Tia Mowry says Kaavia James helped her daughter learn to swim at playdate

Mowry’s daughter, Cairo,3, and Union’s daughter, Kaavia James, 2, have become great friends and are known for their epic playdates

Tia Mowry-Hardrict credits Gabrielle Union’s daughter with helping her baby girl learn how to swim.

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Mowry’s three-year-old daughter, Cairo and Union’s daughter Kaavia James, 2, have become great friends and are known for their epic playdates. So it was no surprise when the Sister, Sister star said Kaavia helped Cairo learn how to swim.

“What a great day! It was pool day! @kaaviajames helped Cairo feel comfortable with #swimming! There was lots of #fun and lots of #hugs! P.S. After the festivities, the kiddos jumped in the car to pick up @kaaviajames NEW book #shadybaby Congrats! @gabunion @dwyanewade,” Mowry captioned next to a photo of the two toddlers sitting in a kid’s car.

Union and her husband Dwyane Wade recently released a new book inspired by their daughter whom they lovingly call “shady baby” for her side-eye and animated expressions. Mowry also posted a video to her Instagram of her daughter checking out the new read. She captioned one of the videos with “Congrats @KaaviaJames.”

Tia Mowry Instagram Story

During a recent sit down with theGrio, the Wades discussed the book and their decision to work with Black illustrators on Shady Baby.

Gabrielle Union: We came up with the idea of the children’s book from Kaav. We’ve let who she becomes lead us. The more we were starting to see how folks were interacting with her and her page, we noticed how people believe she writes her own captions (lol) but that many people saw her and her “shade” as freedom. So we wanted to develop a children’s book that positioned Black girls as leaders and shade as their superpower. When you think of shade and think of Kaav being “shady,” it’s because someone has not respected her boundaries or has done something she doesn’t like. 

Shady Baby and the main character is just being evident on good behavior, bad behavior, and a little Black girl leading the account with her friends. It’s sweet and accessible, but rooted in freedom to lead, freedom to be vulnerable, freedom to see accountability as a great thing.

Gabrielle Union with daughter Kaavia james, Tia Mowry-Hardrict with daughter Cairo.

You recruited Tara Nicole Whitaker for the illustrations of the book. Was it intentional to have a Black woman illustrator? What was that experience like?

Dwyane Wade: Yes, it was intentional. It was important for us to find someone who can understand the essence of Kaav–her joy, shade, everything. We went back and forth a lot because it was essential to us for Kaavia to be seen the way she is. Tara did an amazing job creating this character. She has a lot of great work and we’re honored she was able to capture what we wanted. Kaavia loved it immediately! She saw it and said, “baby Kaavia!” She nailed it.

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Union: Also, if not us, then who? If we know we have the power to put people on, and make sure folks who look like us are working, we’re going to. Between Welcome to the Party and Shady Baby, we wanted to make sure we were using Black women illustrators. 

Additional reporting by Tiffany Stewart

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