9-Year-Old Tiana Akoh-Arrey Wrote An Inspirational Story Of Self-Acceptance After Being Bullied For Her Hair Texture


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Nine-year-old Tiana Akoh-Arrey was bullied about her hair texture, but she turned the negative experience into a celebration of self-love through writing about it in her new book “My Afro: Twin Best Friends.”

Tiana recounted to Ebony Magazine the story of how her affirming book came to be. “One day at school, a kid made fun of my Afro and said that it made me look like a lion,” she said. “That made me really sad, so I asked my mom to straighten my hair to look like my other friends who did not have an Afro. She explained to me that I should learn to be proud and accept my hair as it is because it’s beautiful. I was trying my hand at writing short stories, so I decided to write about my hair.”

The gifted young writer began writing full sentences at only four years old, and she was just six when she wrote the uplifting story about her hair.  Her mother, Dorothy, was so stirred by her daughter’s story that she submitted it to Conscious Dreams Publishing, who made Tiana a published author at the age of seven.

“My Afro: Twin Best Friends” is a tale about Tiana’s journey towards self-love and acceptance of her tightly coiled Afro hair, which she used to compare to her best friend’s silky straight hair. The story revolves around the friends’ efforts to look alike on picture day, and ultimately leads to an endearing exploration of friendship, self-discovery, and identity. ”Through this, readers can learn how to embrace who they are and celebrate differences in others,” said Tiana. 

Tiana’s mission is to connect with young Black girls who can relate to her experiences, inspire them to embrace their unique hair journeys, and promote acceptance and celebration of diversity among all individuals. Tiana hopes that her book will act as a relatable mirror for her readers, encouraging them to confront and overcome prejudice and discrimination.

Already, “My Afro: Twin Best Friends” has won over the hearts of many readers, specifically young girls from around the globe. They have shared photos of themselves with the book, expressing how empowered they feel after reading it. Even Tiana’s bully was moved by the story and offered an apology.

Tiana herself feels a sense of pride and accomplishment, having learned that bullying is not about her but about the bully’s dissatisfaction with seeing someone who is different. She is grateful to have found the courage to embrace her unique hair journey and to inspire others to do the same. 

Tiana sees how her book has given other girls the confidence and empowerment to wear their Afro hair in different styles without feeling ashamed or concerned about others’ opinions.

Spread the love by purchasing a copy of Tiana’s book via Amazon or through Conscious Dream Bookshop.

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Ayanna Nicole

Hi! I’m Ayanna, a writer and artist. Although I graduated from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte with two degrees in art and psychology, I’ve had a passion for writing for as long as I can remember. By following my dreams and utilizing my creativity, I designed Jaro Magazine with the ultimate intention of bringing more positive stories in the black community to the forefront, while also highlighting our versatile and vibrant culture through Jaro’s four modes: film, books, art, and music. I also manage a book hub, which you can find on Instagram @bloomingliterature.

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