“Black Mothers Don’t Hug Their Daughters.” This Viral Status Update Has Sparked A Huge Debate In The Black Community, But Is It True?

Facebook user JaVeion Arielle posted this simple status update two days ago and it has sparked a viral online debate:

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Many black women are outraged by the generalization, wishing that JaVeion had chosen different words to get her point across. One person on my page asked,

” I get it and had a similar experience but, why can’t we say “Black mothers, we know it’s hard but, love on your kids.” Why can’t that be the message?

Another wrote:

“A  more accurate statement would be “Old school black mothers” maybe. Because every time this is posted, an overwhelming amount of black women say they DO hug and show affection. This statement says black women, period. I can’t agree with that.”

And I get it, we are fiercely protective of our mothers. However, I believe it is possible to be protective of our mothers, while still acknowledging that there are some old practices that affected us as children, and continue to affect us as adults.


When I saw this statement, as a writer, I both read and felt the power. I believe JaVeion’s word choice was deliberate, and delivered without adornments and qualifiers to have maximum impact. It goes without saying that there are exceptions to this rule, and there are many of us who are actively breaking the cycle today. But there are also far too many of us who grew up with hard mothers because the world is hard on black girls/women. Our moms simply raised us as they were raised. This is not a slight against our mothers, but a criticism against a society that forced our mothers to abandon their natural inclination to “love on” their daughters in favor of teaching them how to survive in a world built to crush them.

This status says that we are not alone, and there is healing that takes place when we know we are not alone. If this statement doesn’t ring true for you, instead of seeking to invalidate our experiences because they are not your own, hug your sisters who were not hugged. You’ll find that there are more of us than there are of you.

Were you hugged as a child? Share your experiences below!

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  1. I respectfully disagree. I don’t understand how she believes that just because HER mother didn’t hug her that most black mothers, old school and today, don’t hug/kiss/show affection to their kids. That’s a crazy assumption, in my opinion. I have about 15 friends (male & female) from high school that I am still close friends with 17 years later and I wouldn’t say that any of their mothers neglected to kiss/hug on them throughout our childhood and even today as adults. We all grew up in very different household makeups (single parents, 2 working parents, blue collar, executives & stay at home mom households) and I don’t ever recall all of our moms (and even dads) not hugging their kids and even their kids’ friends…lol. Just saying, not sure this type of blanket statement should be made about an entire group of people. If a white person had made this same statement, we would NOT think it was okay.

    1. I agree! Before this article I’d never heard of such a thing. My mom hugged me a lot. My dad’s family is generally more affectionate than hers because I’ve always seen a whole lot of hugging.

      Are there any stats to back up this assertion? Perhaps the author is relaying her experience and may know others who grew up similarly. It doesn’t make that universal

  2. I was not hugged as a child. That touch, the affection is so needed for our growth and development. Because of that I hug my kids so much. Even hold their hands, massage their feet or even a high 5. Don’t go one day without a physical touch with your kids. Great post Lisa.

  3. I was hugged daily and often by my Mom. . I still think the tweet and this message is just off-base. It’s doesn’t seem to be true enough, given the backlash, it appears that it was not the reality for a large portion of us. It’s seems as though people who lived in disfunction assume everyone else did as well..

    1. so not receiving hugs from your mother means you lived in a dysfunctional home? I think that’s a leap you made on all your own. This statement doesn’t say black moms do not love their daughters.

  4. Momma stopped hugging me after five and I hated that she stopped. She said I could have initiated. I’m like why would you want a child to initiate love giving even though they naturally do. I’ll hug and kiss my baby girl every chance I’ll get until I go heavenward. I hug and kiss my nephew all the time. Kiss kiss kiss. Know that your aunty love you.

  5. So glad I read this. I never knew there was a culture of black mamas not hugging their kids. I just thought I was just unlucky to have one that was cold and unloving towards me. I’ve taken it personally all my life. But to find out that I’m not alone is a comfort. Sometimes I think I hug and kiss my child way too much (as if that could ever even be a thing) because I didn’t get affection from my mother. The damage to my spirit has been done but I won’t be passing along that pain to my child. Thank you for sharing. xo

  6. Wow…I had to really think back, and I honestly do not recall my mother ever initiating hugs with me. I can say the same is currently true with me and my own children. Sure I give them hugs, but only if they come up and hug me first. I am truly ashamed and in tears as I type. My children are 17, 15, and 12. It’s a little late, but I will definitely try to be the hug initiator more often…

  7. I was often hugged by mother.

    Although others have different experiences and they have right to be validated, I think generalizations, especially those that feed into the negative stereotypes (angry black woman, etc.) do more harm than good. Yes, there are historical and social factors, systemic racism, etc. that definitely effect us as a people, that we should disrupt and fight against, but I am wondering if not hugging is a personality/family trait.

    Even if the Black mother’s intent is to raise strong daughters in a society that is not set up for them to succeed (as suggested in this article), that is still a personal choice. Other mothers may be more affectionate but use different methods to prepare their daughters for the world.

    1. What exactly is the harm? If the “generalization” doesn’t apply to you or anyone you know, it means that black girls are receiving physical affection from their mothers. If black girls ARE being hugged, then this is just a baseless generalization and it’ll die out, because it simply isn’t true. If it is true, even partially, then saying it out loud allows for black girls and their mothers to speak openly, honestly, heal, and do better for future generations. We are always so caught up in not wanting “them” to think poorly of us that we limit our own potential. This statement, phrased exactly as it is, has caused such debate that the protests simply highlight the undercurrent of truth within it.

  8. Archie Golden says:

    I was not hugged as a child. I felt this neglect so deeply that at the age of 11 years old I spoke to my mother about it. My mother went on to tell me that she was NOT that kind of mother.

  9. Archie Golden says:

    I am a black woman. I am happy to see that somebody wanted to speak on this subject of emotionally absent Black Mom’s…. At the age of nine I told my mother that I didn’t think she loved me. With a very mean tone in her voice she said to me that it was okay if she didn’t love me. She said that I had to learn to love myself….

  10. It makes me sad to read some of these responses. My mommy loves on me daily. Hell I’m 45 and she still rubs my back, and kisses me hello and goodbye. She was always this way with all 5 of us. I don’t feel that I was any less prepared for the hardness of the world because of how affectionate she was. One does not have to take place in the absence of another. Truly, I didn’t even know NOT being affectionate was a thing.

  11. I love topics these! They’re raw, unfiltered, and necessary. I am a black women who never knew I felt this way. Looking through the lens of these women’s comments, I see that I have passed down the feeling of wanting of a hug from their Shero(Mom). I need to do better.

  12. I think it’s sad when “our own” live their lives afraid of what the majority will think of us. If you and your children are being hugged, and this is one big ole LIE, what harm is ACTUALLY being done? Your children are being hugged. If others believe this to be true, again, who cares? and why? If in fact, the ones that matter, are getting the affection they need, what harm is done? Nah, you’re just too wrapped up in “not looking” bad to people who ALREADY made their minds up about you and yours when they took us all here to be slaves. If this IS true, even partially, black mothers are waking up and some black girls might be getting some hugs. Isn’t THAT more important than being scared that white people will stereotype us? Live your life in fear if you want to, but We’re WOKE over here, and we’re not scared.

    1. rosalyn beatty says:

      My mom never initiated hugs and kisses to me or my younger brother. She add admitted that (her mother said) her late mom wasn’t affectionate because my great grandmother died when my grandma was 5. However, growing up, I hugged her a lot — and she hugged back with a smile. My dad transitioned nearly 2 months ago. He wasn’t a hugger, either. But as kids, every morning he would rise at 4 A.M. for work – practice his trumpet, dress and eat breakfast. Then just before leaving at 5 AM, he’d climb the stairs to look in at me and my brother (in our separate rooms). He passed away Jan. 13, 2018, in a rehab center in bed at 6 A.M. That morning -( I think )as I slept at home 30 min. away and as my brother dozed off 5 hours away in his house in Vermont – I believe dad’s soul traveled to see us to give a final goodbye. Silent and peaceful gazing on us with spiritual eyes.

  13. This is not all inclusive and should not have been a generalized. It is the same assumptions that angers me about the “Angry Black Woman” and there are “No Good Black Men.” We make these assumptions based on our personal experiences. If it were posed as a question, perhaps the responses would be different. Maybe that would have sparked a conversation rather than just people stating opinions. It would have eliminated the need to validate and opened up a door for change. When we generalize, we provoke. When we ask questions, we encourage. The difference is a platform for women to share ideas, feelings, experiences and begin healing. Provoking causes shame, makes people shutdown, point fingers and place blame. Perhaps the conversation would have been better instead of bitter if the question was “Do black mothers hug their children?” And then followed it up with your experience. But hey, that’s just my 2 cents.

  14. Gwendolyn says:

    I was raised in the south on the 50’s & 60’s, the youngest girl of 7 children. We were hugged and carried til we were big kids. My father wasn’t a big hugger but we never doubted his love for us. My mother, like most mother’s was the glue of our family. I hugged on my 2 boys as they grew up and we still hug each other. My heart breaks for any child who grows up without affection. I felt adored growing up by my family, relatives and friends. Every child deserves to feel adored, especially by their parents.

  15. Very rarely. My mother and I are 20yrs apart exactly. I had to make conscious effort to hug my now 18 and 22 yr old daughters and show affection to them and sometimes I still have to still myself to keep from flinching at their touch. My initial thought of them cuddling in my bed is a NO but I push that aside and work on easing myself to enjoy the experience. It’s is still work for me after all this time but I want to be that Grandma that all the babies go to for hugs.

    Also as a lover of words and how they work differently based on how you put them together I understand your point, “I both read and felt the power. I believe JaVeion’s word choice was deliberate, and delivered without adornments and qualifiers to have maximum impact. It goes without saying that there are exceptions to this rule, and there are many of us who are actively breaking the cycle today. ” and to that point I think we have to spend way too much time using qualifiers when we speak and write. People are missing the main point spending too much time pointing out NOT ALL. It seems so “duh” to me, I appreciate people who don’t need the qualifier to understand nothing is EVER, ALL…..

  16. Tabitha Davis says:

    I agree. I wasn’t hugged, kissed or praised as a child unless it glorified my mother. At 43 I can look back over my life and know that my mother only did what was legally required of her. She was emotionally and physically abusive. She would still be verbally abusive if I had not blocked her. I envy those that had loving moms. I’ve suffered and so have my relationships with my own children because I feel like I’m swimming upstream.

  17. ShawnTe Pierce says:

    I can’t disqualify the statement she made because as an adult I have come across numerous sistas who were shocked and at times a bit envious of the affection my mother shows me. I grew up knowing intuitively but also feeling the love of my mother. Mommy always hugged and kissed me as a child and she still does hug and kiss this almost 41-year-old woman. As I type this I am remember an online convo with a fellow writer who saw a post my mother left on my FB timeline telling me she loves me and calling me her precious girl. The woman was not mean or being shady but she expressed that her mother never showed any affection towards her as a child and still doesn’t. She never said “I love you” did not hug or kiss her. So when she witnessed my mother expressing affection it kind of shocked her because she too thought that black women did not do this. This woman broke the cycle when it came to her own children. I am glad women today are breaking that cycle. Seriously, our circle of support should have our mothers at the head. We should always feel like we can tell our mothers anything and when we need comfort, feel her embrace. I just hope enough of us continue to break the cycle so that this statement is no longer a truth in any black woman’s life.

  18. latasha thomas says:

    Good article, but I honestly feel like whoever wrote the original status did so with the intention of going viral and invoking negative emotions among black woman. Such a generalized statement is obviously meant to target a specific group without any true merit or evidence and should be ignored. If you know your mama hugged you, know your mama hugged you and carry on. That’d be my advice so these people out there posting all the crazy things they do can start to realize people aren’t responding to the BS.
    Thank you

  19. I wasn’t hugged growing up and I was very attention/ affection starved. It definitely wasn’t done purposely, my mom was an older parent so that probably makes the difference. None of my family members on my mom’s side were affectionate, I never even heard them say I love you. But now that I’m grown, I hug on everyone and tell everyone in my fam I love them and they say it back. It was very awkward at first. Lol

  20. This totally applies to me and my siblings. I can count on one hand how many hugs I’ve received as a child from my mother. Add to that hearing “I love you” from her. My siblings and I grew up in a very, VERY non-affectionate household, and it affected me tremendously. I yearned for my mothers affection and was too scared to initiate it because I was afraid she’d get mad at me, push me away, or yell at me. I was afraid of being rejected. Now I’m married with four kids and I’m overly (theres no such thing, but i go the extra, EXTRA mile) affectionate with them. They dont go a day without me hugging them or telling them I love them. I’m no perfect mother by any means, and I know my mother only did what she was taught and couldn’t give what she never received herself, but I made sure to break the cycle with my kids. I’m glad we’re having this conversation. It’s very deep and personal for me and it needs to be talked about more.

  21. Patricia Carter says:

    My mother said it was her JOB to raise us children, and sadly that is how women of her generation felt. No she did not hug, they say mothers love their sons and raise their daughters, but she did not hug any of us. My older brother, right before he died asked me if Mommie ever hugged me and I said no, and he said me neither and never spoke of it again. Though It still hurts today about the lack of affection, I am truly thankful that she raised me soo well, I’m strong and capable and her lessons while not gently taught were imprinted strongly. I mourn for my mother, because I miss her? yes but because she was not allowed to be the gentle, tender, loving woman she wanted to be, she had to raise her children in a world that did not love her or her children, and that is the world she was raising them for.

  22. We hug and we kiss! My late grandmother and her mom, me and my mom, my daughter and I and in the near future my daughter and her newborn(arriving 2019) will continue to do so. In our home, we kissed or hugged our children in the morning upon rising and at night before bed. My children are 24 (daughter) & 18 (son) and we still hug and give cheek or forehead kisses. Even my brothers (40 & 38) and I still kiss each other on the cheek and hug. My maternal & paternal sides of the family are huggers/kissers. I just wouldn’t know how to deal with that in a relationship. I’ve had friends who have shared their family does not show affection and it shows in their intimate relationships and with their children. Appropriate human Touch is healing, connecting, reassuring. I hope those who may not have experienced this display of affection break the cycle with their children.

  23. I remember as a teen, in the midst of an argument, telling my mother “You don’t love me! You never loved me!” It’s was not true but it was how I felt because up until that moment, I don’t recall her ever saying “I love you” or showing affection towards me. Yet she had no problem expressing her frustration with me when I had done something she didn’t like. It did really effect me, growing up, because I witnessed some of my friend’s mothers treating them differently; which further enforced my belief that I wasn’t loved. I made sure to constantly tell my own children that I love them. As an adult, I realize that she did what she learned and that my mother does love me. However, the scars are there and our relationship suffered because of it. We are much better now. The original article may have generalized, but there are many who share the experience.

  24. I agree. Growing up and even now just turning 26 years old I wasn’t raised with affection at all. I didn’t get hugs and my mom never told me that she loved me. Instead, I was always cussed and yelled out, or being physically beaten. My mom was present, but she was absent. She wasn’t their for me emotionally, and she’s still not. Which is why I resent her in a way. She isn’t t e type of mom that I can talk to her about anything and everything with. Sea even told me a few weeks back to never ask her for advice. It’s just messed up what black kids go through with their mothers, and a lot of people in re black community don’t see any wrong in what’s still going on.

  25. Great article! This is a conversation that the black community must have because there is truth in it period. One of the reasons that issues aren’t resolved is because people deny that there is a problem just because they didn’t experience it. I didn’t get hugs from either parent and when I tried to hug my grandmother she would push me away from her. I never understood this until just recently as an adult while researching for my doctorate topic on the link between madness of black children and their mothers. I hope we can continue to explore these issues because they are so important to the mental health of black women and how they are able to navigate in the world with healthy strides. My mother has everything to do with the woman I’ve become but not in the traditional sense. It more so pertains to the desperation of wanting to overcome and succeed from the trauma that she inflicted on me.

  26. Yeah, this was me and my friends. I don’t recall seeing any Black women or men hugging or kissing on their kids when I grew up. No one said I love you either. Lots of jokes to cover up the dis ease with expressing real feelings.

    I have elders that can’t go beyond talking about the weather and maybe one or two subjects. I have no idea how they truly feel about anything and no idea what truly makes them happy or scares them; and it seems like a real breach of privacy to even attempt to find out. I don’t think they know how they truly feel themselves. They scoff at displays of emotion as too much or over exaggerated. I respect them, can’t say I have a deep love for them, and I wouldn’t share anything emotionally vulnerable with them. But, yeah, you’ll catch hands if you so much as roll an eye at them. Don’t even try it.

    I suspect that the reason why many girls and even full grown women sleep with lots of men, is more about being touched and getting some attention than about sex.
    I think it’s why so many brothers before interracial dating was socially accepted were so smitten by white women and women from very affectionate or emotionally open (vulnerable ) cultures. The warmth and affection just bowled them over and they were willing to take the gruff they got for being with them.

    This not touching kids or being affectionate is extremely detrimental. I understand why so many-and it seems to me like all the black people I grew up with-are severely damaged emotionally, but the damage passed on can be so severe that it almost would’ve been better if they hadn’t had children. It’s difficult to overcome Childhood Emotional Neglect.

    Regarding the above comment, her grandmother may have pushed her away out of a feeling of deep shame and embarrassment. Like the hug reminds her of how much she misses them. The need is so deep and the feeling of not being worthy of them is overwhelming. Better to make it stop.

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