Hair & Life! Lessons I Learned from Disney Channel’s Sydney to the Max

{I was given this sponsored opportunity to watch an advance screening of this “Sydney to the Max” episode from Disney Channel. All opinions expressed are mine alone. I hope you enjoy!}

I love moments in television that mirror and spark real life conversations. when done well, They really can positively influence how we respond in to situations in our own lives. The recent episode of Disney Channel’s Sydney to the Max, “The Hair Switch Project”, is one of those moments. I had the opportunity to watch an advance screening of this show, and I also participated in a Q&A afterwards with the writer of the episode and 3 of the show’s stars. And while the content alone of the show is enough for me to fill a blog post here, I thought that I would share how this episode personally impacted me.

Sydney to the Max, “The Hair Switch Project”

Episode summary:

In the new episode, Sydney begins to question her straight hairstyle after her classmate Jada suggests that she try wearing her hair natural sometimes. This sends Sydney on a hair journey tied to her cultural identity and memories of her late mom, Alisha. Her dad Max tries to help, but Sydney is still at a loss and calls on her grandmother Maya. Back in the ’90s, young Alisha is faced with a different hair dilemma when school picture day rolls around, and her mom has booked a salon appointment for her to get a relaxer. Alisha doesn’t know what to do because she loves her naturally coifed hair and feels like she loses a piece of herself every time she gets it straightened. Geared for Kids 6-11 and their families, “The Hair Switch Project” was written by Kourtney Richard and directed by Morenike Joela.

Here are some of my personal thoughts after watching the episode. I hope that you enjoy!

True friendship encourages the best out of one another

Jada encourages Sydney to try her natural hair for picture day at school. She suggests it gently to her friend, wanting her to experience something different and new with her own hair. I appreciate how Jada made the suggestion in a supportive way, not making Sydney feel bad about her struggle or choice, but just offering an option. {This is a solid way to approach suggesting anything to a friend, it demonstrates compassion and care.}

Family should be in for a penny, in for a pound

Grandma Judy and Max (Sydney’s Dad) team up to help Sydney find her way in discovering her natural hair. They also realize that they need the benefit of Sydney’s (late) mom’s experience, so they call in Grandma Maya to help. Meanwhile, Dad purchases the WHOLE beauty supply store lol  – over 20 products – so that Sydney has plenty to play and experiment with on her hair. Helping Sydney navigate this aspect of her heritage is an “all hands on deck” mission for this family, and I am here for it! It is also heartwarming to see the value placed on the input from the elders in the family. Those Grandmothers don’t have all that wisdom and experience for nothing! It is meant to be valued and to be tapped into. 

Family is all in for Sydney!

Honesty and vulnerability help so much

Kourtney Richard wrote this episode and much of the content and context came from the well of her own experience. Grandma Maya shares honestly with Sydney about her experience with her own daughter Alisha’s hair (Sydney’s mom). Grandma Judy totally owned the fact that she took Sydney straight to her hairstylist after her mom died, and that is when and where Sydney started to get it straightened. All of this reminded me that I can best help my own young adult children by sharing some of my mistakes and missteps as well. They need to hear that I didn’t do everything perfectly, and they can benefit from the lessons that I learned bouncing back from those faux pas of my own. 

Our hair is amazing

I am so glad to see black and biracial hair celebrated for its versatility and strength! I love the styles that were showcased on Sydney, Jada, Alisha, and Grandma Maya, as well as the hairstylists in the salon. Hair is definitely an expression of personality and personal style! And all of them gave us “black girl magic cute” indeed 😊 

A big thank you to the writers, staff, and actors of “Sydney to the Max” for an excellent show. And a special thank you to Disney Moms of Color for the opportunity to experience “The Hair Switch Project”. Keep on giving us powerful life lessons, and keep on celebrating beautiful black hair!



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