Bronx mom writes children's book to help girls embrace their natural hair.
Sulma Arzu-Brown is a proud Garifuna woman born in Honduras, Central America.
The Garinagu, dark-skinned and often Spanish-speaking, are descendants of indigenous groups of Central America and Africans. Too often, they end up being identified simply as Afro-Latino or black.
But it was when Arzu-Brown, who now lives in the Bronx, became a mother that she decided to embrace her true self. As a way of encouraging her daughters to love every aspect of themselves (especially their hair), she made the radical decision to cut her chemically straightened hair and go natural.
Her decision was confirmed when her older daughter told her, "mommy we finally look alike."
Arzu-Brown works for the New York City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, but she is also the author of the children's book "Bad Hair Does Not Exist," a bilingual book that encourages young black, Afro-Latino, and multi-racial girls to see themselves, and their hair, as beautiful.
It all started when Arzu-Brown's babysitter commented that her 3-year-old daughter, Bella Victoria had "pelo malo," a Spanish term for "bad hair."
She says she knew at that point, she could be on the defensive or the offensive. She chose to be proactive and write a book to help her daughter and others feel positive about their natural hair and teach them that no hair is ugly or bad, but just theirs to embrace.