Some Black kids who grew up battling their tight curl patterns were almost always expected to “do something” with their hair. The air-dried, free afro didn’t seem like a safe option to leave the house in. However, when 12-year-old Aiden Taylor was being teased about his afro, he didn’t feel pressured to change it. He was inspired to embrace it.
Taylor spoke to CBS2 about how he decided at 10 years old to write a book, Me and My Afro, to remind the kids who teased him about his kinky curls that he actually loves his hair and had no shame in his fro game.
“I used to go back to my mom every day after school and was like, ‘Why do people tease my afro?’” he said. “I wanted to write this book about my afro because mostly I just wanted kids to love themselves and love the way that they are.”
Aiden approached his mother with the idea in the pandemic. He wrote the book and she published it in August, 2020.
“Everybody likes it. Even the people who teased my Afro really likes it,” Aiden said.
Taylor told CBS2 he felt accomplished after seeing the positive response to the book and was encouraged to write another, Me and My Afro: When I Grow Up. Taylor said he plans to write 50 to 60 more books, his third being about cooking with his grandmother.
Taylor said he was inspired by Kobe Bryant to keep writing, keeping a “mamba mentality” to work harder, reported CBS2. He thinks Bryant would be proud of what he’s doing.
Taylor’s success from his first two books has landed him appearances in commercials, a brand campaign with Spike Lee and a spot on a billboard, reported CBS2. For him, this is only the beginning.
Writers like Taylor are exactly what our Black youth need by reminding us representation matters and that there is nothing wrong with the unapologetically Black things about them.
“I love my afro. It makes me different, and it makes me me, and I love me,” he said via CBS2.