Gabrielle Union is adamant about letting her daughter, Kaavia James, live free of stereotypes. The L.A.’s Finest star tells ALLURE how she does not want her daughter’s hair to be based on gender performance.
“Because she swims every day and the pool is chlorinated, we have to rinse [Kaavia’s] hair and put leave-in and oil on it every day,” Gabrielle says.
Some fans previously accused the actress of letting her daughter wear “messy” hair throughout the day. Some Internet trolls even went so far as to claim Union did not maintain Kaav’s mane. Gabrielle responded to the criticism by sharing Kaavia’s swimming schedule. She also encouraged women to embrace their natural tresses.
“[Growing up] I remember there being fear and anxiety about being burned [by relaxer] or my braids being too tight,” Union tells ALLURE of her hair care journey “Luckily, moving into the natural hair world absolves a lot of that fear [for Kaavia],” the celebrity mom shares.
“It’s more relaxing,” Gabrielle continues. “We’re trying not to make it such a thing for her to have to look a very specific way, for her to be ‘appropriate’ or ‘acceptable.’ We put some curl cream in and let her curls do what they do.”
There was an instance in which a family friend confused Kaavia James for a boy. The individual suggested the little one’s parents “do her hair” in a manner that many view as in-line with a little girl.
“I was like, ‘I thought we were committed to unlearning patriarchal gender performance,'” Gabrielle says of the experience. “I don’t want to saddle [Kaavia] with bullsh-t, and she’s just learning to talk,” the actress says. “So as long as it’s detangled and her curls are healthy, I’m trying to resist the urge to make her look like Easter every day.”
Kaavia James is Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade’s only child together. The celebrity couple parents four kids in all.
Photos: Ayanna Mcknight