Michelle Obama Assures 4-Year-Old Girl Who Went Viral For Calling Herself ‘Ugly’ That She Is ‘Gorgeous’

Michelle Obama is always willing to lend a hand. The former first lady joined Viola Davis and Laverne Cox in offering reassurance to a 4-year-old girl named Ariyonna who went viral for calling herself ugly. In a post on Instagram, Obama wrote that Ariyonna was gorgeous.

Obama’s caption was accompanied by the viral video of Ariyonna. In the video, she says “I’m so ugly” before crying into the arms of Shabria, an Atlanta-based hairstylist who was doing her hair. In the caption, Obama also said that although the world sometimes wishes it weren’t so, every smart, brave black girl is precious.

After Ariyonna’s initial outburst, Shabria quickly speaks up and tells her not to say that. She continues by telling the little girl that “so pretty.”

“You have this beautiful chocolate skin. You are just so gorgeous,” the hairstylist says.

When she first posted the video, Shabria said that she wanted her followers to uplift the little girl and other young women like her. In the post, she said that the girl’s comments broke her heart because she usually has an infectious energy and a beautiful smile. She said that even though she is being raised in a supportive and happy home, she has internalized standards of beauty at school that she doesn’t even totally comprehend.

Obama was just one of several high-profile figures to weigh in to lift Ariyonna’s spirits up. Actresses Laverne Cox and Viola Davis also commented on the video.

“We are fighting hundreds of years of brutal conditioning of being considered less than. It is sprinkled in our language, behavior, laws, music…etc.. and trickles down to our youth. I’m speaking LIFE into Ariyonna. From a sista who looks a lot like you….you were born worthy therefore you were born beautiful!,” Davis wrote on Instagram.

Cox echoed Davis’s post, saying that the video had broken her heart and that Davis’ comments were exactly right.

This isn’t the first time that Obama has spoken up about the way that young women of color are often taught the wrong lessons by external forces, according to People. In an interview with Oprah for the TV host’s “2020 Vision Tour,” she discussed the way external expectations had impacted her own daughters.

In the interview, Obama said that she didn’t want girls to measure themselves by external influences, but recognized that was hard for them to avoid. She continued by saying that girls need to get to know themselves in order to figure out how they want to shape the world around them instead of letting the world around them shape them.

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