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This Father-Daughter Duo Are Teaching Us A Thing Or Two About Loving Yourself - And Your Afro

Pascale Day
By Pascale Day Published on 20 February 2017

If you haven't heard of Benny Harlem, you've likely seen him. He's pretty hard to miss, thanks to his amazing afro and sentimental Instagram posts with his daughter Jaxyn, who, like her pops, is also rather gifted in the hair department. But behind the Instagram squares, Benny's pictures have a strong and touching message.

When Benny Harlem started uploading pictures of him and his daughter to Instragram, he didn't think it was a big deal. "I just include [Jaxyn] with that because it's my life and she's my legacy. It's almost a family album for her to go back and look at," he told Paper Magazine. But people started paying attention, and soon he had a following of over 300k followers. Benny, Jaxyn and their matching mass of hair is what started getting the pair some serious attention online and, considering we can barely even be bothered with brushing ours in the morning, it made the pair the ultimate #hairgoals.

But there's more to the LA-based model's Insta than meets the eye. As a young black girl growing up in America, Benny's posts are also about teaching his daughter the importance of representation, self respect and loving yourself. "What my daughter knows is that if she loves herself first, love will align in her friendships, relationships, and all aspects of her life... she's a beautiful girl who's gonna be a pretty woman, but I teach her to love herself first," he told xonecole.com. "My only concern of my daughter is the nobility of her character. I teach her to demand respect."

As you can tell, Benny is obviously an expert in afro care too - you don't get hair like that without a bit of TLC! But don't fret, guys - Benny's routine is hella simple. He tells Paper that the routine for his luscious locks includes "wash[ing] our hair every week. We make our own shampoo and stuff like that, which consists of natural [ingredients like] coconuts and certain berries and things... take care of yourself, take care of your hair, wash your hair... Other than the castor oil and coconut oil that we use, there's really no secret."

Benny also detailed to xoNecole how his absent father taught him to "turn heartbreak into drive" - a lesson he's instilling in Jaxyn. Plenty of Benny's followers admire the relationship between the father-daughter duo. In one Instagram post, Benny captions a picture of him and his daughter with a message sent to him by a fan:

"I haven't seen my Daughters since they was both babies. One is 8 and the other is 10. I'm now 34 and I live in Raleigh NC. Only one city away from my girls. I never knew my father at all. My mother was a drug addict and left me in our apartment alone for 4 days until the neighbors broke in and took me in when I was 4 years old. On Father's Day I saw your message to fathers on a blog and then I saw your Instagram. Bro I cried for hours looking at the pictures with you and your pretty daughter. It inspired me to get in contact with my children as soon as I could. I found their Aunts on Facebook and received a message back on my Monday and guess what? Benny she set it up for me to finally reunite with my kids on the 4th! I'm so happy and relieved to have a second chance... You changed my life forever and I feel like you saved my two little girls lives by inspiring me to come back home to them."

Can somebody fetch Benny a Father of the Year award, stat?

Benny and Jaxyn Harlem © Twitter / Benny Harlem

What do you think of Benny's message? Powerful right? Let us know! @sofeminineUK

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by Pascale Day

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