What do your kids watch on television? Specifically, your daughter? Mahari is a huge fan of Barbie, Jojo Siwa, and now, ThatGirlLayLay! The latter makes my heart flutter. Mahari has been going through the I-want-to-be-white stage. Every time I look up she’s watching Trin and Maddie, or asking me to straighten her hair. That’s all fine and well, it’s happened to the best of us. I anticipated that this would happen, but I never knew it would be so hard to watch. Luckily, we live in a time where we can look on the television and see beautiful, brown girls with afros and puff balls.
The shows below portray black girls in a positive light. They show us winning, being intelligent, fashionable, loving our natural hair, displaying our talents, and taking deep breaths. If you’re having trouble finding shows with characters who look like your brown skin girl, I hope you enjoy Mahari’s streaming picks:
The list from HBO Max is short, but valuable. Esme babysits monsters and she has the cutest little puff! I fell in love with this show when Malik was experiencing bouts of anxiety. Esme teaches the monster’s to deal with separation anxiety, helps them learn to be patient at the grocery store, how to deal with scary rainstorms, and more. If you have HBO, check this out with your daughter!
Most of the picks from Disney+ are throwbacks, nonetheless, wholesome. We love singing along to Cinderella, laughing at Raven’s antics, celebrating intelligence with K.C., and we’re super excited about the Proud Family reboot. Cuddle up with your daughter and bond over these nostalgic classics!
I saved the best for last, Netflix! The talent, the fashion, the beauty, the brains, the uniqueness! LayLay took us away with bars (and her acting skills). Ada took us to school. I fell in love with Nikki’s braids. Karma taught us about self confidence. And Gabi, she “bounces to the beat of her own drum,” honey! Your daughter will not be disappointed with this list!
Why Does It Matter?
Sometimes, I walk into my daughters room when YouTube is on, see those little caucasion girls on the screen, and sigh. I think, “Maybe it’s just a sign of the times. Maybe this is just what little girls watch.” And every now and then, she says “Mommy, I’m bored. Can you help me find something to watch?” It would be my honor! I usually cut on one of the above and she’s usually delighted.
It’s taken many of us far too long to be comfortable in our brown skin, with our hair that does all sorts of things (except what we want it to most days). I don’t want that for my daughter, or yours’ either. I want them to know that they can rap like LayLay and Karma. In the spirit of Cinderella, I want them to know that no matter where they come from, they can nab prince charming with their beauty and grace. They should know that being a STEM scholar is fun! Lastly, I want them to laugh and be goofy! Imagine if we had of this imagery as kids. I also can appreciate that a lot of these shows also portray positive, black family life.
Hear me out, because I can be a control freak, but what would happen if we controlled the narrative? If we flooded our kids streaming profiles with kids who look just like them? What if changed the algorithm in that way? I could be crazy, but it’s worth a try! It wasn’t that Mahari wanted to look at little girls of another race all day, it’s that she needed guidance. She needed to see that brown girls were awesome. So many of us do, that can be hard to admit. What kids see (or don’t) is what they learn to believe. Let’s help our daughters navigate towards their beauty, not sit back as they shy away from it.
What are you and your daughter watching? Let us know in the comments!