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This Woman Teaching Her Niece To Be Confident Is The Absolute Best Thing You Will See Today

It's the excitement while sis was modeling for me!

Culture & Entertainment

If you're a frequent reader of my articles, then you know I love any and everything in this world that pushes the culture forward. Intentional progression for myself, and my grandchildren's grandchildren, is my love language, and if you're on board with this—especially in these times—then we're absolutely best friends in my head.

Thankfully, with my job, I come across some of the most amazingly wholesome, and mindful content that the world will ever see, making my little heart flutter—mostly because we need to be encouraged in a different way that not many others outside the diaspora can relate to.

So, when I came across a video from Nikisa Edwards, a southern-based photographer on Tik Tok, I got all my life.

Set to an edited TikTok version of "Walk" by Saucy Santana (sans profanity, of course), the hilarious video, captioned, “She will be confident. #brownskingirl #confidentgirls”, shows Edwards speaking life into her niece, and then it transitioned to her showing her in true glow-up form, strutting fiercely, while draped in full confidence. I mean, you literally could not tell sis that she was not on somebody's runway, m'kay!?

I mean, the pose and mini-smize at the end?! C'mon!

The best part: Edwards cheering baby girl on, full energy, and making sure she knew that she was beautiful. Like my heart couldn't take it.

And apparently, the rest of the world felt the same:

Some were here for the SERVE:

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Others appreciated its wholesomeness:

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But mostly, everyone else’s hearts were fluttering too:

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Edwards and her niece are taking it all in and enjoying the wave for now. And they're certainly helping so many other little black and brown girls who need to know that they are beautiful, smart, and special, know that they actually are. And not only knowing those things about themselves, but truly understanding that they can be confident about being them too.

And the sheer magnitude of what this mentality shift means for the culture, helps me sleep better at night.

*grabs purse* "Now let me see you walk, walk, walk, walk...."

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Featured image via Nikisa Edwards/TikTok

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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Featured image by Getty Images

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