Today at 63, Yaa feels beautiful being exactly who she is. She loves her natural hair and her natural self. She has newfound confidence in everything she is.
She even has an entirely new identity and name that she chose for herself during her travels to Africa.
After you watch the video, tell us in the comments… Do you find your own life beautiful at this age? Have you traveled the world like Yaa and discovered more about yourself?
As always, we’d love to hear from you!
Video Transcript: Yaa Asantewaa. I am 63 years old.
Look, it feels great to be 63. When I think about 23, I was getting out of college, not knowing what I wanted to do. Definitely uncertain about relationships and how they should be handled.
For me, 63 is amazing. I love traveling so at 63, I've traveled a lot of places. At 23, the only place I traveled to was to work and back. So 63's amazing.
There were a lot of things because of the stereotypes of how a woman should look. I've always been a busty woman, so I had problems with that because I was approached in negative ways.
There were a lot of things because of the stereotypes of how a woman should look. I've always been a busty woman, so I had problems with that because I was approached in negative ways. Now, you know, if you approach me about how I'm built now, I feel good about that because whatever was bothering me about my bust at 23... I'm 63 now, so none of that makes any difference to me. My confidence is much better. I've accepted more who I am.
I wear my hair in this natural stage, and I didn't then because there was a look that I was supposed to have that I just didn't have. I wasn't born that way.
So there's so many things that I've accepted about myself that weren't acceptable. Not by me or anyone else when I was 23.
Probably not too long after college, I cut all my hair off because what we wore was perms that would straighten the hair, so I cut all my hair off and I started from a bald stage when I was about 32, 33 and I grew it out in what we called “teeny weeny afros” back then.
Then I saw my face, and I saw how beautiful I was. I saw how beautiful my features are. I began to love my lips. I began to love my nose. I began to love my hair. I had these real bushy eyebrows that, when I wore my hair straight, I wore them to here so that I would cover up the eyebrows. Once I accepted the naturalness in my hair, I began to accept the naturalness in myself.
I changed my name about maybe 20 years ago when I started traveling, and I started traveling to Africa and I heard all the beautiful African names. Then I went to Ghana, and there is a warrior queen there named Yaa Asantewaa, and I loved learning about her. I went to her gravesite. I sat down beside her and I was like, “I want my name to be Yaa Asantewaa.”
When they call me Yaa Asantewaa, it's like they're calling that ancestor, Yaa Asantewaa Nzingha, who went and fought against the colonization of Africa when she was in her 60s. Once I claimed my African identity, then when I looked in the mirror and I had traveled, I saw that beauty because I saw it on the continent. I saw it in Africa. I said, "So this is what you look like."
My mother herself had a very difficult time seeing the beauty in myself, in my sister the physical beauty. So I had to learn about my own beauty.
I left a little town called Mingo Junction, Ohio, and it was basically a town that there were only very few black people in it. So my comparison of what was beautiful and the women and the girls that were called beautiful, they didn't look like me. My mother understood that. But as I began to see myself, look in the mirror, look at people all over the world, I began to accept my personal beauty and I was able to teach my mother to accept her personal beauty.
I taught her to wear her hair in its natural state. I taught her... she had the most beautiful full lips that she didn't see as beautiful until she began to understand who she was, her culture, and, all of a sudden, these big plump lips became beautiful to her. So in all honesty, when I began to understand myself, understand my beauty, my mother began to understand hers. When she made her transition, she made it thinking that she was the beautiful woman that she is. Yeah.
We'd love to hear your story too. Is your life beautiful at this age? Have you traveled the world and discovered more about yourself? Let us know in the comments.