Why Blue Ivy’s Beaded Braids Remind Black Women Of Our Childhood

Beyoncé literally made the world stop yesterday with the Instagram announcement that she and husband Jay Z are expecting not one, but two, babies! Yes Queen Bey is having twins! But in case Beyoncé didn’t slay your edges yesterday, she decided to come for your entire existence today with the release of gorgeous, ethereal and quite otherworldly photos from a maternity shoot.

On her site, Beyoncé posted numerous photos of her pregnant belly and also includes a gorgeous photo of her mom Tina Lawson while she was pregnant with Beyoncé. She also includes a photo of her grandmother, who she was named after, holding her mom as a baby. But the most stunning photos are those of Blue Ivy doting over her pregnant mother and her younger siblings in her mom’s belly.

Blue Ivy, who just turned five, is pictured rocking the cutest cornrow braids with beads while kissing Beyoncé’s bump. Blue wears the same hairstyle in a few other photos, and we soon began to recall some of Blue Ivy’s other memorable hairstyles: her afro she’s worn freely on vacation, afro puffs and buns she’s worn for everyday play, and those adorable boxer braids she wore on the red carpet with her mom at the 2016 MTV VMAs.

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A photo posted by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on

And then there was the time she rocked her gorgeous natural afro on the beach during the Carters’ summer ‘16 vacation in Hawaii:

A photo posted by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on

Blue Ivy also rocked adorable afro puffs with bows while sitting in her mama’s lap:

A photo posted by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on

And she wore the most perfect bun while playing with her daddy:

A photo posted by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on

These natural hairstyles worn by Blue Ivy remind us of hairstyles we once wore as kids and even wear today, and they are symbolic of our African-American roots and black pride. Hair braiding originated in Africa and back in the day, braids could be used to express religion, kinship, status and much more. When Africans were brought to America as slaves, cornrows, plaits and braids became a common style for the enslaved to show off their heritage (and also keep a neat and tidy appearance as required by their owners). After the Civil Rights Movement which brought a new sense of pride and identity to African-Americans, the Black is Beautiful movement emerged in the 1960s and natural Black hairstyles saw a resurgence. Afros became a symbol of Black pride and Black power, and cornrows became a popular style for young girls (and boys) across America. Many of us personally remember our moms, aunts and sisters braiding our hair throughout our childhood.

Fast-forward to the 21st century, and celebrities like Blue Ivy’s aunt Solange, beauty bloggers like Afrobella and Curly Nikki and more pioneered the new natural hair movement. Many of us, who once wore cornrows just like Blue Ivy as a kid, find ourselves choosing protective hairstyles like braids, locs and twist-outs today — and embracing our natural hair just like our own mothers once did.

Our hair has always been an important part of our identity and Black culture (take just one listen to Solange’s “Don’t Touch My Hair”), and it will continue to remain that way. Thank you Blue Ivy for reminding us of our natural hair magic.