BLACK HAIR LEGACY

Melissa Ali

AFRICAN LEGACY
Regal
Crown
Glory
Dreadlocked
Braided
Twisted
Dhuku
Gele
Hijab

AMERICAN LEGACY
Covered
Scarfed
Burned
Permed
Hatted
Wigged
Weaved
Altered
Always a source of contention
Bald headed
Nappy headed
Chicken headed
Snap back
Peasy
All over the place
Looking like straw
Looking like you been in a fight
Looking a hot mess

LEGACY
The 1960’s changed the narrative for many
Afros
Blowouts
Cornrows
Braids
Dreadlocks
Twists
Naturals

MY HAIR LEGACY
Both my grandmothers
Maternal and paternal were biracial
Not because their mothers were in love with white men
But because Black women are always the collateral damage of American society
Both wore their hair natural
Long
Wavey
Thick
What is known as “Good Hair”
Both my grandmothers said they married the darkest man they could find
so they could have
“Brown nappy headed babies”
My mother’s hair
The opposite of her mother’s
Short
Crunchy
Thin
But most of the time it was natural
And how I love her sandy, pink sponge roller laden hair
It was the late 80’s when I became conscious,
Or what is now called WOKE
One part, foundation (that is how I was raised)
Another part, Afros classes in college
But mostly becoming the mother of a chocolaty, curly haired baby girl.
A baby girl that needed to see her reflection not only in my eyes,
But also in my appearance.
So I excised the colonizer’s deeply rooted indoctrination that blonde straight hair is the golden standard of beauty.
GONE are the blonde highlights I’d worn in my hair since high school
Tryin’ to look like Miss Clairol
Gone is the over processed burnt up lifeless hair
Tryin’ to look like Gwyneth Paltrow
Gone was the mindset that my hair needed to be tamed, controlled, and seasoned
Like an enslaved African in the 1600.
My hair
My crown
My glory
Big
Puffy
Coiled
Tangled
Wild
My daughters, now two
Their hair
Their crowns
Their glory
Devoid of chemicals, heat, weaves and dyes
Full of self love,
Hair love
Woke
A new
BLACK HAIR LEGACY

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