A strand of my hair is my great grandmother.
If it looks like my hair is competing with the air,
It very likely is.
My strands fight for space to comfortably lie,
As bondaged men and women would before they died,
Crammed into corners of merchant ships,
And packaged across the Atlantic.
Each tangle I sport? A resilient embrace,
Between the remnants of a broken race.
Do you not know that each strand was once enslaved?
Forced to behave?
Altered, until it faltered,
Until all the fight it once had was gone?
Until it shone in its own natural light,
Until it was a force to be reckoned with?
See, when my hair stands tall: when it refuses to fall flat against my back as I once told it to;
When my hair is in its natural, untamed, grand state,
It sings a silent song of uprising.
Breaking free of the bonds, the chains:
Of relaxers, of hot combs, unacceptance, and shame.
It reaches towards freedom for those before me.
In the hopes that one day, we'll truly be free.