A beyond-cute little boy has become one of 40 people in his family to have a strikingly unusual birthmark.
Like many toddlers, two-year-old Josiah Barnes from Atlanta, Georgia, has a sweet smile and pinch-worthy cheeks. Unlike other tots, he also has a very unique head of hair.
His pitch black afro is separated down the middle by a shock of snow white tresses; a hereditary mark not unlike the look sported by fur-mad villainess Cruella De Vil.
Somewhat adorably, the family view the furry feature as lucky; describing it as being a ‘kiss from an angel.’
Josiah’s mum, 34-year-old collections supervisor Latrece Barnes, is always being asked whether she has bleached his mane, when in fact it is 100 per cent au naturel.
Known as a Mallen Streak, this quirk is due to the condition poliosis, characterised by a lack of hair pigment.
Passersby are so fascinated by Josiah’s lucky locks, that in the past Latrece has had to cover up his streak while out shopping in order to avoid drawing crowds.
Mum of three Latrece, who also bears the angel kiss, 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 centre. It is like Frankenstein’s wife.
Check out more about Josiah and his unusual family in the following clip:
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Little Josiah is at least the fifth generation to be gifted the streak, with some family members also possessing white patches of skin.
According to Latrece, ‘it just depends on where the angels want to kiss you’.
Latrece’s great, great grandmother had the distinctive streak, along with around 40 other relatives.
This exclusive group includes some of Latrece’s aunts, uncles and cousins as well as her twin sister LaTerra Shy and 13-year-old daughter Ra’Nyah Shy.
However, this trait is not guaranteed. The interesting inheritance skipped Latrece’s 4-year-old son Xavier. Her sister LaTerra’s four children also remained unmarked.
Latrece has admitted how growing up with the streak brought challenges. However, she now embraces being different, and even prayed for Josiah to have it too:
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.
Absolutely. It’s always great to be proud of your differences. With a mummy like this, I’m sure Josiah will grow up to be a confident and unique young man.
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.