Artists — and celebrities including Jada Pinkett-Smith and Viola Davis — have taken to social media to lift up a little girl who called herself “ugly” in a video that went viral. And the results have been truly inspiring.
It all began on Friday, when Atlanta-based hairstylist Shabria posted an Instagram video in which she is retwisting the locs of a 4-year-old girl named Ariyonna. At the start of the video, Ariyonna looks into the camera as Shabria is talking and says, “I’m so ugly.” The hairstylist quickly stops doing the child’s hair to encourage her and to tell she’s not.
“Don’t say that. Don’t say that. You are so pretty,” she tells the girl. “When you look at yourself you’re supposed to say ‘I’m so pretty’...You got the prettiest little dimples, you are so cute.”
Shabria holds Ariyonna to comfort her as she cries, and continues to give her words of encouragement.
“We must UPLIFT Our Queens,” Shabria captioned the video. “While doing her hair she had alllll the energy in the world then out of nowhere she stares at herself and gets soooo discouraged it broke my heart into pieces because she has the GREATEST energy and the most beautiful smile and heart ! She comes from a great home & loving mother. I just think when kids go to school they learn and pick up sooo much different things that they don’t know the definition but they know the feeling! Keep her in your prayers and keep lifting up our future !!!”
The heartbreaking yet precious moment has drawn more than 68K likes and thousands of comments, with many viewers praising Shabria for being there for the girl in her time of need. Many affirmed that Ariyonna was beautiful — including none other than Oscar-nominated “Hair Love” director Matthew Cherry, who asked artists to create drawings of Ariyonna so she could see what others see when they look at her.
Hey #ArtTwitter can we get a collection of drawings together of this sweet little girl who mistakenly called herself ugly like the one @LeislAdams did so we can get a collection of them to her and the hairdresser @LilWaveDaddy that encouraged her. Make sure to include the dimples https://t.co/PyG6wRpnrv— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) March 7, 2020
Want to get a collection of black books with characters that look like her like in Hair Love, Sulwe, I Am Enough, Little Leaders, Fresh Princess, I Love My Hair etc. and some fan art to send to her and @LilWaveDaddy. Here’s a video reference pic.twitter.com/aTNoKwrKK3— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) March 7, 2020
A small sample of books I plan on sending to little Ariyonna and @LilWaveDaddy through @fiyawata and #ProfessionalBlackGirls. Looking for some more. Hit me with suggestions. #BooksForAriyonna #ArtworkForAriyonna pic.twitter.com/ECYvLtQWGh— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) March 7, 2020
And Twitter definitely answered the call.
Ariyonna is too beautiful to not love! She has my heart and I hope she sees how beautiful and how important she is to everyone. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/UU1vlcq3IN— Brittany Joyce Joann Brockett (@kawaiibrittanii) March 7, 2020
From my 12yo: “You ARE beautiful!” pic.twitter.com/TTdnYkyAX1— Leta McCollough Seletzky (@LaSeletzky) March 8, 2020
I was just like her as a child — here’s my part in the collection 🙏🏾🤎❤️ pic.twitter.com/VKcrXw1kiN— danielle murrell cox (@dmcmtlco) March 7, 2020
A little illustration for the beautiful Ariyonna sending he so much love and light. I would love to send her some of my artwork celebrating #blackgirlmagic #ArtWorkForAriyonna pic.twitter.com/zXeZtVWWwJ— natty b (@banana_peppers) March 8, 2020
@MatthewACherry @LeislAdams @LilWaveDaddy I did this for a beautiful, brave little girl. I didn't see her gorgeous smile in the video but this is how I imagine it, with magic shining out of her special dimples :) pic.twitter.com/QKq90FNBNh— Graeme McGregor (@gmcgregoruk) March 8, 2020
There are many more stunning images where those came from — especially since Ariyonna now has her very own Instagram page, which went up on Monday and showcases much of the artwork along with photos of the girl and her family.
Several celebs took notice of Ariyonna’s story, too, and decided to share a messages of gratefulness and empowerment.
“THIS made me cry!” Jada Pinkett-Smith said on Instagram. “Kudos to this beautiful woman for loving on this beautiful child! We gotta love on each other! This made my heart sing.”
Actress Viola Davis also shared Shabria’s video.
“THIS is the motivating factor for Black women to leave a legacy...of WORTH of BEAUTY!” She said. “We are fighting hundreds of years of brutal conditioning of being considered less than. It is sprinkled in our language, behavior, laws, music...etc.. and trickles down to our youth. I'm speaking LIFE into Ariyonna. From a sista who looks a lot like you....you were born worthy therefore you were born beautiful!”
Yahoo Lifestyle has reached out to Shabria for comment and will update here with any reply.
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