• 01.14.15

Nikon Makes Ad Stars Out Of Viral, Hair-Braiding Dads

Last year, Kordale and Kaleb Lewis went viral for posting a picture braiding their daughters’ hair. This year, they’re in a new Nikon ad.

The shot of Kordale and Kaleb Lewis standing sleepy-eyed in front of the mirror as they braid their daughters’ hair at 6:00 in the morning before school went viral last year. Within a week of posting, it had been liked on Instagram almost 25,000 times, and inspired both fawning posts on sites like Buzzfeed and, predictably, detractors.


Handsome, young, tattooed, gay, black fathers lovingly performing mundane family tasks in the wee hours may defy a few stereotypes, but in a new spot from Nikon–as part of the company’s Nikon Generation campaign–they talk about how shocked they were when the image became a sensation. “We just want people to know that, hey, we’re normal,” Kordale explains, “And you can’t judge people on their normal.” The family then walks the viewer through a typical morning in their household, which starts at 5:30 with breakfast for their three children (Desmarae, Malia, and Kordale) and includes–yes–doing their daughters’ hair.

The spot–out of McCann New York and directed by Douglas Gautraud of Interrogate–highlights the fact that a great camera shares your family with the world, and that that can be a powerful thing. That’s especially true when your family does look a little different from what your grandparents would have considered “normal.” Kordale is right, obviously, when he says that the Lewis family is normal–and in two minutes, that becomes clear. It’s a family of breakfasts, playgrounds, homework, and love. A camera only makes that more obvious to everyone.

About the author

Dan Solomon lives in Austin with his wife and his dog. He's written about music for MTV and Spin, sports for Sports Illustrated, and pop culture for Vulture and the AV Club.