Debby Ryan and Skai Jackson

Like most kids, I spent a lot of time in front of the TV watching my favorite shows. I would sometimes even go so far as to imagine myself as some of the characters. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be the cute and adorable kids from shows like "Full House" and "Seventh Heaven?" But the problem is none of those girls ever really looked like me.

Fast forward to now. I’m a lot older, and I still find myself watching and loving children’s shows and with new shows have come new characters that surprisingly look something like me. I was more than overjoyed when I saw beautiful black girls with… NATURAL HAIR.  While I have no issue with straight tresses, it was refreshing to see something different. After a lifetime of being bombarded with images of beauty that I could never attain, it was truly heartening to know that Disney was slowing but surely expanding its definition of beautiful — a standard that finally included me.

What excites me even more is that young girls will finally see more TV characters who look just like them. I shudder when I hear stories of children who wrap their heads with towels and t- shirts, or buy costume wigs to pretend that they have long locks like Hannah Montana and other child stars. I can’t help but wonder if those girls would have been more accepting of themselves and their hair if the girls they looked up to on TV had hair just like them. I can’t help but wonder how many young black girls would beg their mothers for big poofy hair if Hannah Montana was black and rocked a fro. We might have to wait a while for a major Disney star to rock their kinks, but we are slowly but surely getting there as more and more Disney stars opt to rock their natural hair.

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The first glimpses I got of actresses who rocked their natural hair were in the show "Corey in the House." In the show, actresses Madison Pettis, Jordan Puryear, and Zolee Griggs who play Sophie, Candy and Tanisha respectively all have beautiful natural hair. At one point, Zolee even had locks. Even more recently, Madison plays Allie on the show "Life With Boys" and continues to rock her curls. However, I must say that my all time favorite natural haired Disney star is Skai Jackson who plays Zuri Ross on the show "Jessie". When I first saw her on the show, I did a double take, because her hair is insanely gorgeous. Not only is it thick and healthy, but it is always beautifully styled in buns, twist outs and braids outs, and don’t even get me started on the accessories.

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What I love most about her hair is it is the type of hair that I believe a lot of little black girls have — extremely textured with no real visible curl pattern. Why is that important you may ask? It’s important because no little black girl should grow up thinking that because they don’t have curls and waves and “good hair,” their hair isn’t good enough. Stories of children wrapping their heads with towels and shirts to have long flowy hair should be unheard of, and no child should ever beg for a relaxer.

Whenever I see Skai Jackson and her big hair, I hope that there is a little girl out there who is watching her and looking to her as an inspiration for their hair. I hope that any little girl who watches her knows that their hair can be beautiful and worn out and pretty without being hot combed and relaxed. Maybe I’m expecting a lot out of one head of hair, but I can only hope that as more and more child actresses rock their hair naturally, it will help to show young women out there that curls and coils are just as beautiful as straight and wavy. While it may be too late to undo the damage that good hair versus bad hair has created in our generation, maybe just maybe it isn’t too late for the generation to come.

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