Teacher students unbraiding hair video explained

What's With The Video Of Students Unbraiding Their Teacher's Hair? Debates About @Thilluminatin1's Video Explained

A young Black teacher was fired from his job recently after a TikTok video of him getting his hair unbraided by his students went viral online. The teacher posted the video to his own TikTok, where he has over 740,000 followers, before finding his clip reshared across the internet by people posing the question, "Would you let your kid unbraid their teacher's hair?"

Sincerely Nelle @TanelleIrene. Mod Black parents tap in! Would you be okay with your daughter unbraiding her teacher's hair? Is this appropriate? 2:15 ་་༢༌ ل ob r TikTok @thilluminatin1 BW I'ne 8:33 AM ⚫ May 8, 2024 50.4M Views


Given the teacher's firing, it seems apparent that the school board's answer to the question is a resounding no. Here's how the events of this past week unfolded, and a recap of all the different opinions on the situation offered by Black parents.

What Is The Video Of Students Unbraiding Their Teacher's Hair?

In early May 2024, TikToker and educator @thilluminatin1 posted a video showing him working on his laptop in the classroom as a group of female students concentrate on unbraiding and detangling his hair. The video was captioned, "Students don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. Teaching is a work of heart." The video gathered over 6 million views, and accrued debates about the ethics of having students engage in non-educational work while at school.

A few days later, @thilluminatin1 posted a video saying that he was fired from his teaching job after the aforementioned video went viral. The two clips spawned discourse in Black communities about what people consider to be appropriate and inappropriate teacher-student interactions.

@thilluminatin1 Students don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. Teaching is a work of heart. Comment your thoughts #teacher #teachersoftiktok #teacherproblems #millenialsoftiktok #middleschool ♬ Chopin Nocturne No.2 Op.9-2(1391533) – 314P

@thilluminatin1 #teacher ♬ Sad and sad guitar(1102575) – syummacha

How Did People React To @Thilluminatin1's Video?

The video was reposted to X / Twitter and Instagram soon after it went viral on TikTok, with @TanelleIrene writing, "Black parents tap in! Would you be okay with your daughter unbraiding her teacher’s hair? Is this appropriate?"

Someone claiming to be the older sister of the students pictured in the video wrote, "I’m watching this and didn’t even realize that’s my little sister in the background. She said that he’s her favorite teacher but today they were all forced to write statements and he may get fired…"

dee breezy @xxdbreezyxx I'm watching this and didn't even realize that's my little sister in the background. She said that he's her favorite teacher but today they were all forced to write statements and he may get fired... Black Twitter Sincerely Nelle @TanelleIrene • May 8 Black parents tap in! Would you be okay with your daughter unbraiding her teacher's hair? Is this appropriate? 2:08 8:58 PM May 8, 2024 5.9M Views Tik Tok @thilluminatin


Over on Instagram, people claiming to be parents of the girls in the video also posted comments in defense of their kids' favorite teacher, writing that he should not be fired for something they don't consider to be inappropriate.

lady_v9923 This is my daughter teacher. He is the most love teacher at this school. Don't over- sexualized or overthinking this video. He isn't anything wrong. I know for a fact is this was a female teacher nobody would be saying anything. He is a great teacher and actually love those students. He is a passionate teacher. 4d 55,509 likes Reply View replies (714) destinywhet Please! This is my daughter teacher! He is VERY PHENOMENAL !! A huge role model and leader to our school! The way yall over sexualize everything is VERY sickening!! Continue being who you are! 4d 23,311 likes Reply View replies (323)


But other internet users disagreed, saying that the video showed a teacher crossing boundaries with his students. One X user wrote, "Why didn’t he ask the boys to help him? The optics of this are reinforcing servitude in young girls like why are you using young girls labor to do something that would probably take you 45 minutes at home? Your stylist would’ve taken your hair down this is inappropriate."

Dylan Ali @dylanali_ I know he's sick bc he uploaded this thinking it would get reposted on a wholesome black content page but instead became the subject of hypoghettical scenarios and discourse Black Twitter Sincerely Nelle @TanelleIrene • May 8 Black parents tap in! Would you be okay with your daughter unbraiding her teacher's hair? Is this appropriate? 2:15 TikTok thilluminatim VITUTIO • • 6:57 PM ⚫ May 8, 2024 539.6K Views wwwwwwww


Other people found humor in the situation, with X user @dylanali_ writing, "I know he’s sick bc he uploaded this thinking it would get reposted on a wholesome black content page but instead became the subject of hypoghettical scenarios and discourse."

Sovereign @sauvamemte Why didn't he ask the boys to help him? The optics of this are reinforcing servitude in young girls like why are you using young girls labor to do something that would probably take you 45 minutes at home? Your stylist would've taken your hair down this is inappropriate. Black Twitter Sincerely Nelle @TanelleIrene May 8 Black parents tap in! Would you be okay with your daughter unbraiding her teacher's hair? Is this appropriate? 1:29 5:39 PM - May 8, 2024 678.4K Views J Tik Tok @thilluminatin wwwwwwwww



For the full history of the students unbraiding teacher's hair controversy, be sure to check out Know Your Meme's encyclopedia entry for more information.




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