Black Girls Rock! Embraces Faith Fennidy, The 6th Grader Suspended for Having Braids  
Faith Fennidy/Courtesy of Faith Fennidy
How your week starts doesn’t have to be how it ends. Faith Fennidy saw her world shift when her school, Christ The King Elementary School in Terrytown, Louisiana, removed her from school because her braids did not comply with the school’s new policy. Video of the sixth grader in the school’s administration office went viral as she teared up while being dismissed from school. What started as the worst week of her young life ended with her getting the VIP treatment to celebrate the best of Black women at BET’s Black Girls Rock! When the My Black is Beautiful team saw Fennidy’s story they decided to step in, and offered Fennidy and her parents a trip to Newark, New Jersey to attend the taping, which aired last Sunday. “This has been a very difficult time for our family. So we just say, thank you to My Black is Beautiful for bringing Faith here to experience ‘Black Girls Rock!’ This just lifted her spirits and shows her that she is loved,” shared Montelle Fennidy, Faith’s mom.
Since 2007 – the same year Fennidy was born –  My Black is Beautiful, powered by Procter and Gamble, has offered a platform to celebrate Black women. “We jumped in immediately because it is so important that young Black women feel uplifted and have the space to know that they’re loved and valued,” said Lela Coffey, multicultural beauty brand director for Procter and Gamble. “You could not ask for a better environment where they are recognizing and awarding Black female excellence, trailblazers and barrier-busting women. Faith is going to be one of those women one day.” A village of support was ready to remind Fennidy of her beauty — inside and out. Style and beauty expert Tai Beauchamp hopped on a plane from Los Angeles to style the student for her big night, finding the perfect outfit at Macy’s.

“I saw myself in this girl,” Beauchamp said of meeting Fennidy. “I realized our responsibility as adults is to not just raise each [other] up, but to see ourselves in them because that’s when we push hardest. We have to equip them to go out into the world to be their best selves. I just saw her beauty, and she lit up when she had this dress on. She has so much grace and humility.” Fennidy’s night out also included working the Black Girls Rock! red carpet with Beauchamp, meeting powerful women, including ESSENCE Woke 100 honoree Tarana Burke, and witnessing the incredible celebration featuring Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Judith Jamison, ESSENCE September covergirl Naomi Campbell and more. The family’s lawyer James M. Williams joined them on the trip as he continues to fight the unjust policy that the school has since rescinded.

“What Faith and her family did has affected not just Faith, and another little girl who’s involved, but every girl of any ethnicity at that school,” Williams shared. “A judge has said, ‘You don’t have to follow this unjust policy.’ I’m happy that we come here on the heels of that victory.” Fennidy’s experience was also witnessed by her dad, who had tears in his eyes describing the roller coaster week. “That’s my daughter, and every time I think about it, it hurts me,” he shared. “I am glad that she gets to experience this. Faith is love. I just know that I want to protect her as much as I can.” Fennidy is a Black girl who rocks!