badass Black Girl inbox, revolves around topics covered in her books and public talks. These interactions display a rich tapestry of experiences and viewpoints, highlighting the author's impact on her readers.

“Hey, MJ” is a platform created to foster a meaningful connection between M.J. Fievre and her readers. It offers a forum for open dialogue, personalized advice, and the sharing of collective experiences. The platform's effectiveness is rooted in Fievre's expertise as an author and speaker. Her work, particularly in the "Badass Black Girl" series, showcases her deep understanding of the challenges and triumphs faced by her audience. Her background as an educator and her commitment to empowering young voices further enhance her ability to offer relevant and empathetic responses.

Readers wishing to engage with “Hey, MJ” can send their messages to All queries are treated with confidentiality, ensuring a safe space for honest and open communication.


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