Bragging to kids on the playground that my DAD was the one who had cut my hair because he was a barber.
— Symonne

My hair was never just hair. It was the product of time sat in my dad’s chair, my curls at his mercy, my heart brimming with excitement at what magic lay at his fingertips. My hair was a labor of love. He would speak and I would listen, staring in awe and wondering how he could turn silence into a peaceful heart - my peaceful heart. And when I would speak, he would listen intently, consuming each word like it was honey. My hair was a labor of love and my father was my greatest treasure. So on warm spring mornings, you could find me on playgrounds bragging about how my father could spin magic out of my curly tresses. But there were also days where I would shake with anger; days when I would discover more and more how the ground below my feet was not made for this black latina body - how this world was so willing to spit it out. It was as if my father’s fingers could feel my pain because as his scissors moved through the ends of my hair, he would tell me to repeat “you are loved, you are wanted, you are loved, you are wanted”. It was in such moments that he taught me how to cultivate love and a resistance that I replicate in my heart, mouth and body.

Words by Mumbi Kanyogo