serena williams
Serena Williams. Photo credit: Instagram

Serena Williams Explains Origins of Hair Braiding During Mommy-Daughter Moment

Serena Williams has been openly sharing her motherhood journey. Williams’ 11 million Instagram followers are privy to special moments that she shares with her daughter, Alexis Olympia.

The tennis icon shared a photo on Thursday of her braiding her toddler’s hair and explained the origins of braiding.

“Braiding started in Africa with the Himba people of Namibia,” Williams wrote. “We have been braiding 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 socialize.

“It began with the elders braiding their children, then the children would watch and learn from them. The tradition of bonding was carried on for generations.”


In African societies, “braid patterns and hairstyles indicate a person’s community, age, marital status, wealth, power, social position, and religion,” according to Face2Face Africa.

But braids have also been used as tools of resistance. In North and South America, enslaved Africans used cornrows to create maps as a route to freedom.

Both Williams and husband, Alexis Ohanian, have publicly shared how they are choosing to learn about grooming their daughter’s natural hair.

Related Story: Alexis Ohanian and Serena Williams’ Daughter Has Lovely Natural Hair That Dad is Learning to Style

Last month, Ohanian, co-founder and executive chairman of Reddit, tweeted:

Not only did Twitter users applaud Ohanian for wanting to be that dad who grooms his daughter’s hair, but they also started providing helpful tips on where he could find knowledge.

Related Story: Serena Williams the Only Woman to Make List of World’s Highest-Paid Athletes: Forbes

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