An incident transpired when Muhammad Ali’s daughters arrived at his home wearing clothes that were quite revealing.

Here is the story as told by one of his daughters:

“When we finally arrived, the chauffeur escorted my younger sister, Laila, and me up to my father’s suite. As usual, he was hiding behind the door waiting to scare us. We exchanged many hugs and kisses as we could possibly give in one day.

My father took a good look at us. Then he sat me down on his lap and said something that I will never forget. He looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Hana, everything that God made valuable in the world is covered and hard to get to.

Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected. Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell. Where do you find gold? Way down in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You’ve got to work hard to get to them.”

He looked at me with serious eyes. “Your body is sacred. You’re far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too.”

Muhammad Ali’s words were so beautiful. You can feel the love he has for his daughters. In high school, I can recall an incident where I was wearing a short skirt and a cut off top (I was breaking the cardinal rule: You shouldn’t be scantily clad on the top and bottom). I was about to head out the door to a Senior party when my dad stopped me in the hallway.

Dad: “What do you have on?”

Me: “What? It’s nothing wrong with what I’m wearing.”

Dad: “Baby, if you dress like a whore boys will treat you like one even if you’re not.”

His words weren’t quite as elegant as Ali’s lol but I needed to hear it bluntly. I walked out the door still thinking I looked pretty fly but also thinking about what he said. So many little girls don’t get this kind of advice from their fathers or even have a relationship with them at all. My dad is by no means perfect but he cared enough to share how women should dress and behave so I didn’t have to learn it from a music video or the streets. Of course I made mistakes along the way but his words and my mother’s were always there to help me refocus; for that I’m thankful. If you know a little girl who doesn’t have a father present; validate her beauty and intelligence. Let her know she’s good enough, valued and worthy. It will help to keep her off the pole.