Alexis Ohanian, Reddit creator and husband of tennis great Serena-freakin-Williams, shares daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian with said tennis-great-supermom. And today, Ohanian asked the internet for help styling his daughter’s hair. Cute, right? Well, responses have been mixed.
“Just applied to join 4 private Natural Hair facebook groups,” Ohanian tweeted. No big deal, right? But the status gained attention because Ohanian is a white dude — a white-dude dad who wants to get better at doing his mixed-race daughter’s natural hair. And many are commending Ohanian for his efforts. After all, not every dad cares about his baby girl’s hair (hell, my husband can barely brush our daughter’s; and she’s white), and the fact that Ohanian wants to better understand his biracial daughter’s hair is fantastic. Most of his followers were thrilled.
Just applied to join 4 private Natural Hair facebook groups. I hope they don't auto-reject my application when they see my profile photo 😂
I told them it was to keep getting better at doing my daughter's hair.
— Alexis Ohanian Sr. 🚀 (@alexisohanian) May 16, 2019
One user wrote “if all dad’s [sic] were as good as you, the world would be a better place.” Another said “this is great. It’s cool to see a dad wanting to learn more about how to care for his daughter’s natural hair.” And several others were “impressed.” One user said his efforts were “amazing.”
You are an amazing dad, and there is so much that is said in this simple gesture. This is more than hair. This is you saying I care about my little girl. Hair is typically an important thing in a girls’ life. This is you showing her you value her interests.
— jennlea (@jennleacole) May 17, 2019
But not everyone agrees with Ohanian’s approach. Some feel he is overstepping his bounds, as the groups Ohanian has requested access to are private for a reason.
In truth you shouldn't be trying to access private groups as they, I presume, safe spaces. There are plenty resources outside of that private group that can help you with Olympia's hair. Our platform and plenty others have lots of info. Happy to help if needed!
— Curlture (@curltureuk) May 17, 2019
Others have suggested Ohanian read up on the subject, watch YouTube tutorials and/or pay an African-American woman for advice.
Why do you want to insert yourself in spaces not made for you??
Youtube is free or PAY a black woman to teach you how do to Olympia's hair?? https://t.co/LBA1EOAy1f
— Arya Stark stan account (@M0moForrest) May 17, 2019
And we get it. These counterpoints are important and valid. Women of color deserve a space, a place and a voice entirely their own. Still, we applaud Ohanian for trying, for reaching out, for getting comfortable with the uncomfortable, and most importantly, for being a loving and supportive dad.