Birthmarks come in every shape and form, but perhaps this is the most astonishing one. A boy in Atlanta, Georgia, was born with a white patch amidst his jet-black afro. And he’s not the only one in the family who has been bestowed the unusual blessing.
Josiah Barnes is a two-year-old who cannot leave the house without drawing crowds of people amazed by his strange hairdo. In fact, most of them are convinced that his mother must have dyed his tresses! But that is not the case, as the white patch, called the Mallen Streak, is actually the result of a condition known as poliosis, which signifies a lack of pigment in the hair of the affected area.
Josiah’s mother, Latrece Barnes, also has the distinctive trait
In fact, over 40 family members have inherited it, and they believe it’s caused by the “kiss from an angel” and that it’s a portent of good luck.
Latrece finds the hereditary trait “totally unique”.
“I used to have to cover up Josiah’s streak when we went out because we couldn’t shop or get anything done. It would draw crowds,” the 34-year-old said.
“I have come across other people in Georgia who have it but nine times out of ten they are some type of relation. It runs through my family. We don’t know where it originated but my grandmother had it as did her grandparents.
“My daughter has maybe five white strands of hair and my streak is about half the size of Josiah’s. Most of us have a patch of skin on our forehead and a white patch at the top of the head in the center. It is like Frankenstein’s wife,” the collections supervisor concluded.
Xavier, Josiah’s 4-year-old brother, didn’t inherit the white streak
The ‘birthmark’ has been in the family for generations! Latrece’s great-grandfather Virgil Lee Robinson had it:
As well as her grandmother Arlene Shy:
Josiah’s sister Ra’Nyah Shy also has the streak, as well as the white patches on the knees which sometimes accompany the discolored hair
Josiah is at least the fifth generation to inherit the trait
Kissed by an angel?
The white streak had the doctors confused: Latrece and her twin sister have it, but their mother doesn’t.
“They ran tests to make sure it wasn’t a skin disease and they found that it wasn’t,” the mother-of-three said.
Some members of the family who have the white streak also have white patches of skin which resemble vitiligo
“It just depends on where the angels want to kiss you,” Latrece said.
“A lot of people say it is a good luck streak or that our kids have been struck by an angel. When Josiah was born I had to have a C-section so I couldn’t see him right away, but I heard the nurse say, ‘He has the streak, he has the streak.’ I had prayed for him to have it because it is so unique and it connects us to who we are.
“Growing up it is hard because kids tease you. They joke about it and used to call us ‘skunk’. As you get older you realize it is good to be different. I have had cousins who dyed theirs because they didn’t want it, but I love mine and definitely embrace it now.”