Cynthia Jackson Founder of Tiny Tots and Tikes
Cynthia Jackson: Founder of Tiny Tots and Tikes
Interviewed and written by Aaron Robinson – Editor
Consciousness Magazine had the opportunity to interview Cynthia Jackson, the founder of Tiny Tots and Tikes. Here is what Jackson had to share regarding the importance of children seeing diverse images around them and how it affects their self-image.
Aaron Robinson: You are the founder of Tiny Tots & Tikes. Briefly tell us about your line of wall decals?
Cynthia Jackson: Our line of wall decals is so creative and inspiring. Our goal is to provide positive and inspiring room décor for children of color. Our decals consist of doctors, athletes, fairies, princesses, musicians, and ballerinas.
Aaron: What inspired you to launch this amazing line of wall decals?
Cynthia: For years, society has taught us that only those of European descent are beautiful, smart, and solely qualified to hold certain job positions. Unfortunately, I experienced this firsthand when my then 3-year-old daughter began to question if her skin tone and hair texture were beautiful. After much thought about this surreal moment, I realized that I had completely underestimated the impact on my own daughter's self-image when I decided to enroll her in a predominately white pre-school and when I was serving as a pastor of a predominately white church. My daughter was receiving conflicting messages about her self-image because everyone and everything around her at the time were white. Therefore, our decals are meant to creatively affirm Black children so they, too, will see themselves as beautiful, smart and equally qualified to hold any job position they desire. Our goal is to produce creative fun products that highlight Black beauty and success so no other parent or child will have the same experience we did.
Aaron: Why do you feel or think that young black and brown children should see images that look like them?
Cynthia: We think Black and Brown children should see images that look like them because it is important for them to feel affirmed and confident. There are so many media outlets that either negatively portray Black people or do not properly or equally represent Black animations, actors, and actresses. Therefore, our goal is to provide proper representation—so that Black children will not feel insecure and ashamed of their looks and culture. We also want Black children to understand that they can be whatever they want to be in life.
Aaron: Youth, without having the images that look like them throughout their adolescence years - do you think that this would affect their adulthood?
Cynthia: Absolutely! In general, I think that people underestimate how much children and youth internalize. The first 5 years of a child’s life is critical because the child’s soaking up everything that he or she sees. Not only are their brains receiving lots of information, but children are also rationalizing and trying to make sense of what they are learning. At a young age, they begin to form opinions of everything including who they are. Therefore, my company feels that we play a part in helping Black children to understand who they are at an early age. We want children to form a healthy and positive self-image of themselves which will hopefully help them grow to be confident adult leaders.
Aaron: What words of encouragement would you share with young black and brown children and young adults who question their self-image and are not sure who they are as an individual?
Cynthia: I would tell them “You are beautiful and you are very capable of achieving all of your hopes and dreams. Therefore, stand firm in knowing that you are standing on the shoulders of strong, intelligent, and beautiful Black men and women. Be resilient, patient, kind, and the leader you were made to be.”
Aaron: As the founder of Tiny Tots & Tikes, what other products do you offer?
Cynthia: We have children’s books, inspirational t-shirts and a faith-based subscription box for adults.
Aaron: Where can we go to purchase your products?
Aaron: Cynthia, would you like to add anything else before we conclude the interview?
Cynthia: Thank you for this opportunity.