Beauty

Serena Williams braiding her daughter’s hair is so much more than just “really cute”

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Hollie Richardson
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Serena Williams

Here’s the important message behind Serena Williams’ latest Instagram photo of her daughter Alexa Olympia.

Serena Williams has always used her sartorial choices to make strong feminist statements in the sports world. This is an empowering way for the champion tennis player, gold Olympian and world’s richest self-made female athlete to use her international platform. 

Earlier this year, her French Open caped outfit had the words “mother, champion, queen, goddess” imprinted on it. And last year, she wore a Black Panther inspired catsuit which represented “all the women that have been through a lot mentally, physically with their body to come back and have confidence and to believe in themselves”.

Now, the sports star has described a traditional African beauty tradition and how it helps mothers bond with their daughters.

Williams shared a very cute photo of herself braiding baby daughter Alexa Olympia’s hair. She wrote alongside it: “Braiding started in Africa with the Himba people of Namibia. We have been braiding our hair for centuries. In many African tribes braided hairstyles were a unique way to identify each tribe.

“Because of the time it would take people would often take the time to socialise. It began with the elders braiding their children, then the children would watch and learn from them.

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“The tradition of bonding was carried on for generations, and quickly made its way across the world. I am honoured to share this bonding experience with my own daughter and add another generation of historic traditions.”

Serena and Venus Williams with braided hair at Wimbledon in 2002.
Serena and Venus Williams with braided hair at Wimbledon in 2002.

Throughout their careers, Williams and her tennis player sister Venus have worn their hair in braids while on court. In an interview with Allure, she explained the importance of doing this, saying: “Venus and I were not afraid to wear braids. We weren’t afraid to be black in tennis. And that was different.”

This is what makes the poignant photo such an important statement, as well as being totally adorable. 

Images: Getty

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