Activist and Co Founder of the Black Lives Matter movement Patrisse Cullors says the versatility of black girl hair is part of its magic. “It can do literally everything,” she says. “Our hair is like shape-shifters — we have the most resilient hair, ever.”
Cullors’ is the most recent profile to debut in the new Michaela Angela Davis created video series Hair Tales.
Growing up, Cullors and her family didn’t have much money but regardless of their financial situation, she recalls her mom saving up just so she and her siblings could get their hair done every two weeks. Her mother would even keep them home from school until she could afford to get their hair pressed. “To be poor and black — and visibly poor and black — is taboo,” Cullors says. “If her black girls didn’t have that ideal beauty standard, then it would reflect badly on her, and I think she felt guilty — she felt bad.”
Over time, Cullors could no longer justify investing that much time and worry over hairstyles. “I just remember thinking, There has to be more than my hair,” she says. Inspired by authors such as bell hooks and Audre Lorde, and influenced by more diverse images of black women, she went to the barbershop and shaved her head.
Though she describes the experience as scary, exciting, and everything in between, what she mostly felt was relief. “It was the first time in my life that I didn’t feel like my hair was a thing that I was leading with,” she says. “It changed me.”
For a lot of women, our hair is where everything begins and ends. If our nails, clothing, shoes and makeup are on point but we’re feeling iffy about our hair, then none of that other stuff really matters. Can you relate to Patrisse’s story? Have you cut your hair or gone natural to avoid investing extreme amounts of time and money into your strands?
Let us know down below in the comments!